Caffeine. It's one of nature's greatest gifts, right?
That first cup of piping hot coffee in the morning, the one that just makes the whole day feel less daunting and more manageable? We're not exaggerating when we say we can't go without it.
If you're concerned about hair loss, though, you may be in the process of examining your lifestyle with a fine-toothed comb, trying to find the culprit that's thinning your hair out.
Is there a connection between drinking coffee and hair loss?
There are several factors that impact your hairline and can cause hair loss, from genetics to stress, to nutritional deficiencies and medications, but as it turns out, caffeine can actually make your hair stronger and healthier, according to the British Journal of Dermatology.
In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about the connection between coffee, caffeine and your hair.
Can coffee cause hair loss?
Before you pour your daily cup of coffee down the drain, don't worry. There's no medical evidence that connects coffee and hair loss.
Now, don't get us wrong here, because we're not saying that coffee has no negative impact on our bodies — we've all had those days where that extra cup of java left us jittery, irritable and gave us insomnia when we desperately needed a good night's sleep.
When it comes to hair loss, though, coffee is super low on the list of concerns.
While your regular cup of Joe wouldn't be cause for concern, excess caffeine in your system could indirectly be a contributing factor in your hair loss.
If you're drinking a lot of coffee, the caffeine could be boosting your stress levels and leaving you with poor sleep quality, which can both lead to hair loss.
With that being said, there are actually ways that coffee can help promote hair growth.
Can coffee promote hair growth?
Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is the most common form of hair loss.
A genetic condition, Health Direct reports that "it is caused when hair follicles are oversensitive to the male hormone, testosterone. This causes the hair to become thinner and shorter."
As it turns out, applying coffee topically to the hair roots may actually help promote hair health.
Research shows that caffeine can help block the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) — the hormone that damages hair follicles, preventing damage.
That's not all. The study also found that it prompted hair shaft elongation and prolonged the hair growth stage of the hair follicles.
Finally, because caffeine has stimulant effects, it can also increase blood circulation, which can aid in fast hair growth and stronger hair.
So why not just drink a ton of coffee and get your hair growing? Well, it doesn't quite work like that.
See, in order to get those results from the coffee you drank, you'd need to be drinking roughly 50-60 coffees a day.
Now, we love our coffee as much as the next guy, but that's maybe a bit too excessive, even for us! And let's be real, even if you could down that many coffees a day, the cons of too much caffeine would far outweigh the pros at that point.
If you don't want the mess of applying actual coffee to your hair, there are also caffeine shampoos.
This 2007 research paper found that caffeine helped to deliver hair growth treatments directly to the follicle, and quickly.
For this, look no further than Pilot's Hair Growth Shampoo & Conditioner, which have been specially formulated to lay the groundwork for improved hair health.
Are there any other benefits of coffee for your hair?
Aside from improved hair growth, coffee can boost your hair health in other ways, too.
Coffee contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants. These are great for hair and can make your hair softer and shinier in the process.
It promotes hair regeneration, which means less frizziness, and hair that's easier to manage.
Coffee can also help lock moisture into place, which means no more dry, dull hair, while also boosting blood circulation, which means your hair follicles will get all the nutrients they need to stay in tip-top shape.
And finally, if you've got greys peeking through and you're not happy about it, coffee can act as a great natural hair dye.
Alternately, if you're wanting to dye your hair darker naturally, a coffee rinse might just do the trick.
One way to do this involves brewing several cups of strong coffee and allowing it to cool before mixing it with a conditioner and leaving it to sit in your hair for an hour. This should impart a natural coffee-shaded tint.
What are other causes of hair loss?
Okay, so if it's not coffee, what might actually be causing hair loss? Turns out, there are a lot of different reasons you could be noticing your hair thinning out or receding.
According to Harvard Medical School, these are the main causes of hair loss.
- Telogen effluvium — If you've recently been through an intensely stressful event, telogen effluvium could be causing your hair loss. This is a kind of all-over, diffuse hair loss that comes on roughly three months after a stressful or traumatic event to the body. What counts as a 'stressful event'? Think illness or infection, surgery, or even crash dieting, anything that could be a shock to the body.
- Medication side effects — It's no secret that the medications used in chemotherapy will make your hair fall out, but hair loss can be a side effect of many medications, including lithium, beta-blockers, warfarin, heparin, amphetamines and levodopa.
- Symptom of a medical illness — As always, it's best to seek professional medical advice to rule out any underlying medical conditions, because sudden hair loss can be a red flag for a number of health issues, ranging in seriousness from nutrient deficiencies to autoimmune illnesses like lupus.
- Tinea capitis (fungal infection of the scalp) — Different from receding or progressive thinning hair, this will look like patchy hair loss and is caused by an infection to the scalp.
- Alopecia areata — Another type of patchy hair loss, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that presents as hair falling out in one or more small patches.
- Traumatic alopecia — This type of alopecia is where hair loss is a result of physical damage to the strands or follicles. Tight braids and hairstyles, heating tools, and chemicals like bleach can cause this type of hair loss. The psychiatric disorder trichotillomania, where people compulsively pull at or twist their hair, can also result in this type of alopecia.
- Hereditary pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia — For men, this is the most common type of hair loss, and it's usually the result of three factors: genetics, hormones, and age.
How to prevent hair loss without coffee
So you want to prevent hair loss, but don't want to pour a cup of coffee all over your head? Fair enough, honestly!
Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to maintain healthy hair and prevent hair loss.
- Cut back on drinking and smoking: Cigarettes and too much alcohol can have a range of negative impacts on your overall health, which can include hair follicle damage that accelerates the progression of male pattern baldness.
- Stay hydrated: When you're not drinking enough water, your body will keep the water you are drinking for vital bodily functions, which can leave your hair dry, brittle and prone to breakage.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Nutritional deficiencies can trigger telogen effluvium (TE), so it's important to make sure you're getting all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs to function. If you're not sure where to start, it's best to chat with a doctor or nutritionist.
- Use a hair loss shampoo: Pilot's Hair Growth Shampoo and Conditioner are designed to promote hair growth and lay the groundwork for thicker, healthier, and happier follicles
- Use a hair loss vitamin supplement: Pilot's Biotin Hair Gummies benefit hair health via the synthesis of Keratin, the protective protein that makes up your hair (and makes it stronger and less prone to damage)
- Speak to your doctor: If you're concerned about hair loss, or about your alcohol consumption, it's always best to speak to a doctor. You can start your journey toward happy, healthy hair at Pilot today.
Science-approved ways to regrow your hair
If you're suffering from hair loss and lifestyle changes aren't cutting it, don't worry. There are still ways to stimulate hair growth and fight hair loss!
At Pilot, we believe that in order to treat hair loss, it's all about an individualised approach. What works for one person, won't work for another, and we don't want to waste your time and money.
We're all about getting you the right treatments, in the right dosages. Developed by Dr. Russell Knudsen, a hair loss expert with over 35 years of experience, our treatment gets to the root of the issue and addresses what's causing your hair loss directly.
Using a combination of lifestyle changes, over-the-counter treatments and prescription medications, we're happy to report that over 80 per cent of our patients report improved hair growth and stronger, healthier hair.
When it comes to hair loss, though, time is of the essence, so be sure to get started sooner rather than later.