Isn't it wonderful to find out that your everyday habits are actually good for you?
What’s the perfect example of this?
Well, to be exact, the “caffeine.”
The morning cup of coffee or black tea is something that many of us rely on to kick-start our day and function optimally. Surprisingly, the caffeine in your morning beverage can have beneficial effects on our hair.
Here’s how caffeine can help stimulate hair growth and prevent hair thinning and hair loss:
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline stimulant that belongs to a group of naturally-occurring alkaloids of the methylxanthine class. It is mostly found in coffee, tea, kola nuts and cacao beans.
Caffeine Can Actually Be Absorbed By Hair Follicles
A 2007 study confirmed that caffeine can be absorbed by the hair follicles.
In this study, volunteers had their caffeine levels tested, via a blood test, and then were exposed to shampoos containing caffeine.
After the shampoo was rinsed off, each volunteer had blood samples taken to again measure caffeine levels. The study confirmed that caffeine levels could be detected in the blood as early as five minutes post application. This confirms that, when in contact with hair follicles, caffeine is able to be significantly absorbed by the follicles.
Caffeine Suppresses DHT
Hair loss can occur due to multiple factors such as genetics, age, and stress - affecting males and females alike. A topical application of caffeine to hair and scalp can actually help halt hair loss and promote regrowth.
In males and females, pattern hair loss (also called androgenic alopecia) typically occurs when the hair follicles are damaged by the excess production of sex hormone “Dihydrotestosterone” or DHT.
Damage to the hair follicles happens slowly, contributing inevitably to noticeable hair loss and thinning. According to recent studies, however, caffeine helps stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.
The common cause of hair loss in men and women is due to "miniaturization" caused by DHT. Testosterone naturally converts to DHT through a hormonal pathway called the 5 alpha reductase. Certain hairs on your head may be genetically susceptible to thin if exposed to if excess levels of DHT.
DHT can attach to hair follicles, prematurely causing them to shed hairs and begin to shrink the follicle. Instead of a normal, healthy hair regrowing in its place, a thinner, finer hair replaces it.
There are three stages of the hair growth cycle:
- Anagen (active growth);
- Catagen (transition); and
- Telogen (rest).
Topical application of caffeine can suppress the effects of DHT and either delay or stop the miniaturization process. Additionally, it strengthens hair roots, so that the hair follicles are encouraged to grow stronger - increasing their vitality and endurance.
By prolonging anagen phase of the hair growth cycle, the effects of DHT (which trigger miniaturization) can be counteracted.
A 2014 study found that this is exactly what caffeine was able to do.
When exposed to testosterone, the percentage of male and female hair follicles in anagen phase reduced dramatically (to 39% and 55%, respectively). However, when conincubated with caffeine, these percentages raised to 70% in men and to 63% to 65% in women.
This shows that caffeine can not only suppress DHT, but it can also make it possible for the hair follicles to function even in its presence.
Caffeine Elongates The Hair Shaft
In addition to blocking DHT, one 2007 study found that caffeine helped stimulate elongation of the hair shaft, which led to longer, wider hair roots.
In the study, scalp biopsy samples from individuals suffering from androgenic alopecia were cultivated with different concentrations of testosterone and/or caffeine for a period of 120-192 hours.
The biopsies were taken from 14 male patients, ranging in age from 20 – 45 with varying degrees of hair loss The hair follicles were split into three groups: control (which contained various levels of testosterone), caffeine (which contained various levels), and both (cultivated in testosterone first, and then cultivated in caffeine in various concentrations).
After a period of 120 – 192 hours, the follicles were removed and researchers studied hair shaft length to determine efficacy of caffeine.
The study established that the longer the hair follicle was exposed to caffeine, the longer the hair shaft became.
Caffeine Promotes Softer And Shinier Hair
If your hair appears dry, dull, or brittle, applying shampoo containing caffeine also helps revive its appearance and texture. Surprisingly, rinsing your hair with a caffeine beverage may also improve dullness because it includes flavonoids, which are antioxidants that encourage hair regeneration.
It Also Makes Your Hair Shaft Smoother
Additionally, caffeine-based hair products can relieve frizziness, resulting in easier to detangle and softer hair. You might think it would have a drying effect when topically applied to the hair since caffeine has a diuretic effect on the body. However, it does not strip the hair of the moisture and oils and can help your locks retain moisture. It also ensures increased circulation of the blood to the scalp that helps move nutrients into the hair roots, causing healthier and shinier hair.
Caffeine Stimulates The Hair Matrix
The hair matrix is a critical part of the anatomy of hair follicles. It is where the hair shaft is formed. This area produces keratin, the principle protein in hair. Different clinical studies have shown that caffeine stimulates the hair matrix which is where the hair shaft (and the inner and outer root sheaths) are actually produced to produce keratin.
What does this mean for hair growth?
If keratin is necessary for the growth of hair, then an increased presence of keratin-producing cells can be beneficial during the anagen phase of hair growth. This can lead to more hairs being produced over time.
Caffeine is known to help stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss by increasing blood circulation to the scalp, suppressing DHT, and stimulating the production of keratin.
Massaging caffeine-containing hair products directly to the scalp boosts nutrient supply and stimulates the roots. Stimulated hair follicles can grow faster, healthier and stronger.
For this reason, Hair Restoration Laboratories' DHT Halting Technology® includes caffeine and it is an important ingredient in all of our Hair Restore products, including our Professional Strength Hair Restore Shampoo, Hair Restore Shampoo, Hair Restore Conditioner, Ultra Strength Hair Regrowth Treatment and Maximum Hair Thickening Serum.