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What is caffeine shampoo?

What is caffeine shampoo?

Caffeine shampoo is a hair loss treatment designed to stimulate hair growth using caffeine extract. It can be found in high street pharmacies and supermarkets.

The best known caffeine shampoo is Alpecin, a German product which emerged from a study in 2007. The study showed that caffeine stimulated hair follicles to regrow in a laboratory dish. Researchers developed a shampoo that aimed to repeat this effect on the human scalp.

Does caffeine shampoo work?

It's unclear. Whilst the 2007 Alpecin study showed that caffeine does stimulate hair growth in a laboratory dish; there is not enough evidence to prove it works with hair on the scalp.

There is a lot of debate surrounding whether caffeine shampoos can actually match the success of this initial study to prevent hair loss. Generally speaking, caffeine shampoos are not endorsed by the medical community to treat hair loss. Instead, most Irish doctors would recommend medical treatments such as Finasteride or minoxidil, which have been proven in clinical trials.

Clinical evidence for caffeine shampoos

Currently, there is no clinically viable evidence that caffeine shampoos have a long-lasting effect on male pattern baldness. This type of hair loss occurs in men who have a sensitivity to the hormone DHT (a form of testosterone), which causes the hair follicles in the scalp to weaken and shrink. Caffeine shampoo has not been proven to negate the effects of DHT in the long term.

Further research is being done every year on caffeine shampoos, and it is possible to find many reviews across the internet which claim caffeine shampoos have a positive effect on hair loss.  

Caffeine shampoo side effects

Like any treatment, there's a chance you might experience side effects and some people may even have a reaction. 

Please check the label of your chosen shampoo for side effects before use, and consult a doctor at the first sign of an issue.

Effective alternatives to caffeine shampoo

Currently in Ireland, there are only two hair loss treatments that are clinically proven to treat hair loss: a prescription tablet called Finasteride, and a lotion/foam called Minoxidil.


Clinically speaking, the most effective treatment is called Finasteride. Finasteride is proven to stop hair loss in 90% of men, and can even cause regrowth in two thirds of men. To learn more about Finasteride or make an order visit our online hair loss clinic.


The second most effective treatment is minoxidil: a foam or lotion that is rubbed into the scalp every day. Minoxidil can be used for various types of hair loss, including male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness and alopecia areata

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Authors and editors

Reviewed and updated by: Our clinical team Date reviewed: 04-10-2023