Efficacy of a caffeine shampoo in male androgenetic alopecia

Conducted at the Center of Cosmetologic Research, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Roma and Evic Italia srl. Italy

Published in J. Appl. Cosmetol. 28, 153–163 (October/December 2010)

As male pattern baldness is by far the most common cause for hair loss in male population, topically applied substances need to be controlled for the cosmetic efficacy and the enhancement of life quality.

Investigators assume that a mutual interplay of several factors is involved in the development of male pattern baldness: androgens, genetic and age factors. The male hormone testosterone plays a pivotal role in the onset of baldness, maybe independent of hereditary disposition.

Caffeine has recently been shown to be a hair growth stimulator that helps to improve skin function and is easily absorbable through scalp skin. It is not known exactly how caffeine stimulates hair growth yet, but it appears to directly increase the growth of hair as well as possibly helping to block the effects of testosterone within the skin.

It is already found that caffeine penetrates via the hair follicles after 2 minutes and that the transdermal absorption is even faster than other pathways for absorption.


To check the cosmetic efficacy and qualities of a shampoo in male pattern baldness, the Center for Cosmetologic Research, Catholic University of Sacred Heart at Rome performed an application test under normal conditions of use for six consecutive months.

The 30 male subjects, aged from 18 to 55 with a mean age of 37 year, had to apply the shampoo at home, once per day for six months, in a quantity of 7 ml on hair and scalp, kept on the scalp for 2 minutes and then rinsed off.

The test volunteers were not allowed to use any other shampoo, to bleach the hair or to alter environmental conditions (vitamine intake, change of diet etc). The experimental area of scalp skin was examined before then after 3 and 6 months of shampoo application to evaluate the intensity of hair loss.

Furthermore, the description of the cosmetic efficacy was made with a self assessed dermatological questionnaire before then after 3 and 6 months of shampoo application.

Hair loss by combing


Intensity of hair loss

The caffeine shampoo showed a very good skin compatibility after application under normal conditions of use. Investigators stated no sensation of discomfort due to caffeine shampoo.

Moreover, the caffeine shampoo demonstrated a good cosmetic efficacy. The hair pulltest revealed that caffeine shampoo decreases the hairs pulled out by 7,17% after 3 months and by 13,45% after 6 months of use and indicates an increase of hair resistance.

According to the dermatological questionnaire the strength of hair significantly improved as well as the intensity of hair loss was significantly reduced after 6 months of shampoo application.

Besides the improvement of hair conditions, Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1 reduced typical scalp problems such as scalp itch, scalp dryness and scalp tension after 6 months of application.


The outcome of the study obtained in the pull test showed an increase of the resistance to the traction strain of hair and a decrease of hair loss. The dermatological investigators confirmed the good cosmetic efficacy of the Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1. Scientists therefore assume to use this shampoo daily to prevent premature hair loss.

Alpecin is designed for the care of thinning hair as the caffeine complex helps to strengthen hair by stimulation of the hair roots. The effect is an overall improvement of life quality due to the good cosmetic efficacy and the decrease of hair loss which gives rise to satisfaction by daily use over at least 6 months.

As a result, regular application of Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1 activates the hair roots in a sustainable manner, thereby creating the prerequisite for vigorous and healthy hair growth.