Caffeine Shampoo: Does Alpecin Work At Preventing Hair Loss?
Does Alpecin Actually Work? My Personal Review of Caffeine Shampoo
One of the more recent products on the male hair loss market is Alpecin C1, a shampoo containing... caffeine! Strange, you might think, but does it work? My own experience has produced some encouraging results.
About five years ago, a small bald patch started forming on the crown of my head. Soon afterwards the hair at the front of my scalp started thinning too although thankfully with less enthusiasm than the bald patch. Oh well, I thought, goodbye hair. You've been unruly and impossible but I've loved you all the same.
I wasn't overly concerned at first but the mischievous nature of my hair loss started to suggest that I was heading for a Friar Tuck inspired disaster. This clearly wasn't acceptable.The Friar Tuck look has no place in post-15th century, non-Sherwood Forest society.
The alternatives weren't appealing either. No way was I going to shave all my remaining hair off. That seemed too drastic and foolhardy. And I'm not the kind of person to take hair loss pills or consult a witch doctor either.
My gently receding hairline was a tolerable part of the aging process but the widening bald patch was simply too unsettling to ignore. Looking like the portly drunk member of Robin Hood's Merry Men was not how I'd envisioned myself in middle age. Faced with this looming problem, I turned to the ageold solution to male crisis; I buried my head in the sand and prayed for a miracle.
In the meantime, my girlfriend began talking about this wonder shampoo that her cousins were using in Germany. It contained caffeine, she said, and apparently her cousins all had thick bushy Afros thanks to this magic elixir. I laughed and thought about Germans tipping jugs of black coffee over their hair. Skeptical, I vowed to forget about such folly.
Four months ago, while shopping for toiletries, I came across this caffeine shampoo in the hair section. It caught my attention because it looked like a bottle of bicycle oil had been accidentally placed amongst the hair products. But the words 'caffeine shampoo', 'hair energizer', 'reduces hair loss', 'stimulates hair roots' were all clearly printed across the bottle, which distinctly affirmed that it was not bicycle oil. This was Alpecin C1, the legendary caffeine shampoo. What the heck, I thought, why not?! So I bought the shampoo and felt like a dupe.
So what actually is Alpecin caffeine shampoo and how does it prevent hair loss?
Alpecin C1 is a shampoo that contains caffeine. Pretty weird, huh? I mean, why put caffeine in a shampoo? Well, Dr Wolff-Research, the people behind the product, claims that the caffeine actually promotes hairgrowth and stengthens hair.
Alpecin caffeine shampoo is targeted at men who are losing their hair to male pattern baldness (also known by the sexier term Androgenetic Alopecia) - about 80% of all male hair loss victims. Hair loss in men occurs when the hair follicles (which grow the hair and hold it in place) start to shrink. Shrinking hair follicles leads to thinner, shorter hair which eventually stops bothering to grow at all. For this, you can thank your genes and hormones, notably dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is converted from testosterone.
According to Dr Wolff-Research, Alpecin C1 works by penetrating the hair follicles with caffeine. By leaving the shampoo on your head for a minmium of 120 seconds, the caffeine is transported into the follicles where it stimulates growth and counteracts the undesirable effects of testosterone.
Although it only takes two minutes for the caffeine to be absorbed, leaving it sitting on your head for longer - 5, 10, even 20 minutes - before rinsing it out results in larger quantities of caffeine being absorbed by the follicles. It is also recommended that you use the shampoo on a daily basis because the caffeine only remains active for 24 hours.
Alpecin C1: My New Shampoo
The guidelines on the back of the bottle advocate daily use, leaving it in your hair for at least two minutes before rinsing.
I decided that the logistics of my morning shower did indeed permit the necessary two minutes but using it on a daily basis seemed extreme. After consideration, I opted to use it every second day.
If there's one instant gratification from the shampoo, it's the cold, tingling sensation that spreads across your scalp; perfect for a dreary-eyed morning. It's similar to the feeling that you get from rubbing Vicks Vaporub on your skin but doesn't last as long.
My shower duration is usually around the three or four minute mark so this gives me ample time to let the caffeine absorb. But I've heard horror stories about hardcore hair fanatics sitting down to breakfast each morning wearing a helmet of Alpecin C1, then washing it out 30 minutes later. There's nothing to stop you doing this (except possibly a sensitive scalp) and the back of the bottle does claim that longer exposure yields greater results. Personally, I'm not so much of an extremist and if the basic two or three minute application procedure didn't produce the desired outcome, I would probably have given up and gone back to Head and Shoulders with my tail between my legs.
Alpecin C1: Scam or Saviour?
So, does Alpecin work? Having used it for about four months, on alternative days, for two or three minutes at a time, I can reveal with a certain amount of confidence that less of my hair is falling out. Although I wasn't shedding hair by the fistful before I started using Alpecin, it does seem to have halted the very moderate loss I was suffering before.
A quick search of the internet shows that although caffeine shampoo has its skeptics and detractors, the majority of Alpecin reviews are positive.
My recommendation would be to give it a try for a few months and see what happens. Dependent on the scale of your hair loss, experiment with how often you use the product and how long you leave it on your scalp before washing out. Although the instructions on the bottle prescribe daily use (apparently the caffeine is only effective for 24 hours) my own experience suggests that anyone suffering non-profuse hair loss might be able to limit its application to alternative days. At double the cost of regular shampoo (in the UK) this stuff doesn't come cheap. Using it sparingly has the added bonus of saving you money.
If you have a sensitive scalp then it would be advisable to start by using it on alternative days and upping the dosage if you don't experience any adverse affects.
Does Caffeine Shampoo Work For You?
Have you tried Alpecin C1 yet?
Try It For Yourself!
Note to European customers: Alpecin is widely available in retailers throughout Europe. Check with your local shop.
Does Alpecin Work For You?
Have you tried caffeine shampoo? Does Alpecin work for you? Good or bad, share your comments below.