So, you’ve started losing your hair. Well, there’s one thing that’s for certain: You’re not alone. The majority of American men will experience hair loss at some point in their lives – two thirds by the age of 35 and 85% by the time they turn 50.
Male pattern baldness (or androgenic alopecia) has no cure, but you can prevent further hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth with two medications: finasteride and minoxidil. Whether or not you decide to talk to your doctor about these two options, you should still make sure you take care of the hair you do have left.
Luckily, there are a lot of easily accessible and affordable natural products you can use to keep your hair looking and feeling strong and healthy. One of the many options available is green tea (yes, it’s so much more than a beverage!).
Here’s a bit of tea history for you. Teas are made from a leaf called Camellia sinensis (or C. sinensis), which is more conveniently referred to as simply the “tea plant.” After being picked, these leaves can be fermented, semi-fermented, or non-fermented, with green tea being in that last category.
Because they’re non-fermented, green tea leaves retain most of the nutrients they had when they were fresh, with one of the main ones being a category of antioxidants called catechins. The primary catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG).
Several studies have found that EGCG can be incredibly beneficial to your physiological health. It can lead to a decreased risk for many different conditions, including several types of cancer, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, it’s pretty good for your hair, too.
Wondering if green tea is good for your hair? Well, for starters, antioxidants fight off free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules you don’t want too much of in your body. Every day, your hair is exposed to a ton of them, such as UV rays from the sun and pollution in the air. The antioxidant activity of green tea helps protect your hair from those molecules, thus warding off any damage they could cause.
In addition, EGCG is considered a potential natural DHT (dihydrotestosterone) blocker because it might be able to block 5α-reductase (5-alpha-reductase), which is the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. Since genetic DHT sensitivity causes male pattern baldness, the more you can do to prevent that conversion, the better.
Another possible benefit of green tea is that it might increase endothelial blood flow (that’s a fancy way of saying increasing the nutrient delivery to the hair follicles). In turn, this could strengthen the hair follicles, thus preventing hair loss and stimulating regrowth.
Bottom line: There’s still not enough evidence to prove that green tea can prevent hair loss from starting, but it can protect the hair you have left.
You can find green tea infused in some shampoos and conditioners, especially natural shampoos and conditioners. Or, you could buy the tea leaves, brew a cup of tea, and then, when cool – and only when cool – rinse your hair and scalp with it. Green tea supplements are also an option.
One study found that, when 10% ECGC in ethanol was applied directly to patients’ scalps, the death of dermal papillae – cells that regulate the development and growth of hair follicles – decreased, thus protecting the hair and preventing it from falling out.
Of course, you can also start drinking green tea regularly. Remember, it has all those other benefits, too.
Again, there’s not enough evidence to prove that green tea will prevent hair loss. The only two proven treatments are finasteride and minoxidil. However, green tea can definitely keep your hair healthy. Some other natural ingredients you can seek out to do the same are caffeine, saw palmetto, and biotin.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
Finasteride is an oral medication used to treat male pattern baldness in men only. It is not for use by women. When used by men, finasteride is generally safe but it can also cause serious side effects, including but not limited to allergic reactions, sexual dysfunction, and high-grade prostate cancer. Most patients find that problems with sexual function resolve when they stop taking the medicine. For full prescribing information, view the drug label information.
Photo by Arseniy Kapran on Unsplash