Is Pumpkin Seed Oil an Effective Hair Loss Treatment?

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.

Mineral Support

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.

Antioxidant Support

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.

Anti-inflammatory

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.

Diabetes

Pumpkin seeds, extracts, and oil are used to improve insulin regulation in animals, and to prevent some unwanted consequences of diabetes of kidney function.

Antimicrobial

Pumpkin seeds have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties as a result of their unique proteins.

Cancer-related

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)

Pumpkin Seed oil has been used to treat BPH successfully, based on its phytosterol, lignan and zinc content, which is interestingly, what hair loss drug finasteride was originally intended to treat.

Certain types of hair loss

As a proven antifungal and antibacterial agent, Pumpkin Seed oil can be helpful for maintaining a clean, healthy scalp and strong, healthy hair follicles.

In this way, it may be useful in treating hair loss caused by clogged hair follicles, dead skin build up, or some sort of scalp condition.

Male-pattern baldness

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?

Befor and after results of using pumpkin seed oil on hair after 24 weeks
The photos show a positive visual difference after treatment with pumpkin seed oil after 24 weeks.

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.

Diagram of hair count, and hair thickness after 24 weeks using pumpkin seed oil compared to a placebo
It’s clear from the digram that the pumpkin seed oil had a positive effect on hair count compared to the placebo after 24 weeks. Difference in hair thickness compared to the placebo was negligible.

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?

Question 1 (of 6)

How many years have you had hair loss for?
Select the number of years below.

References

(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

42 thoughts on “Is Pumpkin Seed Oil an Effective Hair Loss Treatment?

  1. This is very interesting research, and it’s exciting to see such a substantial increase in hair count. But why did the placebo hair count also go up?

    • Thank you Wendy, yes it’s very interesting. This is great point, there is clearly an increase in hair count for the placebo group. I can only imagine this is the power of the mind, the researchers didn’t seem to be able to provide a valuable explanation. I don’t think it invalidates the results though, if you’re worried about hair loss then taking pumpkin seed oil as a daily supplement is probably well worth it. Thanks, Will

  2. I’ve been eating 250 g raw pumpkin seed every day for the last 4 months and topically using it on scalp for the same period. I’m also taking a hair growth supplement, omega 3 and lot of almond along with green tea everyday. But the result is zero. I consulted 2 dermatologists and got blood tested. Everything was found normal…….Nobody can save hair……

    • Pumpkin seed oil isn’t a cure. Hair loss is a multifactorial problem and that’s why I created the Hair Equilibrium Framework. When you remove all the factors causing hair loss and boost and optimise all the factors that cause hair growth, that’s when you start to see amazing results. No one thing will work alone.

  3. Great article, I’ve been taking PSO for around 4 months, and obviously its hard to isolate the factors but I believe it is having a GOOD effect on my thin hair. Besides, the oil I use it tasty and very healthy, so why not add it to your diet if you’re worried about your hair?

    • I prefer the oil from a bottle because it seems more natural, the unrefined, cold pressed and crude PSO from Ol’Vita (pictured) is amazing stuff. The capsules may be more convenient, since I think you have to keep the Ol’Vita bottle refrigerated after you open it. The key is to take a high quality supplement consistently.

  4. Propecia made all of my hair grow back. The side effects were not worth it though, I lost all interest in women. No libido anymore but a full head of hair

    • Hi Jack, yes some of the side-effects of Propecia can be quite scary and definitely not worth it in my opinion. I would suggest that you slowly transition into more natural methods that I talk about here on the blog and in detail in my program Hair Equilibrium. I have personally found them to be just as effective as Propecia but instead of horrible side effects, the natural method gives amazing benefits such as glowing health, energy and wonderfully healthy hair. My philosophy is that hair loss is unnatural, and is a symptom of an imbalance in your body. Trying to fix the problem with a pharmaceutical can only have bigger, more disastrous long term consequences. Pumpkin seed oil is a good place to start swapping drugs for plant based alternatives.

  5. Hi there. Is your programme suitable for women? I’ve been experiencing progress hair thinning since my baby (20 months now) and not going back on dianette the, contraceptive pill, which I was on for 15 years and kept my hair and skin amazing. Since trying to go natural, my hair and skin is terrible. I’ve lost so much volume along the temples and bits won’t grow beyond a few inches. It’s gone from thick, strong and long to fine, wispy and broken. 🙁

  6. hi there william , can i consume pumpkin seeds instead of the pumpkin seed oil . if yes let me know about the daily dosage of it

    • Yes you can, I would recommend a handful per day. However, since there isn’t too much oil in the pumpkin seed you will overall consume a smaller amount. But a small amount is better than nothing.

  7. I have used both finastiride and dutastiride for hair loss, i have gained 20 pounds both times, lost libidio dht is important at some point in a man body for sure. Also minoxidil made my face swell, not worth it at all. I am using PSO in capsule form 1000mg per day. Lets see how things go.

    • Hi Frank, yes the side effects from those drugs can be devastating. Just remember when taking PSO that this is just the start. Don’t expect it to fix the problem of hair loss by itself. There is much more you can do as well.

      • What i notice now after 3 weeks of usage is that pumpkin seed oil combined with DIM and saw palmetto acts like a mild diuretic, this is a very positive effect compared to dutastiride and the water retention effect and weight gain. I am very happy ok admit i have been paying more attention to my diet, my training as always been on par 5-6 times per week in the gym, but i lost a bit of unwanted weight and my body is getting the beach body look, i love it, i hold on to less water. I was afraid that saw palmetto combined with pumpkin seed oil caps and green tea would have the same effect as dutastiride and i would gain all that unwanted weight and get bloated once again. 1 week after first starting dutastiride and minoxidil at 41 i asked my mother and she told me yes you look bloated tough it was normal aging sagging skin etc…… until i read all the side effects cause by this drug, also soft and no fun erection, low libido and more…… feeling bloated, dutastiride is for real but the side effects are even worst then finastiride since it blocks both forms of DHT. Minoxidiol will get the scalp dry and flacky something i have not been getting since using peppermint, magnesium melantonin and jojoba oil, my hair looks amazing like i put some gel in it but with some serious growth power.

  8. Hey Will,

    I bumped into your webpage today and I must say I really love your comitmment to improving health (let’s call it fitness) and countering hair loss. I do not know where this is going to take me, but I will follow some of your advice. I’ve been losing my hair since I was 17, and I’ve had dandruff since I was 10, and I’ve started suffering from a chronic inflammation of my facial skin and my scalp (the misterious auto(?)-immune/fungal desase called seborrhea) during puberty. During this time my scalp also got really oily for which even my hairdresser knew it resulted from a hormone imablance… That being said, I agree with you these things coincide in too many people so there has got to be a link and a possible cure…

    I just wanted to draw your attention to the first graph depicting the increase in the hair count. With those standard deviations, these graph cannot be statistically significant (I’m a life science researcher).

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

  9. Hi Will,

    Very interesting and informative article! I’d like to ask you what pumpkin seed oil supplement would you say is the most potent & pure? I’ve run into some forums with most folks saying that currently the brand: Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum Pumpkin Seed Oil in 1,000 mg dosage is top of the line. Please chime in and enlighten us! 🙂

  10. Hi Will,

    I don’t know why anybody wants to go looking for these rare and expensive oils for your hair when you have the long tested and proven for generations – Pure Virgin Coconut Oil.

    This is used by millions of people in the east, especially India in their daily hair grooming and as a conditioner.

    Almost all commercial hair conditioners are based on pure coconut oil. It prevents dandruff, a major cause of hair loss and helps in hair growth.

    I have been using it for decades and I still have a good crop of hair on my head.

    • Hi Shafeek,
      Fair point, some oils can be expensive and hard to find – pumpkin seed is one of those. But in this case, PSO can be taken orally and is proven to help regrow hair, whereas the same results don’t apply with coconut oil. However, I still highly recommend coconut oil for topical and oral usage and appreciate your comment about finding it useful keeping your own hair.

  11. Hi Will,
    I stumbled upon your site after researching products for hair growth. I’ve been thinning for a few years now. Thank God no bald spots though!! I’m struggling with trying to obtain thickness and shedding. When I notice strands of hair coming out, I notice a white bulb like on the end (I was told that was a good thing)?
    I’ve seen doctors and tried various hair products. None which seems to be making a difference. I’ve noticed my scalp gets extremely dryand flakey, and itchy that I wash it weekly. I read your article about magnesium oil and I’m interested in trying it. My question is have you heard anything about cayenne pepper for hair growth? Anything you can recommend for a scaley itchy scalp? Thanks

    • Don’t rely on PSO. Alone it will make almost no difference. You need to take a holistic approach and tackle the problem from many different angles. There is no ‘magic bullet’ Remember, PSO is believed to work by blocking DHT, and although this can help your hair, it’s more important to stop your hair follicles from being sensitive to DHT in the first place. That’s a whole different topic though.

    • It’s probably better, because it’s a more natural form. However since the oil is a more concentrated form, it would be hard to eat enough pumpkin seeds everyday. But if you don’t mind chewing through a couple of handfuls then that would be a good option.

    • It’s up to you. However please be aware that you are blocking DHT so there is the possibility of side-effects. You will only get the benefits for as long as you keep taking it.

  12. I just imported the a bottle of pure pumpkin seed oil from Austria. its horribly expensive but let see if it works. Also I suggest to stop all the sexual activity for one year along with applying PSO to see great results. And abstain from any kind of masturbation.

    • Hi Schmidt, yes it is expensive. Remember to keep it in the fridge. Please let us know how it goes. I’d also recommend doing a few other things to see the best results. Consider scalp massages and exercises too.

      • Hello will

        Indian gooseberry is also solid for hair growth. But it’s hard to get it in the foreign country. I have been taking saw palmetto with fish oil, lycopene extract in placebo plus PSO and do rosemary oil and coconut oil massage twice in the week. And I will let you know in the six months. I might go for PRP treatment.

    • The seeds would be a very good option to add to your diet, so yes, I would certainly recommend them whether you can, or cannot get the oil. They obviously will contain the oil but at a much lower concentration.

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