INTERVIEW: Don’t Panic! – How to Help Your Hair Loss

Dr. Klenk has become well-known in the scientific community of Europe for the discovery of caffeine as an active substance against hair loss. As a man who suffers from a bit of a receding hairline myself, I was excited to sit down with him to hear what he had to say on the best way to retain my flowing locks.

You’ve done a lot of research around the positive effects of caffeine to help prevent men’s hair loss. Will our readers daily morning coffee really do a great deal in saving their locks?

Unfortunately no – you’d need to drink at least 50 cups of coffee a day to get the required concentration of caffeine to treat hair loss, and this is not recommended!

You need a high concentrate of caffeine which is applied directly to hair through hair care products.

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What other ways can men boost the levels of caffeine reaching their hair?

The method involves applying a serum or shampoo directly to the scalp. Simply rubbing coffee into your scalp will not work, the same goes for drinking coffee, as the caffeine distributes systemically across the whole body (not just the scalp).

Do you have any specific products you could recommend?

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This Alpecin Liquid, Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1 and Alpecin Double-Effect Shampoo (if one suffers from dandruff, too).

What should people know before they think about taking Finasteride or trying Minoxidil treatment?

Firstly, both are drugs which can have unwanted side effects. Men should consult their doctor for further advice to weigh up the risks vs. benefits.

So it sounds like it’s achievable to save or slow the loss of hair from the crown of your head. What can be done about a receding hairline?

Hair thinning is a continuous process, it begins because of the negative effects testosterone has on hair roots. Increase of hair loss points to the beginning of exhaustion of the hair roots. But when the hair root is exhausted the hair will start to thin.

A receding hair line indicates upcoming baldness (or thinning). Among men this is a very common pattern – receding hair lines and thinning at the temples. It continues in the vertex area and finally ends with a complete bald upper head. However male pattern hair loss is never seen in the neck or along the ears.

As daily drinkers of coffee will know, caffeine is an energy booster. And by topical application caffeine has a similar effect on hair roots – it is an energy supply to the hair root. Therefore specially developed caffeine cosmetics such as a leave-in treatment (liquid formula) or a rinse off treatment (shampoo) are options.

What are some of the key mistakes men make when trying to save their hair?

Emotional and physical stress (for example from wearing tight helmets) and/or nervous pulling of the hair is a real risk for men. Another mistake is daily hair washing with products that are not dermatologically approved.

Also, there are a lot of myths for better hair growth. One is to shave the hair or to plug off the hair. That is nonsense. The hair is a very demanding organ which needs huge supply of energy. Caffeine can support the hair root – it has been scientifically proven to counteract the unwanted side effects that testosterone can have on a man’s skin, scalp and hair[1].

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What would you have to say to those who think men should just be comfortable in their own skin and shave it off their worried?

It is a very personal decision and men should be able to feel comfortable with whatever feels right for them.

What advice would you have for those in their mid-twenties who are starting to notice some hair loss where it might be impacting their confidence?

Without any simple cure to hair loss available as yet, prevention is key for people suffering thinning hair. It is crucial to start in your late teens to slow down the thinning process. Hair loss is a consequence of exhaustion of hair roots, so prevention gives you the best chance to save your hair. If the hair root is dead (that’s a bald head), there is no hope for recovery.

Due to the hereditary condition of the male pattern hair loss, everybody can look into their family history to get an idea about whether or not they will suffer from hair loss.

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And finally, do you think there will ever be a magic pill in future that will allow men to fully regrow their hair even after significant male pattern baldness?

No, I don’t think there is hope for a magic pill. Especially because the risk of male pattern baldness is hereditary based, and is a genetic precondition. Thus the fight against hair loss isn’t an easy fix.

[1] The study which proves caffeine supports hair composition appears in the British Journal of Dermatology. The study was conducted under Associate Professor Dr. Tobias W. Fischer, Head of the Centre for Clinical Hair Research and the Laboratory for HairBiology at the University Dermatological Clinic in Lübeck.