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Q&A: Does Alpecin Shampoo Benefit Hair Loss?

AlpecinName: David

Question: Have you any views on Alpecin Hair Shampoo which is being advertised heavily in the London press?

Answer: Alpecin’s ‘After Shampoo Liquid’ contains caffeine and is said to tackle genetic hair loss. The manufacturers of Alpecin base these claims on studies undertaken by the University of Jena which showed that caffeine stimulates weakened hair roots. The study, carried out in January 2007, involved hair follicles being removed from balding men and artificially grown in a laboratory. The follicles were then all exposed to testosterone and some were also exposed to caffeine. The follicles that were exposed to testosterone showed reduced growth (as occurs in Male Pattern Hair Loss) while the follicles that were exposed to testosterone and caffeine seemed to be less affected by the testosterone and also stimulated new growth.

While these results seem to suggest that caffeine prevents the negative effects of testosterone and is a cure for genetic hair loss, there is always the question of how successful it is when applied outside of a laboratory, directly onto the human scalp.

Alpecin claims to have conducted its own research on its products – these show positive results but on only very small numbers. Indeed, before a conclusive answer can be given on caffeine’s effectiveness as a hair loss treatment, much more research needs to be carried out on a much larger scale. This type of research involves large-scale clinical trials in order to accurately understand the effects of caffeine on the human scalp, how much needs to be absorbed to prevent hair loss and how much caffeine can be safely absorbed by the human body.

After consideration, the Belgravia medical team don’t deem it realistic that enough caffeine would be absorbed by the scalp from a shampoo to effectively assist in the prevention of hair loss, even if caffeine was found to be an effective hair loss preventative in laboratory conditions. As shampoo is diluted by water and only applied for a short period of time before being washed off, minimal quantities will be absorbed into the scalp, if any.

The Daily Mail recently published ratings of 8 hair loss products, Alpecin being one of them. You can view the results here – Daily Mail Hair Loss Ratings.

Belgravia has recently introduced an extra strength minoxidil 8% liquid to its treatment range, containing caffeine as a hair growth booster. Because of the absorption properties of the ingredients in our minoxidil liquid solution, traces of caffeine will reach the hair follicles with the aim of helping prevent DHT from inhibiting hair growth.

Currently, there are only two hair loss treatments that have been licensed in the UK and US by the government medical regulatory bodies, you can find further information on these treatments, which are the only ones that have shown sufficient evidence that they are effective for hair loss prevention, here.

*Last updated on 8th April 2010*

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12 Comments

4th February, 2015 at 7:44 am

saqib

i use Alpecin dubule effect shampoo last 3 moth but my hair loss day by day what i do.?plz asn mee

6th February, 2015 at 10:01 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Saqib,

Alpecin and other caffeine shampoos do not actually prevent male hair loss as they do not stop the underlying cause. Male Pattern Baldness is caused when a man has a genetic sensitivity to a substance in the body called DHT. This hormone by-product attacks the hair follicles around the top of the head of those who are susceptible, causing the hair to thin and eventually cease production, leading to baldness. There are only two clinically-proven male hair loss treatments. These are finasteride 1mg, commonly known by its brand name Propecia, and minoxidil. both of which are available from The Belgravia Centre. If you would like help in treating your hair loss, please arrange a free consultation at one of our Central London clinics by calling 020 7730 6666 or sending us a message, or if you are based outside London you can complete our Online Consultation form for professional advice on your condition and the most effective treatment course.

19th February, 2015 at 10:51 am

A

Hi I've recently been getting small spots on my scalp witch is causing small patches on my head is their anything that will help with this so far I have been using viviscal shampoo and after the first wash the water was very dirty and my hair started to look shiny and my scalp was less dry but they still have not gone

20th February, 2015 at 9:47 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi A,

It is difficult to tell what is happening without examining your scalp. It could be a scalp condition like psoriasis if the dry patches or 'spots' are also red. This could make the water appear dirty after shampooing if the dry build-up falls off. Similarly, it could be seborrhoeic dermatitis or any type of eczema. The best thing to do is to consult your doctor or dermatologist, or, if you are also concerned about shedding, a hair loss specialist will be able to diagnose your condition and discuss treatment options with you. Call us on 020 7730 6666 or send a message to book your free consultation, or if you are unable to visit either of our Central London hair loss clinics, you can complete our Online Consultation.

11th August, 2015 at 11:16 am

subrata kar

I am using finax (finasteride 1mg) and amexdil initially it was working fine , now i am facing same problem same hair fall starts again.

11th August, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Subrata,

We do not supply these brands so we recommend you speak to whoever you purchased them from for advice about your specific situation. In general, when people start hair loss treatment their hair will start to shed noticeably, usually after a few weeks, before improvements are visible. This is usually a good sign that you are responding well to the treatment which is encouraging new hair growth and pushing out old hairs in the process - hence the extra shedding. However, as you are not a client, we highly recommend you speak to your doctor or dermatologist and discuss your concerns with them.

23rd October, 2015 at 12:17 pm

N

I have been using Julian Jay Advanced Profol Shampoo seems to be working but expensive, may try minox instead. Can you recommend a daily shampoo before to try before i make an appointment to see you. N

23rd October, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Sarah

Hi there, When it comes to fighting genetic hair loss, shampoos do not do this.

There are only two products MHRA and FDA approved to do this and these are the hair loss treatments finasteride 1mg (men only) and minoxidil (men and women). As such, it does not matter too much what type of shampoo you use as long as it is gentle and suited to your specific hair type - we do have our own range of paraben-free Belgravia shampoos and conditioners However, minoxidil will generally be a better choice for treating hair loss than any kind of shampoo.

29th January, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Mike

I previously used Body Shop Ice Blue shampoo hitch was brilliant and seemed to control hair loss. Unfortunately this product was discontinued I then switched to Alpecin, I also used its hair tonic. I have used this for over three years, always keeping it on my scalp for two minutes or more. I can truly say since using it my hair loss has got a lot worse. This product certainly has NOT helped one joy

30th January, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Mike, it is a common misconception but shampoo does not treat hair loss. This is the likely reason that - as is the case with male pattern baldness - your hair thinning has increased over the years and is getting worse. There are no shampoos medically-proven to treat hair loss, however there are two medications which are both MHRA and FDA approved for this purpose. You can find out more about these on our Male Hair Loss Treatment page.

14th April, 2017 at 9:35 pm

Danish

Hi Sarah, I live in UAE and due to weather conditions here or I don't know what, I've started having a lot of hairfall and excessive dandruff. Back in my home country I never had a hairfall problem. I have noticed that due to dandruff I tend to scratch a lot which makes the situation worse and a lot of hair strands falling off.. the scalp sometimes feels itchy and also burns occasionally. My parents, family members all have extremely healthy, strong and long hair. What could be the reason for this? What should I do to prevent it. ( I use Trigaine caffeine shampoo twice a week and it helps, but for the rest 5 days again due to dandruff and itchy scalp I end up loosing hair)

27th April, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Danish. There could be an underlying issue - perhaps dietary if the type of foods you eat has changed significantly since moving to the UAE, or it could be a health concern - which is causing your hair loss and a dry scalp. We would recommend having a consultation in order to ascertain a professional diagnosis of your hair loss and scalp conditions, as well as personalised treatment recommendations on how to deal with them. For now, before your consultation, we recommend washing your hair every day but Caffeine shampoo is unlikely to help either your hair loss or your scalp condition. Try using a medicated shampoo for dandruff as directed (these are often not suitable for every day use) and using a gentle formulation shampoo on the days you do not use your medicated shampoo. Ensure you use a conditioner on the lengths and ends of your hair to prevent them from becoming dry and - hard as it is - do try not to scratch as this can lead to hair breakage, which can look like hair loss but is actually where the hair snaps in two along the lengths when it becomes weak.

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