Does creatine cause hair loss?
Let’s get straight to it:
Creatine hair loss is a REAL problem.
Guys are losing hair from creatine! And there are thousands of guys taking creatine right now without realizing this potential side-effect.
I was one of those guys. I had to deal with creatine hair loss at the age of 22.
I spent a lot of time searching for a way to stop my hair loss.
I also spent quite some time researching the connection between creatine and hair loss, and put all my findings together on this page.
Bellow you’ll find all the up-to-date information on creatine and its effects on hair and my tips on how to stop and prevent creatine hair loss.
If you’re thinking about using creatine, but you’re concerned about losing your hair, I encourage you to continue reading.
But first, let me share with you my story:
My Creatine Hair Loss Story
Hi there, I’m Alex.
I started lifting weights at the age of 17.
I was desperately trying to put muscle on my skinny and weak teenage body.
That was also the time I started using creatine for some extra help with my muscle gains.
I had good results. I put on some weight and I could do a few extra reps.
But, there was a problem:
I was a lot more serious about video games than about lifting weights.
I started slacking off and skipping workouts.
And since I didn’t manage to look like Arnold after 3 months of lifting, I lost my motivation, and eventually took a long break from the gym.
During my break, I became seriously addicted to World Of Warcraft, and played it for 18 hours a day (true story).
I remember that time clearly, I remember how I felt very weak. I could barely stand up straight. But in-game, I was at the top.
Fast forward three and a half years later and I decided that I needed to start taking care of my body more than my WoW character, so I quit the game.
This time I was a lot more focused and a little better informed about proper nutrition and supplementation, and most importantly, I had more realistic expectations.
A year into training, I was getting great results just with the help of good food and the basic understanding of muscle building.
To tell you the truth, I was never a big fan of supplements.
I always gave priority to high quality food, especially when it came to spending my hard earned money.
The only supplement I believed was worth the money, was creatine, and I started using it again.
I started with the standard loading phase of 25 grams split into five equal doses for 7 days. After that I switched to a maintenance dose of 5 grams/day.
Everything was going great. I was loving the awesome pump I was having while training and I started noticing that I could bench 1-2 extra reps.
But something strange happened around the 10th day:
I started my morning like any other, with a trip to the bathroom.
I was bending over at the sink washing my face, and when I raised my head and looked at the mirror, I saw something seriously wrong.
My hair thinned out at the corners of my hair line!
I couldn’t believe it. This all happened OVERNIGHT!
My face immediately turned red and I started sweating like I seen a ghost standing behind me in the mirror.
Then I started to remember hearing stories of creatine causing hair loss, but I never thought it would happen to ME.
I had no signs of hair loss before this happened. My hair was perfect.
To be completely honest with you, I knew deep inside that I would experience hair loss at some point of my life.
You see, both my father and grandpa were balding, but I never thought that it would happen to me so suddenly, at the age of only 22!
I spent that whole day researching the connection between creatine and hair loss, and which products I could use to stop my hair from falling out.
Also I spent quite some time reading stories of guys with similar experiences.
There were dozens of horror stories.
Some guys were describing noticeable hair thinning, while others described an increase in hair seen in the shower or on the pillow.
Here are just a few of them:
Today, I can relate to these stories, but back then I refused to believe that creatine caused me to lose hair.
Also I spent that day analyzing the days prior to my hair loss, everything from the food I ate, to the shampoo I used, but I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
Later I found more stories of guys mentioning having hair loss from specific brands of creatine.
I immediately thought to myself: “That’s it! That cheap creatine from that not-so-popular brand was responsible for all this!”
I was so pissed off that I grabbed the remaining creatine and flushed it down the toilet.
Life started to suck for me. Losing hair affected me a whole lot more than I thought it would.
I felt like I had lost a big part of my personality.
I was so embarrassed that I started wearing a hat everywhere I went so noone can see my messed up hairline.
My confidence was crushed, but I still went to the gym, just to keep my mind off my hair.
Three weeks later… I did something crazy:
Despite everything that happened, despite me losing hair and being almost 100% certain it was from creatine…
…I started using it again.
This time I had bought a different brand, believing that there was NO WAY that this well-known company sells creatine that causes hair loss.
I decided to start slowly, with 5g/day.
After only three days I noticed more hair loss! My hairline thinned out even more!
That was a clear sign for me, I needed to stay away from creatine if I wanted to keep my hair…
This was five years ago, and I haven’t taken any creatine since.
Thankfully, I haven’t lost anymore hair.
I even had some regrowth of the thinning areas with help of hair loss products.
Also, I’ve been checking online for creatine and hair loss stories from time to time.
There are new ones popping up left and right.
I believe that this evidence shouldn’t be ignored.
Creatine Hair Loss: The Truth
In the marketing fueled bodybuilding supplement industry, very few products provide REAL results.
Numerous research studies show that creatine causes an increase in lean muscle mass and strength.
Over the years it has earned its throne as one of the best selling supplements in the world.
Since becoming available in stores in the early 1990’s, it has grown to be a 100 million dollar per year business.
Many lifters have been using it for years. But is creatine completely safe? Or does it have some hidden side-effects that are yet to be discovered.
While there are many myths regarding its safety, there are a couple of negative side-effects that are in fact common, such as stomach pain and diarrhea.
Another one is constantly being debated, often leading to intense online discussions:
Does Creatine REALLY Cause Hair Loss?
Because of the relatively short time that creatine has been available on the market, there are still no research studies about its direct effects on hair loss.
The truth is:
There are dozens reports of guys experiencing hair loss while taking creatine.
Some report having noticed a slight receding of their hairline over the course of a couple of months, while others have said to have had a noticable increase in hair shedding within just a matter of days.
What’s more interesting is that everyone reports that their hair loss stopping when they discontinue using creatine.
How can something advertised as safe cause this kind of thing?
Is this a side-effect supplement companies don’t want us to know about?
Have you experienced hair loss while taking creatine?
Let’s dig a little deeper:
What Causes Hair Loss?
This cool video explains it perfectly:
Most doctors and hair loss experts believe that male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) is caused by the hair follicles sensitivity to the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (also called DHT).
DHT is the most powerful male sex hormone.
It is closely associated with masculine characteristics such as body hair growth and a strong jaw line.
A substance produced by the body to help bring about a biochemical reaction called 5α-reductase (5AR) converts testosterone to the more potent DHT in areas like the prostate and hair follicles, as well as the testes and adrenal glands.
Basically, DHT is a by-product of testosterone which helps the body grow and regulate itself.
Male and female adults can lose hair as a consequence of changes in the metabolism of sex hormones in the body, men more commonly than women.
DHT attaches to hair follicles that are not genetically programmed to withstand certain levels of the hormone. This inflammatory process strips nutrients from hair follicles so that they progressively over time produce thinner and shorter hair; until eventually, they stop producing any.
DHT is the primary contributor to male pattern baldness in genetically prone individuals.
The general characteristics of male pattern baldness are the onset of a receding hairline and thinning on the top of the scalp. These areas appear to be the most sensitive to DHT.
In the more advanced stages this pattern eventually progresses throughout the entire top of the scalp.
Hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT must be exposed to the hormone for a prolonged period of time for the affected follicle to complete the miniaturization process.
Today, with proper intervention, this process can be slowed or even stopped if caught early.
So, How Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
In a study carried out on college aged male rugby players, it has been discovered that DHT levels substantially increased after three weeks of creatine supplementation.
To be exact, after one week of a daily loading dose of 25g, DHT levels increased by 56%, followed by a two week maintenance dose of 5g/day during which DHT levels remained increased by 40%. Creatine also increased the ratio of DHT:Testosterone.
Because we know that anything that raises DHT can cause hair loss, it is safe to assume that creatine can considerably increase the hair loss rate in men with a family history of male pattern baldness.
Sadly, if you have inherited the genes that contribute to male pattern baldness, there is little you can do to prevent the onset of hair loss.
The good news is:
There are steps you can take to slow down (or even reverse it) if you’ve noticed that you’re starting to lose your hair in a pattern that looks like androgenetic alopecia.
Currently there are only a handfew products available on the market that are scientifically proven to work.
Creatine Hair Loss Prevention Guide
This is a basic guide meant to help anyone trying to prevent hair loss while taking creatine.
The products listed in this section are what helped me slow down and stop my hair loss from creatine, and should help anyone trying to slow down hair loss whether using creatine or not.
And while I did experience some regrowth, my hairline hasn’t fully 100% returned to the way it was before.
It is important to mention that these products will be most effective for treating hair loss in younger guys who have just recently began noticing it, or are concerned about hair loss while taking creatine.
But be warned:
If you are seeing and increase in hair shedding (15+ hairs in the shower or pillow) or thinning happening seemingly overnight shortly after starting creatine, my honest opinion would be to avoid any creatine containing supplements while using these products, because it is still unclear if they work to stop hair loss while creatine is being taken.
All of the recommended products bellow are clinically proven to help treat hair loss, and are by far the SAFEST products for hair loss prevention and hair regrowth stimulation on the market today.
Results may vary, these products should be used for PREVENTION PURPOSES ONLY.
Many people experience regrowth, but I can’t guarantee that you will, no one can.
I will never recommend products that I haven’t personally tried.
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: I am an Amazon affiliate for products that I recommend. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link.
Minoxidil (a.k.a Rogaine)
Minoxidil is a nonprescription medication used for male pattern baldness.
It is a powerful hair growth stimulator. It improves blood circulation on the scalp, and therefore oxygen and nutrient delivery to hair follicles.
The effects are most promising in younger guys who are just beginning to show signs of balding or who have minor thinning, but it is less effective in men who are in the advanced stages of male pattern baldness.
“Men who used 5% Minoxidil on a daily basis for an entire year lowered their hair loss from washing (when showering) from an average of 69.7 hairs to 33.8 hairs.
Men who didn’t use Minoxidil experienced increased hair loss or maintained their current rate.” (study)
Apparently there are guys using it to grow their beards:
Minoxidil comes in the form of a liquid or foam, and is applied to the scalp daily. Use it every 12-24 hours.
The treatment must be continued indefinitely, because hair loss will resume and the regrown hair is lost if application is stopped.
Side effects appear to be minimal, but in some users the medication may cause slight skin irritation.
- 6-2 Ounce Bottles
- 5% Minoxidil Topical Solution
- Six Month Supply
- One Child-resistant Dropper Applicators
- Contains Information Booklet on How To Use and Obtain Best Results
Or you can go with the cheaper, 3 month supply version and see if it works for you: Kirkland Signature 5% Minoxidil Hair Regrowth for Men, 3 Month Supply $16.50
When buying an anti hair loss shampoo make sure to get the one that has ketoconazole as an ingredient.
Ketoconazole is a scalp exfoliator, that is also very effective in treating dandruff and oily hair.
It has an anti-inflammatory effect which is shown to stop DHT from attacking and destroying the hair follicle, therefore preventing hair loss.
A more recent study found that Ketoconazole can actually stimulate hair growth but the mechanism behind the growth is still being researched.
By itself a shampoo with ketoconazole isn’t powerful enough to completely stop hair loss, but with the combination of minoxidil it has shown a positive synergistic effect.
These are the best options currently on the market:
- FOR MEN AND WOMEN: This shampoo for dandruff can also help both men and women without the sulfates, parabens, DEA and harsh chemicals.
- GREAT FOR THE FOLLICLES: Regenepure DR is an anti DHT shampoo that contains powerful ingredients that work to remove the DHT build up, sebum, and toxins from the scalp and follicles to make way for new growth.
- SAFE FOR TREATED HAIR: The Regenepure DR shampoo is safe for colored and keratin treated hair, free of harmful chemicals paraben and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SLS) which can cause damage to the hair and the scalp.
- DRY SCALP RELIEF: Regenepure DR helps to reduce flaking. Your scalp and your confidence will thank you.
- THE REGENEPURE LINE: The versatile line of Regenepure products can be used in a variety of combinations to cater to everyone’s individual hair types. Whether your hair is average/normal, oily, dry, or a combination of the two, we have the recommended treatment just for you.
Also worth recommending is Nizoral. I have used Nizoral for years as my main shampoo:
Fresh-smelling anti-dandruff shampoo controls flaking, scaling, and itching.
Fight dandruff outbreaks with Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This powerful shampoo controls flaking, scaling, and itching associated with dandruff. It combines the effectiveness of ketoconazole 1%, a proven dandruff-fighting ingredient, with salon-tested gentleness. Use it just twice a week in between your regular shampoos to control dandruff. It’s gentle enough to use on color-treated, chemically processed, and gray hair, and has a thick, rich lather that rinses clean and leaves your hair smelling fresh.
When Can You Expect Results?
If you use these two products together on a daily basis, you can expect a noticeable slowing down of shedding and hair loss, this occurs over the period of a few weeks up to three months.
Visible regrowth of lost hair is to be expected after 3 months, but is reported seen in 30-40% of users.
I noticed regrowth after around 3 months while using minoxidil combined with the ketoconazole shampoo.
Patience and consistency is key when trying to combat hair loss, so give the medications time to work before you decide whether the products are working for you.
Also make sure you share this page with friends that are thinking about using creatine and have a balding dad. You could be doing them a favor by saving their hair and self-esteem.
P.S. Leave a comment bellow if you experienced hair loss from creatine or know someone that did.
Good luck and take care.
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