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What Is Caffeine Shampoo?

By Britt Archer
Updated May 17, 2024
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A number of shampoos on store shelves now have an added ingredient: caffeine. Research conducted by German scientists has suggested that caffeine can aid in the combat against hair loss. More research is necessary, but it appears from a small study that large amounts of caffeine in shampoo can inhibit testosterone, one of the factors that contribute to hair loss and male pattern balding, a condition doctors call androgenic alopecia. The caffeine is said to block DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, which in high concentrations leads to baldness.

Researchers claim caffeine shampoo can be a helpful topical hair loss treatment. In addition to fighting off the effects of testosterone and blocking DHT, preventing further hair loss, caffeine shampoo can promote hair growth. Taking caffeine orally in the form of coffee, however, is not recommended. The amount of caffeine required if taken orally — 60-80 cups a day — would be far too much for anybody.

Too much testosterone for a woman, especially after menopause when a woman’s estrogen level drops, has led to similar balding problems in women. Women, however, usually do not experience complete baldness as men do. Women tend to experience thinning hair, but the problem is no less upsetting for them than it is for men.

In addition to using caffeine shampoos, men and women fighting hair loss are advised to reduce their stress levels, if possible. Stress contributes to another form of hair loss, alopecia areata. Some scientists have classified this disorder as an auto-immune problem. A healthy diet is also important because the hair can’t grow without sufficient nutrients.

There are some brands of caffeine shampoo on the market that also give the hair the appearance of more volume, helping to hide the problem of thinning hair. Some of these shampoos also claim to increase the hair shaft’s strength. Caffeine shampoo can be found online and on drugstore and grocery shelves.

Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in plants, both their seeds and their leaves. It is a substance that also can be replicated in the laboratory. Scientists identify it as a drug because of the effect it has on the human body. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and because of this many people enjoy caffeine for the boost it gives their energy levels.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon994315 — On Jan 31, 2016

Does using this shampoo combined with drinking coke cause heart palpitations and sleeplessness?

By candyquilt — On Dec 11, 2013

I don't see how using caffeine shampoo is different from drinking coffee. Chemicals can be absorbed through skin, so the caffeine in the shampoo will surely enter my bloodstream. And if the shampoo really has the same caffeine content as 60 cups of coffee, it will give me terrible side effects.

It just doesn't add up. Either caffeine shampoo has little to no caffeine or they've put other stuff in it that counter-acts with the caffeine or limits its absorption.

By literally45 — On Dec 11, 2013

@ddljohn-- I just started using it instead of my regular DHT blocker shampoo, so it's too soon for me to know if it's working. But the shampoo is formulated for people who have androgenic alopecia (AGA), which is what I have. I don't think it will work for all types of hair loss.

Also, the product doesn't say that it will prevent hair loss or regrow hair. It just says that it helps management of AGA. So I'm not expecting any miracles.

You've made a good point about blood circulation though. That may be another way that caffeine shampoo reduces hair loss.

By ddljohn — On Dec 10, 2013

When I first heard about caffeine shampoo, I thought that it reduced hair loss because caffeine dilates blood vessels and improves circulation. I had no idea until now that caffeine also blocks testosterone. That's interesting.

Does anyone here use caffeine shampoo for hair loss? Does it work?

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