Green tea is thought of as the miracle cure for everything. People around the world have been drinking it for centuries because of its supposed health benefits. And although green tea for hair sounds a bit out there, it may actually be good.
More and more people are looking to get their hands on green tea bags for promoting hair growth. It’s certainly a safe bet. If it doesn’t work out for your hair, you can count on a hot cup of tea to calm your nerves while basking in its other health benefits. For now, let’s find out if there’s any truth in the benefits of green tea for your hair.
What’s Exactly In Green Tea That Makes It Healthy?
To understand how green tea is good for your hair, you need to know what’s actually in it that makes it healthy for you. Mainly, it’s proteins and some carbohydrates.
However, it also contains minerals like iron, zinc, selenium, calcium, magnesium, some fatty acids, and vitamins. And then it contains alkaloids, the most famous and widely consumed of which is caffeine.
Most of the health benefits of green tea come from its polyphenols, which include flavonoids. The virtuoso flavonols here are catechins. And a green tea mainly contains 4 of those:
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
It is the antioxidant properties of EGCG that make it such a fan favourite among health enthusiasts. Being high in antioxidants means that the EGCG in green tea remains stable, and it also gives it its anti-inflammatory properties.
Not only has it been thought to promote hair growth by nourishing the hair roots, but it may also improve heart health and reduce the risk of cancer.
What Are Some Green Tea Benefits for Hair?
Let’s find out what makes green tea so good for your hair.
The reason why green tea became so popular for hair in the first place was that it was believed to have an inhibiting effect on the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase.
It is what converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and causes miniaturization of hair follicles and permanent hair loss. If the catechins in the green tea leaves would stop that from happening, it could potentially cure androgenetic alopecia.
That would mean that for as long as people took green tea supplements, drank green tea or topically applied it, they wouldn’t lose hair, to say the least. However, recent research shows that green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties contribute to hair growth, not its inhibitory effect on 5-alpha-reductase.
According to one study published in peer-reviewed Phytomedicine, EGCG promoted growth by stimulating hair follicles and preventing skin damage. Moreover, it increased the duration for which the hair stayed in the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle.
Experimental Dermatology also published a study showing that EGCG applied topically to mice after testosterone injections reduced hair loss.
The anti-inflammatory property of green tea also helps in reducing stress. And stress induces a kind of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. Since more of your hair will be in the telogen phase, growth activity would halt. However, green tea can actually help with this.
According to a study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, “polyphenolic substances are considered as anti-inflammatory and have stress inhibitory characteristics.”
In this study, the researchers had two groups of rodents. To the drinking water of one group, polyphenol extract from green tea was added. The control just had plain drinking water. 33% of the mice in the experimental group experienced hair growth. None had improved hair growth in the control group.
Adding green tea to your diet will help you deal with oxidative stress.
When your body has more free radicals and fewer antioxidants, your cells will get damaged. It is one way to damage the hair follicle. Fortunately, the catechins in green tea help scavenge the free radicals in the body and prevent hair loss.
It’s Got Caffeine
Another way that drinking green tea promotes hair regrowth is through its caffeine content.
Caffeine improves blood flow in the scalp. That would mean more nutrients and oxygen for the roots allowing for the growth of healthy hair.
In one study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, the researchers took hair follicles from the balding regions of androgenetic alopecia patients. It found that 0.001% and 0.005% concentrations of caffeine stimulated hair growth.
Makes Hair Less Greasy
Another thing that green tea can help with is that it can reduce the production of the oily substance known as sebum.
Excessive sebum on the scalp can cause dandruff and acne.
One study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that the topical application of a green tea hair tonic made hair less greasy 3 and 4 weeks following application. So, if you’re struggling with oily hair issues, green tea can be helpful for you.
Does Green Tea Treat Androgenetic Alopecia?
The scientific evidence on this potential benefit of green tea barely exists. There is one study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. It is funded by the company whose product – Forti5® – is being tested.
In this pilot study, 10 participants with androgenetic alopecia were given the supplement Forti5® twice a day for 2 weeks. 8 out of 10 participants showed an improvement in hair growth.
Putting aside the fact that the study’s company-funded, so the results may not be reliable and the fact that the sample only consists of 10 people, there’s another problem:
The supplement contains green tea extracts, omega fatty acids, antioxidants, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, melatonin and other substances. So, is it really the green tea extract at work or the enzyme inhibitor or something else?
Therefore, we cannot say for sure that the extracts of green tea can treat androgenetic alopecia. Clinical research on it is quite limited, and most of the research has animal models in them.
It doesn’t work by blocking DHT or inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha-reductase either, which is the primary cause of pattern baldness. So, green tea doesn’t work when it’s androgenetic alopecia.
Does Green Tea Reverse Greying Hair?
Green tea cannot reverse the greying of hair. However, it can delay the process because of its antioxidant property.
Free radical damage may be the reason for greying of hair. By scavenging those free radicals, green tea can slow down the process. To date, there’s no treatment that can successfully reverse greying hair.
How To Use Green Tea for Hair Growth?
You don’t just have to drink green tea for your hair to get better. A green tea rinse might be able to help your hair.
The preparation is simple:
Steep the leaves or tea bag in water for three minutes, then cool it. After that, strain the green tea to obtain a clear liquid.
Either you can pour it down your hair after shampooing or bottle it to use as a hair spray. You can even use it as a conditioner of sorts.
In addition, you can mix things up a little and add coconut oil and/or olive oil, honey, aloe vera, lemon juice, and/or egg yolk to the green tea rinse. You can apply it for 10 minutes or an hour.
Try incorporating it into your hair care routine and see what it can do for you.
Does Using Green Tea Change Hair Color?
As far as changing the natural hair colour is concerned, green tea will not lighten your hair. So, you cannot use it as a hair dye, which is something that many people try to do.
There are tannins in green tea, though, which may stain the hair and darken them.
What Are The Other Benefits Of Green Tea?
Other than improving hair growth, you can also benefit from green tea in other ways. Some studies show that it can reduce the risk of cancer in the intestines, mouth, kidney, breast, and pancreas. Other than that, it can improve heart health by lowering blood pressure.
Moreover, it can lower blood glucose levels, which is helpful for people with diabetes. It also reduces the risk of a heart attack.
It may also protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In addition, it is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antioxidant and reduces the risk of bone fractures. All these properties can help with different health conditions.
How Much Green Tea Should I Drink For My Hair?
It’s safe to drink 3-4 cups of green tea in one day. Still, we need more research to find out at what concentrations green tea can deliver its potential benefits.
It’s definitely not a good idea to down one cup after another of green tea for better hair regrowth. There’s no guarantee that it will prevent hair loss more quickly or do anything else at a quicker speed. In fact, large quantities of it can harm your health. If you’re going to take supplements of it, you should make sure to consult your doctor.
Yes, the research on the benefits of green tea for hair is promising. It may help with regrowth or prevent thinning through different mechanisms.
However, there’s limited evidence. There’s a dearth of studies using human models, so there’s no guarantee whether or not green tea will actually do you good. If you’re suffering from hair loss, speak with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.