Green tea extract (GTE) is a concentrated antioxidant compound derived from Camellia sinensis leaves. Unlike the leaves that are used for oolong and black teas, these leaves do not undergo an oxidation process. The consumption of these leaves is often linked to certain health benefits. Recently, however, researchers turned to examine green tea for hair growth. Below is a compilation of the latest research on green tea benefits for hair.
Green Tea Hair Loss General Information
Androgenic alopecia is hereditary baldness. It can affect both men and women. The condition is usually characterized by a gradual recession of hair.
In men, androgenic alopecia usually begins at the top of the head and works its way back. Such is the reason why men experiencing genetic hair loss suffer from a receding hairline. On the other hand, women experience thinning near the center of the head where the part is placed. The front hairline is not ordinarily affected in female pattern baldness. Female pattern baldness can be harder to treat due to diffuse thinning. It has been shown that thinning hair is highly susceptible to dihydrotestosterone ( DHT ). DHT is the main culprit in the causation of androgenic alopecia.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a catechin that is viewed as the driving force behind the many benefits of green tea. This bioactive compound is a natural phenol and antioxidant. Antioxidants can safely interact with free radicals. Free radicals are compounds with can speed up the aging process. Thus, these compounds can damage hair health. By slowing down the rate of cell degeneration, anti-oxidants could be useful even when hair loss is genetic. Studies have shown the positive effects of EGCG in hair loss treatment.
Studies About Green Tea For Hair Growth (GTE)
Skinmed (2012) published a review of twenty studies that observed the use of green tea in dermatology in terms of hair growth. Among the studies were in-vitro (in a test tube) and in-vivo (in a living organism) experiments that analyzed effects that green tea extracts have on hair (4). In the end, scientists concluded that green tea can be effective in treating androgenetic alopecia.
Green Tea for Hair: A More In-depth Investigation Using In-Vivo and In-Vitro Methods
A study conducted by Phytomedicine (2007) measured the effectiveness of EGCG green tea hair growth in a test tube (in-vitro) and in a living organism (in-vivo). The experiment determined potential benefits of EGCG hair loss treatment on human dermal papilla cells (DPCs) in-vitro and in-vivo (3). Dermal papilla cells regulate hair follicle growth and development.
The investigation found green tea extract hair growth was noticeable in both in-vivo and in-vitro experimentation. The study concluded that EGCG promotes hair growth through its anti-apoptotic (programmed cell death) effect on dermal papilla cells.
Another Study on EGCG Hair Growth
The Journal of the National Medical Association published an investigation in 2005 (1). The study divided mice suffering from hair loss into two groups. Researchers gave rodents in Group A the water that had polyphenol extracts derived from dehydrated green tea. Group B subjects received regular drinking water for treatment. Researchers administered treatment to both ranks for 6 months.
In the end, thirty-three percent of those mice in Group A experienced significant progress as a result of green tea extract hair loss treatment. Subjects in Group B did not encounter hair growth after six months of drinking regular water with no green tea extracts.
Green Tea Extract Hair Growth: A Further Explanation for Men
Men experience 5 alpha-reductase activity that is necessary for sexual differentiation. Although a vital enzyme in steroid metabolism, the chemical contributes to alopecia. A study has shown that EGCG found in green tea is a natural remedy that slows down 5 alpha-reductase productivity (2). In other words, using EGCG by way of green tea as a hair loss treatment method could potentially hair growth. Green tea extract hair growth warrants further study to determine the dosing necessary to produce the effect. It is important to note, though, that inhibiting 5 alpha-reductase activity could negatively affect sexual differentiation in men. Women also produce DHT, although in smaller concentrations. It is thus likely that a topical route of administration might be the way to go as the amount of green tea needed to be consumed for the effect may be too much for the average individual and it would carry a lesser potential of causing sexual dysfunction.
Androgenic alopecia affects more than three million men and women in the United States every year. Although the idea of green tea extract hair growth is still in its primary stages, the results from these studies are encouraging.
Frequently Asked Questions – Using Green Tea for Hair
Is it safe to use green tea for hair growth?
In moderation, green tea is generally safe for adult consumption. Green tea extract (GTE) is similarly safe for oral and topical use in moderation. Due to the diuretic quality of green tea, however, it is not recommended to drink more than 5 cups per day. For this reason, the future of green tea as a solution to hair loss may be found in topical formulations.
What is a green tea hair rinse?
A green tea hair rinse is a hair mask made out of some kind of essential oil (typically coconut or argan-based) mixed with green tea extract (powder). Many DIY sources claim this results in softer hair. Many recommend leaving the hair mask on for 15-30 minutes before washing it off with cold water.
What are the green tea benefits for hair?
Researchers have observed that a 10% concentration of EGCG promotes hair growth by increasing the number of dermal papilla cells while also decreasing the effect of programmed death in these cells (3). Additionally, a study found that adding 50% polyphenol extracted from green tea to drinking water resulted in significant hair growth after 6 months (1). It should be noted that the latter study measured hair growth in mice; further research on green tea for hair is required to conclude its effect on humans.
References – Green Tea For Hair
- Esfandiari A, Kelley P. The effects of tea polyphenolic compounds on hair loss among rodents. J Natl Med Assoc 2005;97(6):816-8.
- Hiipakka RA, Zhang HZ, Dai W, et al. Structure-activity relationships for inhibition of human 5alpha-reductases by polyphenols. Biochem Pharmacol 2002; 63(6):1165-76.
- Kwon OS, Han JH, Yoo HG, et al. Human hair growth enhancement in vitro by green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Phytomedicine 2007;14(7-8):551-5.
- Pazyar N, Feily A, Kazerouni A. Green tea in dermatology. Skinmed 2012;10(6):352-5.