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Does caffeine shampoo work against hair loss?

8 June 2022

As soon as hair loss first becomes noticeable, the choice to fight it with caffeine shampoos such as Alpecin or Isana is quickly made. After all, these are well-known brands and easy to find in supermarkets or drugstores. Caffeine has a hair growth stimulating effect, so it seems a logical choice to incorporate it into shampoos. After all, drinking coffee to stimulate hair growth easily requires 60 to 80 cups of coffee per day. But how well do the well-known caffeine shampoos such as Alpecin, Ahuhu, Cien and Isana work? And are there alternatives?

Does caffeine shampoo work against hair loss?

Caffeine and hair loss

Research has shown that high concentrations of caffeine in the body reduce the concentration of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This DHT-inhibiting effect is the basis for the claims that caffeine has a hair growth stimulating effect. DHT is the major culprit in the most common form of hair loss, or Androgenetic Alopecia. This is the hereditary form of hair loss, which approximately 70% of all men will eventually experience. Hair roots are genetically oversensitive to dihydrotestosterone. This breakdown product of the male hormone testosterone causes hair follicles to shrink, so that fewer hairs can grow. There are several ingredients with DHT-inhibiting effects such as Saw Palmetto, Ecklonia Cava and green tea extract. Caffeine is also one of them.

Alpecin caffeine shampoo

The most well-known caffeinated shampoo on the market is Alpecin. This shampoo can be found in most supermarkets and drugstores. The hair growth stimulating effect of this caffeine shampoo is based on research in which scalp samples were placed in a solution containing testosterone and caffeine. This proved that long exposure to caffeine has a positive effect on hair growth. However, it is not realistic to immerse your hair in caffeine for a long time. The effectiveness of caffeine in a shampoo is therefore somewhat different in practice than in the controlled environment of a test tube. Further research has shown that caffeine is well absorbed into the hair through the use of shampoos. However, this does not automatically lead to the claim that a caffeine shampoo also has a stimulating effect on hair growth. The dosage in the shampoo also plays a major role in its effectiveness.

Read the study 'Effect of caffeine and testosterone on the proliferation of human hair follicles in vitro' that proves the effect of caffeine shampoos here.

In addition, shampoos such as Alpecin contain substances that can irritate the skin. In shampoos and similar products, a distinction is made between active and supportive ingredients. In a caffeine shampoo, predictably enough, caffeine is the active ingredient that is dissolved in other substances such as ethanol and propylene glycol to achieve the right ratio. There is also sodium laureth sulphate in the shampoo. This creates foam. But these three substances have an irritating effect on the skin. In addition, Alpecin contains menthol, which can also be irritating.

Alternatives to caffeine shampoo

Alternatives to caffeine shampoo

De Haargroeispecialist has various hair growth stimulating shampoos in its range that contain caffeine as an ingredient. However for the shampoos from Neofollics, DS laboratories and Veta caffeine is not the main active ingredient. These shampoos tackle hair loss in multiple ways. Neofollics shampoo, for example, has several ingredients with a proven DHT-inhibiting effect. These are Ecklonia guinea pig, piroctone olamine and green tea extract. Veta contains the important vitamin biotin as well as caffeine as one of its active ingredients. These shampoos have also been included in our range because they do not contain irritants such as propylene glycol, ethanol and SLS.

Read more about 'Why a good shampoo does not contain SLS' here.

Better shampoos against hair loss than caffeine shampoos:

Neofollics shampoo: € 29.95

Gentle, yet multi-faceted approach to hair growth problems through strong ingredients such as piroctone olamine, ecklonia cava and raspberry ketone

Revita shampoo: € 24.55

One of the most famous and effective shampoos to stimulate hair growth and stop hair loss. It also promotes a healthy scalp and thicker, healthier hair

Veta shampoo (250ml): € 27.95

This shampoo contains caffeine, biotin, saw palmetto and trichogen to nourish the hair and stimulate hair growth

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