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Does Caffeine Cause Baldness?

author image Beth Greenwood
Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.
Does Caffeine Cause Baldness?
balding man holding cup of coffee Photo Credit Lance Lee/iStock/Getty Images

Thinning hair is a problem for 85 percent of men by the age of 50, according to the American Hair Loss Association. Hair loss can affect both men and wome. Pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of baldness, and according to the Mayo Clinic affects roughly one-third of both men and women. Baldness has numerous causes. Caffeine has a surprising relationship to this condition.


Does Caffeine Cause Baldness?
elderly bald man Photo Credit Alexander Raths/iStock/Getty Images

Androgenetic alopecia is a permanent condition that occurs over a period of time. It is an inherited trait and may begin as early as age 21. A receding hairline and complete hair loss on top of the head are typical in men; women tend to lose hair all over the scalp. Many other things can cause baldness: hairstyles such as cornrows, hormonal changes related to pregnancy, thyroid problems, some medications, fungal infections of the scalp or an underlying disease such as lupus or diabetes.

Diet and Baldness

Does Caffeine Cause Baldness?
man looking for signs of balding Photo Credit diego cervo/iStock/Getty Images

Some aspects of diet are related to hair loss, but not actual baldness. Zinc and iron deficiency, severe restrictions of protein, fatty acids and calories of the sort seen in starvation and vitamin D deficiency can all cause hair loss. Caffeine, the bitter substance normally present in tea, coffee, chocolate and kola nuts, has not been implicated as a cause of baldness. In fact, there is evidence that caffeine can actually help stop the process that causes baldness.

Baldness and DHT

Does Caffeine Cause Baldness?
man drinking cup of coffee Photo Credit gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Baldness seems to begin with hair follicles that are genetically sensitive to dihydrotestosterone or DHT, a by-product of testosterone. When these hair follicles are exposed to DHT for a long period of time, they begin to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. A study reported in the January 2007 “International Journal of Dermatology” found that when caffeine was added to a medium in which hair follicles taken from men with androgenetic alopecia were growing, the caffeine stimulated hair growth.

The Bottom Line

Does Caffeine Cause Baldness?
man carrying coffees Photo Credit crossstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Baldness can be a distressing condition, but there is no evidence that caffeine causes baldness, and it may actually help this condition. A few medical treatments are available to help androgenetic alopecia; cosmetic solutions, such as wigs, are another option. If you have questions or concerns, consult a health care professional.

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