Hair loss and hair thinning are considered normal, often occurring with ageing. While no treatment is 100 percent effective, green tea has shown some promise.
Hair loss occurs when the hair’s natural growth cycle changes.
The cycle includes three phased – androgen (hair growth), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (hair loss).
Two hormones, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, can decrease the hair growth phase and increase hair loss.
Some research has shown that EGCG can inhibit effects of these hormones on hair and slow hair loss.
EGCG is the most abundant catechin in tea – a natural phenol and antioxidant.
In one study, mice that received a topical treatment of EGCG-rich green tea experienced significantly less hair loss than those that didn’t receive treatment.
In a company-funded pilot study, 10 participants with androgenetic alopecia (hormonal hair loss that commonly affects men and women aged 50 and older) took a supplement called Forti5 for 24 weeks.
But the supplement did contain an undisclosed amount of green tea extract, melatonin, vitamin D omega-3, omega-6, beta-sitosterol and soy isoflavones, so it’s difficult to know whether the green extract caused these improvements.
Green tea may support healthy hair growth and regrowth.
In a small study, researchers added topical green tea-derived EGCG extract to the scalps of three participants with alopecia.
After four days, the participants experienced significant increases in hair growth activity.
EGCG appears to increase hair growth by stimulating hair follicles and preventing damage to skin and hair cells.
In a hair loss study in mice, researchers found 33 percent of the animals that consumed green tea extract experienced hair regrowth after six months, while no mice in the control group showed improvements.
Other hair loss treatments
Finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness, recommended by the NHS.
Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness, but women shouldn’t use finasteride.
But it’s important to know these treatments don’t work for everyone, and may only work for as long as they’re used.
They also aren’t available on the NHS and can be expensive.
Other ways to treat hair loss include hair transplant – when hair cells are moved to thinning patches, and tattooing – tattoos used to look like short hair and eyebrows.
If your hair loss is causing you distress, speak to your GP who may be able to help you get some counselling.