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A Journal on Dermatology

Journal of Istituto Dermatologico San Gallicano
Official Journal of the Associazione Dermatologi Ospedalieri Italiani - A.D.O.I.
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus



Esperienze Dermatologiche 2013 September;15(3):135-8

language: English

Is caffeine really the new cosmetic ingredient able to stop androgenetic alopecia?

Celleno L. 1, Bussoletti C. 2

1 Dermatologia, Complesso Integrato Columbus, Roma;
2 Complesso Integrato Columbus, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma


Caffeine is an alkaloid belonging to the xanthines family whose systemic effects on the cardiovascular system are well known. In recent years, thanks to its small size and its lipophilicity, that render it easily absorbable, the cosmetic industry has also been using it for its topical effects (lipolysis stimulation, antioxidant activity, microcirculation improvement). Among the others, the most interesting use is currently for androgenetic alopecia, the most common and widespread form of hair loss in males. The rationale for use of caffeine in androgenetic alopecia is to exploit its ability to inhibit the negative effect of testosterone on the growth of hair, as it has been widely demonstrated in in-vitro and ex-vivo models. Thanks to the ability of caffeine to penetrate quickly, especially through the hair follicles, it was possible to use various formulations for topical use containing caffeine at different concentrations, in several clinical trials, with encouraging results. In the light of these observations, caffeine is proposed as one of the most interesting cosmetic ingredients in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.

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