Over 50 per cent of men experience male pattern hair loss to some degree by the age of 50, according to the NHS.
Some scientists and brands now claim that active caffeine in its shampoo is the reason they help beat hair loss by not only preventing it but helping stimulate new hairs to grow. But how effective is caffeine for hair loss and can it prevent it?
Many are wary about the claims due to the short amount of contact time that shampoo has on the hair to make any real and lasting difference. While lab tests have shown that caffeine can cause hair follicle stimulation, there is no evidence that this works on a real human head.
So is a cure for baldness really as simple as caffeine?
German scientist and hair loss specialist Dr Adolph Klenk thinks so. However, if you’re partial to a cup of coffee or five in a morning, he says this doesn’t have the same effect and somebody would have to drink 40 to 50 cups for the same dosage (which would be very harmful, so don’t try this at home). He calls it an energy supply for the hair. He also says there are no known side effects. He does warm that results are not instant, however.
The shelves are stocked with so-called miracle cures and many are sceptic that caffeine shampoos are just another in a long line of fads. Research does seem to be mounting to back up claims about the safe and natural way to turn back the clocks on receding hairlines, including an independent study by researchers at the Institute for Dermatology at Germany’s Lübeck University, published in the British Journal of Dermatology but it is early days.
What they do add is that caffeine does not override our genes. So, while caffeine may not reverse existing signs of hair loss, it could perhaps prevent further hair loss – if claims are to be believed. However, if you are one of the many men who will experience hereditary hair loss, there are more tried and tested ways to get a full head of hair back, such as hair transplants.
And what about alopecia sufferers?
Dr Adolph Klenk says there is no proven drug to treat alopecia areata and so caffeine shampoos would not work as a cure or even a prevention but could help reduce symptoms of stress which are said to be one of its causes.
For those struggling with alopecia hair loss, there are many effective methods of cover up, including scalp micropigmentation, where pigment applied in dots to the scalp can give the illusion that hair is growing back. It seems that everybody is searching for that elusive cure to hair loss, with caffeine another popular option.