Hair loss has long been the bane of many men’s existence. Millions of men worldwide are affected by male pattern hair loss, a condition caused by an inherent sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a substance produced in the body from the male sex hormone testosterone. Male pattern hair loss can be passed from father and son – bad news indeed for men whose fathers exhibit this condition.
As much as men may not like to admit it, hair loss can leave a serious dent on one’s self esteem. Various inventive combing techniques (called, imaginatively enough, comb overs) have been invented over the years to hide a bald patch, while those with enough budget blow thousands of Ringgit on hair transplant. All to assure the man that he still looks youthful and attractive!
Interestingly, there may be a solution to hair loss – a solution that is already a big part of our daily lives: caffeine. Yes, the same substance that gives our coffee its ‘kick’.
Hold On to Your Cup of Joe
Don’t go washing your hair with espresso just yet, though, as the amount of caffeine consumed by even the heaviest coffee drinkers is not enough to do the trick.
According to Dr Adolf Klenk, a leading German researcher of caffeine and its effects on hair loss, you will need to consume 40-50 cups of coffee to provide the dose of caffeine needed to make its way up to the hair root. Even if someone is foolhardy enough to drink this much coffee, he will most likely end up with a bigger problem than hair loss. After all, caffeine is a drug-like substance, and it would be extremely toxic when consumed in extremely high amounts.
Fortunately, caffeine can be used as an active ingredient in shampoos, hair gels and other hair care products without causing health problems!
Dr Klenk, who was recently in Malaysia, explains that research on caffeine indicates that it can control the effects of DHT and therefore prevent premature hair loss in men. “Caffeine can also protect hair roots against hereditary hair loss in men and support hair for healthy growth,” he adds.
The Center for Cosmetologic Research, Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome performed an application test on 30 male subjects, aged from 18 to 55 with male pattern baldness. They found that caffeine shampoo, when used over 6 months, can:
- Decrease hair pulled out by 7% after 3 months, 14% after 6 months.
- Significantly improves strength of hair.
- Reduce intensity of hair loss.
- Reduce typical scalp problems such as itch, dryness and tension.
The same centre conducted another research, this time using caffeine liquid hair wash, on men with alopecia (a type of hair loss caused by the cells of the immune system attacking one’s own hair follicles) over 2-4 months. They found that the caffeine liquid hair wash brought about the following benefits:
- Decreases hair loss by 8% after 2 months, 15% after 4 months.
- Reduces premature hair loss by 43%.
- Improves hair structure by 53%.
- Improves scalp condition by 12%.
- Reduces balding by 43%.
These are just some of the more recent research on the potential benefits of caffeine in controlling and reversing hair loss. Therefore, if you are worried about losing your hair, or if you are already losing your hair, it may be worth discussing with a dermatologist or hair restoration expert about using caffeine hair care products.
Don’t forget the B’s
While good nutrition will not bring back your lost locks, B vitamins can help with the formation and growth of new hair follicles. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to load your daily diet with food rich in these vitamins to complement your efforts to prevent or reduce hair loss. Good options are chicken, fish, eggs and dark leafy vegetables such as spinach. Supplements may also be helpful.