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Can coffee help you grow your hair longer?

Balding already? You need coffee.

Written by Sandhya Raghavan |Published : September 12, 2017 5:52 PM IST

So far, we have heard enough about coffee causing addictions, nervousness, anxiety and sleeplessness. Let's talk about all the things coffee is good at. For starters, it's good for weight loss, it improves your memory, it lowers diabetes risk and can spike up your brain power. And if you love coffee, you are going to absolutely love what we are about to say. Coffee could possibly have hair growth benefits. That's right! Scientists have discovered that coffee could possibly help you re-populate your thinning pate with some lush hair. Here are some health benefits of caffeine.

From time immemorial, coffee has been used in various hair masks to impart a darker tint to hair. Even in India, coffee grounds are routinely added to mehendi hair packs to lend a deeper, richer shade to the hair. Now it seems that coffee could do more than just darken your hair. It's proven that coffee has some neat hair-growth benefits. So if you are not satisfied with the pace at which your tresses are growing or if you are alarmed by the vast expanses of hairless terrain on your pate, you could give your head the coffee treatment!

What is the science behind coffee and hair growth?

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The caffeine in coffee works by reducing the amount of phosphodiesterase an enzyme. When the circulation of phosphodiesterase decreases, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a second messenger increases. Second messengers are signalling molecules that communicate the messages from first messengers like hormones and neurotransmitters. So they essentially tell your body to create more cells, among other things. In this case, more cAMP means your body gets the message loud and clear that it needs to create more hair.

(Read: Regular coffee or decaf-- Which is better?)

Everyone knows that too much testosterone can cause hair loss. Your body converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone which causes hair loss. Some scientists conducted a study in which they cultivated hair follicles from balding areas of patients suffering from alopecia and used caffeine of different concentration to see whether it stimulated the hair follicles.

Surprisingly, 0.001% and 0.005% concentrations of caffeine were able to stop the destructive activity of testosterone on the hair follicles. The researchers were also thrilled to know that apart from counteracting testosterone, caffeine was successful in stimulating hair follicle growth. They concluded that caffeine was helpful not only in managing alopecia but also in promoting hair growth.1

Another study in 2014 showed that caffeine works by fighting testosterone that suppresses the growth of hair. In fact, it also helped in elongating the hair shaft. This simply means caffeine could be your new best friend for more than one reasons!2

How to use coffee for hair growth

Sorry to burst the bubble of caffeine addicts who are chuffed at the prospects of drinking litres and litres of coffee. Drinking coffee is not the solution. You could end up with shaky hands, nervousness and insomnia if you overdose on caffeine. Experts call for topical application of coffee for promoting hair growth. This means you will have to rinse your hair in coffee infusions or prepare a hair mask with coffee grounds in it, which is not such a bad thing because it can make your hair shinier and more manageable. Apart from that, it can also impart a deeper hue to your tresses.

References:

1.1. Fischer, T. W., Hipler, U. C., & Elsner, P. (2007). Effect of caffeine and testosterone on the proliferation of human hair follicles in vitro. International journal of dermatology, 46(1), 27-35.

2.Fischer, T. W., Herczeg Lisztes, E., Funk, W., Zillikens, D., B r , T., & Paus, R. (2014). Differential effects of caffeine on hair shaft elongation, matrix and outer root sheath keratinocyte proliferation, and transforming growth factor 2/insulin like growth factor 1 mediated regulation of the hair cycle in male and female human hair follicles in vitro. British Journal of Dermatology, 171(5), 1031-1043.

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