Most people enjoy their caffeine fix in one way or another, whether that be from coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda, or even chocolate. The caffeine contained in these items helps you feel more alert, focused, and ready for the day.
Caffeine definitely does the trick to perk up your brain when you are dragging. But, many people are also wondering what caffeine does for your hair. Can caffeine improve your hair or have detrimental effects?
Below, we will cover the potential positive effects of caffeine on hair, as well as what some naysayers are saying about caffeine and hair, and how you should use caffeine if you want to see how it works for your hair goals.
There have been quite a few studies trying to see how caffeine affects your hair follicles. And, many of these studies have had positive results in favor of caffeine for hair growth.
One study mentions that caffeine can help inhibit 5-alpha-reductase activity. This means that it can help reduce the amount of DHT produced from the testosterone in your body. DHT is damaging to the hair follicles and miniaturizes them in people dealing with patterned hair loss. 5-alpha-reductase inhibition is also how the hair loss medication Finasteride functions.
Another study looked into the effects of caffeine on the hair follicles of both men and women. This study found that caffeine can help elongate the growth phase of the hair cycle, upgrade hair growth factors, and reduce programmed cell death, in both men and women.
Finally, another study done in scalp biopsies from men dealing with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss) looked into if caffeine can help mitigate the negative effects of testosterone on the hair follicles. In the study, the hair follicles were treated with either testosterone alone, a combination of testosterone and caffeine, or just caffeine, and the growth was measured in vitro. In this study, testosterone alone came with growth inhibition, caffeine enhanced growth factors, and the combination of both testosterone and caffeine seemed to fare better than testosterone alone, showing that caffeine may help reduce the negative effects of testosterone.
One of the complaints that you may see when looking into if caffeine can have a negative effect on your hair is the mention of reduced iron absorption.
Common caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea have been found to reduce iron absorption from a meal to some extent. The connection here is that if your iron levels are deficient, one of the effects may be increased hair loss. However, according to this study, if the coffee or tea was consumed 1 hour before eating a meal, there were no declines in iron absorption. Also, most people are not sipping on caffeinated beverages all day long, but usually only in the mornings. This may mean that they will likely get regular iron absorption from their meals later on in the day.
Clearly, this is not a direct effect of the caffeine, but an indirect consequence of too little iron.
If low iron is a concern for you, you do not necessarily need to cut out all caffeine, but you may want to limit your caffeine intake, drink your caffeine 1 hour before meals, or talk to your doctor about iron supplementation.
If you want to include caffeine in your diet or hair routine to see if it may have a positive effect on your hair loss, it likely won’t hurt to give it a try in moderation.
Stick to one or two cups of coffee or tea beverages per day, and see how that works for you. However, if these beverages make you jittery or anxious, it may not be worth it for you.
Another option may be the topical application of products that contain caffeine to your scalp. While a topical application does not work for all chemicals, caffeine actually does have a good ability to penetrate the skin barrier. Some products like certain scalp creams or shampoos may contain caffeine in the formulation.
Caffeine may have some potential benefits when it comes to hair growth. And, while it is unlikely that it delivers startling improvements when you are dealing with patterned hair loss, a cup or two of a caffeinated beverage may be a good addition to other treatment options for a well-rounded approach to hair loss.
You probably don’t want to count on caffeine as your full approach to hair loss treatment. But, it may be a welcome inclusion to your overall hair loss treatment plan.
The medications Finasteride and Minoxidil are FDA-approved for male pattern hair loss, and they may help slow the progression of this hereditary situation or even boost regrowth in some users.
At Strut, we offer formulations with Finasteride and Minoxidil as well as other off-label ingredients to help provide an out-of-the-box innovative approach to patterned hair loss. We offer both topical and oral options for men, and any formulations can be customized to fit your needs or include multiple active ingredients.
If you are interested in seeing if a prescription hair loss medication is a good fit for you (with or without your morning cup of jo) simply select the product you are considering from our telehealth website and complete a free online questionnaire and image-based consultation in under 15 minutes.
Our doctors will review your information and determine if a medication is appropriate for you. If approved, your treatment will be put together at a U.S. compounding pharmacy and shipped to your front door.