Caffeine and Its Pharmacological Benefits in the Management of Androgenetic Alopecia: A Review

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2020;33(3):93-109. doi: 10.1159/000508228. Epub 2020 Jun 29.


Caffeine, particularly after ingestion, is well known to exert various pharmacological effects. A growing body of evidence implicates the ingestion of caffeine with beneficial effects on several diseases. The easy penetration of caffeine across the skin barrier and into human skin makes caffeine an ideal compound for topical application. Hair loss is known to negatively affect the quality of life and predispose to depression and anxiety. Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common type of hair loss in both men and women. To date, only few approved drug-based treatments for AGA exist, and these are inevitably associated with side effects. Therefore, the development of topical treatments based on well-tolerated natural ingredients such as caffeine to alleviate hair loss may provide a much-needed alternative to drug-based approaches.

Keywords: Androgenetic alopecia; Caffeine; Hair loss; Skin and hair follicle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Alopecia / metabolism
  • Caffeine / pharmacokinetics
  • Caffeine / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacokinetics
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Caffeine