Did you know that pumpkin seed oil has been clinically proven to improve hair count and hair thickness after 24 weeks in people with hair loss problems?
In this article I’m going to discuss these studies, and show you exactly how you too can regrow your hair with pumpkin seed oil.
I’ll break down those case studies and offer homemade recipes and mixtures you can try yourself to start using this amazing oil.
First lets take a quick look at what causes pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia – AGA) in the first place.
AGA is estimated to affect about 50 million men in the US. It generally begins with hair loss at the temples, continues on around the crown, and eventually leads to total baldness.
AGA is caused by a genetic predisposition. The principal androgen believed to be associated with it is dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
It is thought that when DHT levels increase in hair follicles, the hair’s growth cycle is shortened, and new hair growth is delayed. Over time, the hair follicles completely stop growing new hair.
The pharmaceutical treatment options for AGA are Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Minoxidil, commercially known as Rogaine, is a topical treatment that stimulates the hair follicles.
It has been shown to be moderately effective and takes quite a long time to work.
It also causes shedding initially.
Finasteride, marketed as Propecia and Proscar is a pill that works by binding to the enzyme that would otherwise convert free testosterone to DHT.
It is somewhat more effective than Minoxidil. Both Minoxidil and Finasteride can have adverse side effects.
Both pharmaceutical options are expensive, require prescriptions and have potential adverse side effects.
The possibility that an inexpensive, natural substance like Pumpkin Seed could be an alternative remedy for AGA would certainly seem to justify all the fuss if it actually works.
The intent of this article is to present all the relevant facts so that consumers can make an informed decision as to whether this claim has any merit and, if so, how to use it to achieve the desired results.
We will get there by answering the following questions:
- What is Pumpkin Seed oil?
- What does Pumpkin Seed oil do?
- What does science have to say about it?
- Are there side effects?
- How do you use Pumpkin Seed oil?
- What’s the bottom line?
Important: If you’re wondering “will pumpkin seed oil work for me?” then I recommend you take the 6 part quiz I’ve created at the bottom of this page. Find out if your type of hair loss is reversible.
What Is Pumpkin Seed Oil?
Pumpkin seed (cucurbita pepo) oil is obtained by expeller-pressing toasted, hulled pumpkin seeds. It is a rich source of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, minerals, and more. It is also a long-time foodie favorite for its nutty aroma and flavor.
Aside from being a delicious edible plant (it’s officially a fruit, by the way) and making a darned good pie, pumpkin is also known to have substantial medicinal properties including anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and others.
Interesting fact: Pumpkin Seed oil has been highly valued for its healing properties ever since it was first produced in Austria back in the seventeenth century.
As a matter of fact, in March 1773 Austrian Empress Maria Theresa issued a legal edict which stipulated,
“This healthy oil is unique and much too precious for using it in tasty meals and therefore should rather be used as a medicine. So it shall not be used as a culinary delicacy anymore but shall be collected and distributed only by the apothecaries.”
…and thus it was decreed.
Today, Pumpkin Seed oil is used to treat all sorts of issues and conditions, from prostate function problems to high cholesterol to arthritis to diabetes (is there a link between diabetes and baldness?). It also tastes heavenly on a salad.
What Does Pumpkin Seed Oil Do For Hair?
There are a lot of health benefits attributed to Pumpkin Seed oil, most of which have nothing to do with hair loss. The following is a summary of the main health uses of Pumpkin Seed oil, including the conditions that it is used to treat.
Pumpkins, like all plants that have a close relationship to the soil, are an excellent source of mineral nutrients.
Pumpkin seeds, extracts, and oil are all very good sources of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium (learn more about magnesium oil), manganese, and copper and good sources of the minerals zinc and iron.
Pumpkin seeds have a broad diversity of antioxidants. For example, they contain a wide variety of forms of Vitamin E, two of which have only recently been discovered.
They also contain mineral antioxidants, (much like evening primrose oil) phenolic antioxidants, and lignans. This diverse mixture of antioxidants imbues Pumpkin Seeds with antioxidant-related properties that are not widely found in other foods.
Fatty acids isolated from Pumpkin Seed oil have been used in medicine for their anti-inflammatory properties, and include mainly linoleic, followed by oleic, palmitic and stearic acid.
The people of Central America and India rub the oil extracted from the seeds of pumpkin on herpes sores, venereal sores, acne vulgaris and stubborn leg ulcers which refuse to heal.
Pumpkin leaves are also applied as a poultice on sprains and pulled ligaments.
Pumpkin seeds, extracts, and oil are used to improve insulin regulation in animals, and to prevent some unwanted consequences of diabetes of kidney function.
Pumpkin seeds have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties as a result of their unique proteins.
Pumpkin seeds are unique in their composition of antioxidant nutrients, which can decrease oxidative stress association with the development of some cancers.
Additionally, the lignan content of pumpkin seeds could play a role in treating breast and prostate cancer.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Certain types of hair loss
Pumpkin Seed oil may be helpful in treating Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), also known as male-pattern baldness.
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What Does Science Have to Say About Pumpkin Seed Oil?
In other words, is Pumpkin Seed oil really an effective treament for male-pattern baldness?
In 2014, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (1) published the results of a clinical research study that investigated the efficacy of Pumpkin Seed Oil (PSO) as a treatment for Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA).
This was the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to study this issue. The 24-week trial included 76 male subjects with mild to moderate AGA.
Half were given a daily supplement of PSO in the form of a 400 mg capsule. The other half were given a placebo.
The researchers used a process known as phototrichography to analyze hair changes, including hair counts and diameters.
Hair analysis was performed at the start of the trial to establish a baseline, after 12 weeks of treatment, and again after 24 weeks of treatment.
The results, shown in the two tables below, show that the PSO treatment group had significant increases in hair count over the placebo group.
The differences in hair thickness were negligible.
As a result of their study, the researchers were able to conclude that taking a PSO supplement for 24 weeks has a positive anabolic effect on hair growth in patients with mild to moderate AGA. They believed this could be due to the possible effects of 5-reductase inhibition.
Are There Side Effects?
According to the University of Michigan Health System (2), Pumpkin Seed oil has no reported side effects.
However, it has been speculated that Pumpkin Seed oil might have a diuretic effect. Thus, taking a Pumpkin Seed oil supplement might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium.
This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects.
Finally, it is important to note that any natural remedy can cause an allergic reaction in some people, and this holds true for Pumpkin Seed oil as well.
Signs of an allergic reaction to Pumpkin Seed oil listed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference may include breathing problems, tightness in the chest or throat, chest pain, hives or rash and itchy or swollen skin. Any of these reactions should be treated as a medical emergency.
Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take any supplement without consulting their doctor.
How Do You Use Pumpkin Seed Oil On Your Hair?
For use in maintaining a healthy scalp, Pumpkin Seed oil should be massaged into the scalp with some type of carrier oil such as olive oil and then left in overnight.
It has been suggested that this should be repeated at least twice a week for a minimum of two months before expecting to see results.
For treatment of AGA, Pumpkin Seed oil is ingested orally as a supplement. Pumpkin Seed oil (curcurbita pepo) supplements are widely available online, and at drug stores, grocery stores, nutrition specialty stores and the like. They are packaged as capsules or soft gel caps.
Dosages range from 500 to 1000 mg. Prices typically range from 15 cents to 35 cents per unit, depending of course on the dosage, brand, and quantity purchased.
Individuals deciding which supplement to buy should look for those containing pure, unrefined, organic Pumpkin Seed oil that has been expeller-pressed.
A recommended dosage for the particular treatment of AGA has not been defined.
The way I take it is by adding a nice dollop of oil to my morning smoothie. This way its gets mixed in with all the other lovely ingredients and absorbs easily into your body. It also helps me to not forget to take it everyday.
What’s the Bottom Line?
There is promising scientific evidence to support the use of Pumpkin Seed Oil supplements to treat mild to moderate AGA, also known as male-pattern baldness.
However, there has been only one trial, and much more research needs to be done to verify its results and identify a recommended dosage.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
(1) Aisle7. Pumpkin. University of Michigan Health System. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2151005#hn-2151005-interactions. Published June 6, 2015. Accessed June 16, 2016.
Hair growth and rejuvenation: an overview. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20536276
Finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride Male Pattern Hair Loss Study Group. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9777765
Male pattern baldness: classification and incidence. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1188424