Dealing with hair loss or thinning?

Chat with our Care Team

Start now

Does Caffeine Cause Hair Loss?

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Steph Coelho

Published 03/25/2022

Updated 06/11/2024

Coffee, espresso, tea, colas, and energy drinks all contain caffeine, and if they’re your regular beverages of choice, you might be wondering: Does caffeine cause hair loss?

The good news is that you don’t need to switch to decaf to prevent hair loss. There’s no evidence linking caffeine intake and hair loss. 

That said, caffeine might impact the hair growth cycle.

Below, we answer the question, “Is coffee bad for your hair?” by reviewing the research around caffeine and hair loss. We also explore the potential hair benefits of caffeine and how to address hair thinning.

There’s not a lot of scientific research on how caffeine affects human hair growth or hair loss.  But the short and sweet news is that — as mentioned above — there’s no firm evidence to suggest a link between caffeine and hair loss. And if you are curious, there’s currently no scientific research that directly links normal alcohol consumption to hair loss

What we do know is that some early studies in the lab (in vitro) have shown a relationship between caffeine and the baldness-inducing hormone testosterone and its derivatives. Caffeine, according to research, counteracts the expression of certain proteins that are affected by testosterone, and the end result of that was a net growth promotion on hair follicles.

Caffeine’s ability to impact androgen-related hair follicle growth had a significant effect on hair follicles of people suffering from androgenic alopecia, sometimes called androgenetic alopecia.

Caffeine was applied topically to hair follicles (in vitro), and as a result, the researchers saw increased anagen duration (a longer hair-growth stage in the growth cycle) in caffeine-enhanced hair. The researchers also saw hair shaft elongation (growth).

There’s further evidence to suggest that some (naturally) caffeine-containing products like green tea may create similar effects, though it’s unclear whether the caffeine itself is responsible for green tea’s ability to stimulate hair regrowth.

In short, from the data we have, caffeine has a positive relationship with your hair health. There appear to be no studies linking caffeine to hair loss, and rather a nominal few suggesting a link between caffeine and better hair growth potential.

hair loss treatment

balding can be optional

So caffeine and hair: Seems like the perfect solution to all hair loss problems, right? Not so fast.

Studies are great, but what do they have to do with you? Can you switch to an hourly green tea beverage and pop a thick head of lush hair six months later? And what about black tea for hair, which has more caffeine than green tea?

Unfortunately, no. 

While substances like green tea have been shown to potentially create serious benefits for the healthy growth of your hair, these studies represent early research in the field, and stop short of arguing for a dosage, or delivery method, or an exact cause-effect relationship between caffeine and hair growth.

Instead, what we have is a growing body of research suggesting “potential.” For instance, one 2019 review found benefits for green tea that included moderation of oil production in the scalp, dandruff inhibition, and softening of the hair follicle. But none of that was directly linked to caffeine. 

One 2019 article mentioned a study that showed that a topical application of caffeine to treat androgenic alopecia was linked to caffeine’s ability to protect barrier function in men and discussed lab studies that have shown caffeine’s ability to stimulate hair growth.

However, the report also states that further studies are needed to confirm the research and clarify the relationship between caffeine and water barrier function.

If you’re wondering whether to buy a shampoo or other hair care product with caffeine in the ingredients list, it’s likely safe to say that there's no proof that caffeine could damage your hair. 

It’s also relatively unknown whether or not caffeine will truly give your hair growth a boost.  

Will you join thousands of happy customers?

4.5 average rating

Before/after images shared by customers who have purchased varying products, including prescription based products. Prescription products require an online consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. These customers’ results have not been independently verified. Individual results will vary. Customers were given free product.

Here’s some good news: If you’re worried about hair loss, there are some proven methods to help stop that hair loss and stimulate regrowth. 

FDA-approved treatments for hair loss include finasteride — which has been shown to block the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from causing the conditions for male pattern baldness. Clinical trials show that daily finasteride can reduce about 90 percent of DHT levels, when taken as directed. 

There are also topical hair growth medications on the market — the most popular, perhaps, is minoxidil, which also goes by the name Rogaine®, and stimulates hair growth by shortening the telogen or dormant phase of hair growth and causing your hair follicles to enter the anagen growth phase,. 

You don’t need a prescription for it, either. 

There’s also evidence to suggest that certain supplements and essential vitamins for a healthy head of hair may help to promote growth or reduce loss, and some shampoo ingredients may support your hair goals, too. Read our guide titled: What to Look for in a Men’s Hair Loss Shampoo if you’re interested in learning more about the potential there.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

The effects of caffeine on the hair growth cycle is an area of research where a lot more work must be done. 

Research has only begun to explore the potential of hair loss treatments containing caffeine, and still there's no data on how caffeine may affect any type of hair loss. So should you be buying caffeine-containing shampoos? Not necessarily.

It’s best to talk with a healthcare professional about your hair loss, and get advice on how to treat and reverse balding with recommended, proven treatments for hair loss. 

7 Sources

  1. Minoxidil topical: MEDLINEPLUS drug information. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2021, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a689003.html.
  2. Marks, L. S., Hess, D. L., Dorey, F. J., Luz Macairan, M., Cruz Santos, P. B., & Tyler, V. E. (2001). Tissue effects of saw palmetto and finasteride: use of biopsy cores for in situ quantification of prostatic androgens. Urology, 57(5), 999–1005. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11337315/.
  3. Zito PM, Bistas KG, Syed K. Finasteride. [Updated 2020 Oct 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/.
  4. Rafi, A. W., & Katz, R. M. (2011). Pilot Study of 15 Patients Receiving a New Treatment Regimen for Androgenic Alopecia: The Effects of Atopy on AGA. ISRN dermatology, 2011, 241953. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262531/.
  5. Fischer, T. W., Herczeg-Lisztes, E., Funk, W., Zillikens, D., Bíró, T., & Paus, R. (2014). Differential effects of caffeine on hair shaft elongation, matrix and outer root sheath keratinocyte proliferation, and transforming growth factor-β2/insulin-like growth factor-1-mediated regulation of the hair cycle in male and female human hair follicles in vitro. The British journal of dermatology, 171(5), 1031–1043. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24836650/.
  6. Koch, W., Zagórska, J., Marzec, Z., & Kukula-Koch, W. (2019). Applications of Tea (Camellia sinensis) and its Active Constituents in Cosmetics. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(23), 4277. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930595/.
  7. Bansal, M., Manchanda, K., & Pandey, S. S. (2012). Role of caffeine in the management of androgenetic alopecia. International journal of trichology, 4(3), 185–186. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3500065/.
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 

Education

Training

Certifications

Publications

Read more