Green tea normally gets gold stars for whole-body health, but what about your hair? Learn about 5 positive green tea hair health effects.
Green tea is good for you. This is nothing new.
This popular beverage has been around for thousands of years, and its purported health benefits stretch from improved heart health and reduced cancer risk, to healthy skin. But, we may be able to add healthier hair to that list, too.
Many hair products are now including green tea, or its potent catechin component EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), to their ingredients to potentially deliver hair health benefits. But, it may also be worth it to do a simple brewed (and then cooled) green tea hair rinse, drink green tea, or take green tea or EGCG-containing supplements.
Below, we will outline some of the potential benefits that green tea may have on your hair and scalp.
One of the most well-known benefits of green tea is its very high levels of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are important because they serve as little protectors against free radicals, which can damage a cell’s DNA. Free radicals can be created from UV light exposure, pollutants, industrial chemicals, X-rays, or ozone. But, they are also naturally formed in your body from the normal metabolic processes that occur every day.
If too many free radicals are left to wander unchecked, this can mean more DNA-damaged cells, inflammation, or increased risk of certain diseases.
The cells that surround and support each of your hair follicles are in the same boat when it comes to free radicals, they can become damaged or develop more inflammation with a lack of antioxidant intervention.
DHT is a known culprit in hair losses causes by male and female pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia.
This naturally occurring hormone is created from an enzymatic conversion of testosterone, and for those that are sensitive to its effects on the hair follicles, it can cause follicles to miniaturize or potentially stop producing hairs altogether.
This is why some of the mainstay male pattern hair loss medications, like Finasteride, have a direct focus on blocking the enzyme (5-alpha reductase) involved in this conversion to reduce the overall amount of DHT circulating in the scalp. These medications are referred to as “DHT-blockers” or “5-alpha reductase inhibitors”.
Interestingly, a strong antioxidant in green tea, EGCG, may also function as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor to some extent, potentially also conveying some hair preserving properties.
Another potential benefit of the EGCG found in green tea may be the support and growth stimulation of the dermal papilla cells which line the individual hair follicles.
One study looked specifically at the effects of EGCG on these dermal papilla cells, and reported that EGCG increased hair growth, and stimulated the growth of the dermal papilla cells, while also reducing cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) of the cells.
Blood flow is key when it comes to the optimal health of all parts of your body, and the hair follicles are no exception.
Ample blood supply means a steady stream of oxygen and hair-building nutrients to compile and nourish growing strands of hair.
Green tea can help improve circulation throughout the body, including to the hair follicles. If your circulation is not the best, adding green tea into the mix may convey general hair health benefits due to improved follicle health.
One mouse model study looked into the effects of topical EGCG application on mice that were experiencing hormonally-driven fur loss. All of the mice were injected with testosterone, but some of the mice had EGCG applied topically and some did not.
The mice that received the EGCG topical application had significantly less hair loss than the mice that did not receive topical EGCG application.
While more studies need to be done to confirm this finding and expand it to human models, this is promising and suggests that EGCG may deliver some protective effects when it comes to hormonally mediated hair losses, like what we see with androgenetic alopecia.
Drinking green tea, or applying green tea and green tea products may be a good and safe addition to a well-rounded approach to hair health.
However, if you are experiencing significant hair loss or thinning and you want to see if adding in a prescription medication is a good fit for you, you can have a free online questionnaire-based telemedicine visit with our U.S. licensed doctors.
If you are a good fit for treatment with one of these medications, your doctor can issue a prescription and your medication will be shipped directly to your front door. If you have any questions or challenges during your treatment, our staff and doctors are available for free unlimited follow-ups.