A number of readers have asked us about Alpecin, the German hair-loss product made up of potent amounts of caffeine. Alpecin is not officially sold in the United States (presumably due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) – although it is available online in Canada and even on Amazon.com.
There are two primary products: Alpecin caffeine shampoo and a more potent Alpecin liquid.
We don’t recommend Alpecin primarily because we believe that you can get whatever benefits there are from caffeine through the Revita.COR conditioner which we promote – along with a dozen other DHT-blocking and hair-stimulating ingredients, such as Copper Tri-peptides, Arginine, Encapsulated Cultured Plant Stem Cells, and others.
The question is: What role does caffeine play in slowing or reversing hair loss?
Anecdotally, there are a lot of people who swear by Alpecin… and some of the research we’ve seen is intriguing.
One 2007 study, in the International Journal of Dermatology, looked at the effects of testosterone and caffeine on hair follicle growth. The application of just a tiny amount of testosterone (5 µg/m) suppressed follicle growth… while the addition of small amounts of caffeine (in concentrations of 0.001% and 0.005%) immediately counteracted this effect. Not only that, but the application of caffeine alone significantly stimulated new hair growth.
The authors concluded, therefore, that caffeine is “a stimulator of human hair growth in vitro” and should be studied as a possible treatment for androgenetic alopecia (AGA) or pattern baldness.
Another study, “Follicular Penetration of Topically Applied Caffeine via a Shampoo Formulation,” published in 2007 in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology and available here, found that the caffeine in caffeine shampoos (such as Alpecin) definitely penetrates the into the stratum corneum of the scalp and into the hair follicles.
The studies presented by the company that manufactures Alpecin seem impressive, but most are small and not conducted under rigorous conditions. One, conducted at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, found that 82.5% of test subjects saw significant improvement in hair loss after just two months of using the Alpecin liquid.
At the very least, Alpecin and caffeine generally deserves far more study as a hair follicle stimulant.
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