Cosmetic treatment of telogen effluvium with a caffeine shampoo

Conducted at the Center for Cosmetic Research at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy

Telogen effluvium (TE) is the most frequent type of hair loss for women between the ages of 30 and 50. It is characterised by excessive hair loss over the entire head with no particular pattern and is accompanied by the beginning of diffuse alopecia. The cause for TE is an altered hair cycle in which 7–25% of the hair follicles prematurely go from the growth phase (anagen) into the resting phase (telogen). 

The alteration of the hair cycle can have a variety of triggers that occur simultaneously or consecutively. Such triggers could for example be the beginning of androgenetic alopecia (AGA), hormonal changes, stress, medicaments, loss of weight, deficiency symptoms, systemic or chronic illnesses or operations. TE can be differentiated into acute (<4 months), chronic (>4 months) and chronically-recurring hair loss. Both acute and recurring TE demonstrate a subsequent regeneration of the hair follicle, but for chronic TE, there is a continuous reduction of the hair growth phase (anagen) and this therefore results in a shortening and thinning of the hair fibre.

Even today, there is no effective, clinically tested product against stress-related TE. It has however recently been shown that caffeine has a beneficial effect on the hair growth of AGA patients.


With the help of 30 healthy women with stress-related TE, the skin tolerance, the effectiveness in the event of hair loss and the cosmetic quality of a caffeine-containing shampoo (Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo) was investigated at the Institute for Dermatology at the Catholic University of Rome. The trial subjects were of the correct age (18-40 years old, with an average age of 31) and were selected corresponding to the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the trial.

The shampoo was used at home once a day for six months under normal conditions, massaged into the scalp and hair for two minutes and then rinsed out. The skin tolerance and the cosmetic effectiveness and quality were assessed at the beginning of the trial and after three and six months. Additionally, a trial subject and a dermatological questionnaire were answered after the product had been used for three and for six months.


In the course of the trial, no sensitivity or intolerance reactions could be determined. The assessment of the cosmetic properties and the effectiveness of Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo was carried out by measuring the hair strength by means of a hair tensile test at the beginning of the period and after three and six months of application. In particular after 6 months, a decrease in the number of hairs pulled out was noticed for 57% of the test subjects in comparison to the start of the trial.

An improvement in the intensity of hair loss, a normalisation of hair loss, a significant reduction of the hair that falls out during daily brushing and an improvement of the hair thickness in comparison to the beginning of application can also be observed from the trial participant questionnaires. Feelings of tension and dryness of the scalp were also clearly reduced after six months, while itching was only somewhat improved. 67% of the users were very satisfied with the product after 6 months and would recommend it to other people.

According to the clinical trial manager, the hair thickness, the scale of hair loss, the development of hair thinning and the condition of the scalp were improved within six months. An improvement in hair loss can be observed more quickly (after three months) than the decline of hair thinning which requires longer due to the regeneration of the hair root (clearly after six months).


The caffeine in Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo can penetrate via the hair follicle to promote and stimulate hair growth. This study demonstrates the very good skin tolerance and the good cosmetic effectiveness of Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo for stress-related telogen effluvium.

The hair tensile test of hair strength shows a reduction of hair loss for 57% of the participants after six months. At the same time, both the hair thickness and the development of hair thinning improved. Therefore, 67% of the participants were very satisfied with the product and would recommend it to other people. In summary,  Plantur 21 Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo is a valuable preparation for use in cases of female hair loss.

Source: Cosmetic treatment of telogen effluvium with a caffeine shampoo T. Sisto, C. Bussoletti, L. Celleno, J. Appl. Cosmetol. 2013, 31, 139-145.