Caffeine for Hair Loss: Revolutionary Findings by Dr. Andrew Huberman
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Caffeine for Hair Loss: Revolutionary Findings by Dr. Andrew Huberman

Ari Horesh

Harnessing the Power of Caffeine for Hair Growth

Dr. Andrew Huberman, a renowned neuroscientist, delves into an unexpected realm: using topical caffeine to combat hair loss. This video explores how caffeine, commonly associated with beverages, emerges as a potent tool in hair care.

Caffeine: More Than Just a Stimulant

"We all think of caffeine as a stimulant that we drink... But, it is a fairly potent PDE inhibitor."

Caffeine is known for its stimulating effects on the central nervous system, making us feel more alert and less sleepy. However, its role extends beyond just keeping us awake. As Dr. Huberman points out, caffeine is a significant PDE inhibitor, indirectly stimulating IGF-1. This property is crucial in the context of hair growth and maintenance.

The Science Behind Topical Caffeine

The suppression of PDE by caffeine leads to an increase in IGF-1 levels. Applying topical caffeine ointments or creams to the scalp can maintain or potentially enhance hair growth in that area. This method of application is essential, as drinking caffeine does not provide the same local effect on the scalp.

Comparing Caffeine and Minoxidil

When it comes to hair loss treatments, minoxidil is a well-known name. However, Dr. Huberman highlights that:

"Head-to-head topical caffeine application can be as effective as minoxidil application without lowering blood pressure or increasing prolactin."

This comparison puts caffeine in a favorable light, especially considering the lesser side effects compared to minoxidil.

Application and Concentration

Topical caffeine ointments should not be applied daily. Dr. Huberman suggests a thrice-weekly application, noting the varied concentrations of caffeine in different products. The dosage and frequency are crucial factors for effectiveness.

Clinical Studies and Efficacy

While most studies on caffeine's impact on hair growth have been in vitro, there's a growing body of clinical research. These studies may not be as extensive as those for minoxidil, but they show promising results, especially when considering side effects and costs.

Caffeine's Role in Hair Cell Growth

Caffeine's ability to reduce apoptosis in hair cell stem niches is particularly noteworthy. It helps maintain the stem cell population, thereby prolonging the hair's life cycle.

The Three Phases of Hair Growth

  1. Anagen Phase: Active hair growth
  2. Catagen Phase: Transitional phase
  3. Telogen Phase: Resting phase, leading to hair shedding

Caffeine's impact is primarily seen in the anagen phase, where it stimulates IGF-1 and reduces apoptosis.

User Experiences and Future Research

Dr. Huberman encourages viewers to share their experiences with caffeine ointments or minoxidil, especially in terms of new hair growth. He acknowledges the need for more extensive research in this area.


Topical caffeine emerges as a viable, potentially effective option for hair loss prevention, with fewer side effects compared to traditional treatments like minoxidil. As research progresses, caffeine-based hair treatments could become a staple in hair care routines for those battling hair loss.

Key Takeaways

  1. Caffeine as a PDE Inhibitor: Beyond its stimulant properties, caffeine plays a role in hair growth.
  2. Topical Application: Necessary for direct effects on the scalp and hair follicles.
  3. Comparison with Minoxidil: Similar efficacy with fewer side effects.
  4. Anagen Phase Focus: Caffeine's impact on prolonging hair growth.
  5. Continued Research: Encouraging user feedback and scientific exploration.

For those seeking alternatives to conventional hair loss treatments, exploring the benefits of caffeine could be a game-changer. Dr. Huberman's insights offer a novel perspective on a common ingredient, opening new doors in the fight against hair loss.

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