Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Growth

photo of table with pumpkin seeds in a bowl, a slice of pumpkin, and a jar of pumpkin seed oil

There’s a lot of buzz recently about using pumpkin seed oil to promote hair growth. As with any new health trend, it’s important to understand the facts before you jump on board and start using pumpkin seed oil as part of your hair care routine. In this article, we will discuss the science behind pumpkin seed oil for hair growth to help you understand if pumpkin seeds really contain the secret to healthier hair.

History of Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair

Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various conditions. In more recent years, pumpkin seed oil has become increasingly popular as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic products. Studies have shown that the oil contains several fatty acids and antioxidants which may help reduce inflammation, improve scalp circulation and promote hair growth. However, up until very recently there has been limited research conducted into how effective pumpkin seed oil is for promoting hair growth when applied topically or ingested orally.

Can Pumpkin Seed Oil Promote Hair Growth?

dropper bottle of vitamin oil backlit by the sun

Recent research suggests that pumpkin seed oil may indeed help promote hair growth. Recently, a number of peer-reviewed studies have been published that seem to indicate that pumpkin seed oil may be an effective tool to treat hair loss and increase hair thickness.

 

There are various approaches to treating hair loss with pumpkin seed oil. Some people taking pumpkin seed oil supplements to benefit from the nutritional value of pumpkin seeds. Others apply pumpkin seed oil topically to the scalp to encourage hair growth. There is sound reasoning behind each approach and it’s even possible that both can be used together to have a synergistic affect.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Supplements for Hair Growth

One of the most common ways that people use pumpkin seed oil for hair growth is by adding it to their diet. Pumpkin seed oil is a nutrient-rich oil that is high in essential fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E — all of which are great vitamins for hair health. Pumpkin seed oil can be used to cook in the same way you might use other vegetable oils – although it does have a low smoke point, which doesn’t make it a great option for frying foods.

 

If you don’t want to cook with pumpkin seed oil, it can also be taken as a supplement. You can find various pumpkin seed oil supplement products online in either gel capsule or tincture formats. Just make sure you find a product that is intended for eating, because there are also some topical treatment pumpkin seed oil products that may have added inedible ingredients.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Effects on Hair Thickness

Man checking his receding hairline in mirror

A study published in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, tested whether adding pumpkin seed oil to one’s diet could be an effective treatment for male pattern baldness. In this double-blind, placebo controlled trial, 76 men suffering from male pattern baldness were given a daily supplement of either 400mg of pumpkin seed oil or a placebo pill.

 

After 24-weeks the two groups of men were examined to see if there had been any substantial scalp hair growth. Incredibly, the men eating pumpkin seed oil for hair growth saw an average 40% increase in hair count! The patients receiving the daily pumpkin seed oil also reported significant improvements in their own perception of their hair growth and hair thickness.

 

Although the patient sample size in this study was not very large, it still provides a very promising suggestion that daily pumpkin seed oil consumption could benefit men suffering from male pattern hair loss.

Topical Pumpkin Seed Oil for Female Pattern Hair Loss

A 2021 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology tested how topical pumpkin seed oil treatments could compare to topical minoxidil treatments for women. Topical minoxidil is a commonly used over-the-counter pharmaceutical indicated to treat androgenetic alopecia conditions, including female pattern hair loss. However, topical minoxidil does have some potential negative side effects – which make topical pumpkin seed oil an appealing alternative (if it can work of course).

 

In this study, 60 women with androgenetic alopecia were divided into two groups to receive daily applications of either topical minoxidil or topical pumpkin seed oil. After 3 months both groups were observed to determine the study outcomes. The researchers examined hair follicle health, hair thickness, and hair loss. They concluded that both groups showed statistically significant improvement!

 

The researchers suggest that applying pumpkin seed oil on hair over time can stimulate hair growth in a significant amount of women suffering from hair loss. While the group that used pumpkin seed oil for hair growth saw impressive improvements, the researchers do note that more hair growth was observed in the topical minoxidil group. The researchers also acknowledge that more research is needed to gain a better understand of the effects of pumpkin seed oil on hair follicles.

Effects of Pumpkin Seed Oil on DHT

One of the main causes of androgenic alopecia is a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT binds to hair follicles and cause them to shrink over time, leading to thinning hair and eventually balding. Interesting, DHT is also involved in symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia – a prostate condition in men that may be linked to male pattern baldness.

 

Some research has suggested that pumpkin seed oil may inhibit the production and activity of 5-alpha reductase — an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. A 2022 study tested how effective pumpkin seed oil is at inhibiting 5-alpha reductase enzymes on hair follicles. The study was quite successful, and researchers saw the pumpkin seed oil help prevent hair loss and even encourage healthy hair growth in a significant amount of test subjects.

 

The researchers believe the hair growth observed was directly related to the DHT-inhibiting properties of the oil they derived from pumpkin seeds. It’s worth noting that there are a number of other DHT blocking products already being used to treat moderate hair loss – however, most of these utilize pharmaceutical active ingredients.

Pumpkin Seed Oil's Impact on Hair Follicles

The other studies already mentioned have demonstrated the incredible hair growth promotion that pumpkin seed oil can offer. However, the exact mechanism of action behind pumpkin seed oil for hair growth is still not fully understood.

 

A 2019 study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine attempted to gain a better understanding of why pumpkin seed oil, as opposed to other oils, is uniquely effective at treating hair loss. In this placebo controlled published study, researchers treated different groups of mice with various topical treatments including oil derived from pumpkin seeds.

 

The mice in this study were treated with topical testosterone in order to induce hair loss via the androgenic affects of DHT. Researchers noted that the mice which were treated with pumpkin seed oil had significantly less hair loss than the control group – suggesting that topical pumpkin seed oil had a protective effect on hair follicles.

 

The researchers concluded that the topical application of pumpkin seed oil was effective at blocking androgenic alopecia in this study due to its ability to inhibit 5-alpha reductase, as well its capacity to nourish and protect affected hair follicles. The researchers also suggest that other aspects of the chemical composition of pumpkin seed oil, including the abundance of vitamin e could enhance the health benefits and anti inflammatory properties that this topical oil offers.

Cold Pressed Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Loss

Despite the recent research that suggests pumpkin seed oil may be beneficial for treating hair loss, many people are still skeptical about using it – however, there is mounting evidence to suggest this natural oil has a number of impressive effects when applied to the scalp.

 

Of course, not all pumpkin seed oils are created equal. If you are considering using pumpkin seed oil as a hair treatment, always look for a cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil. While some pumpkin seed oil products are made by heating seeds to high temperatures, cold pressed oils are made by mechanically crushing and squeezing the oil out of pumpkin seeds at low temperatures.

 

Cold pressing pumpkin seeds helps retain their delicate nutrients that may be lost in a standard hot industrial oil refining process. Cold pressed pumpkin seed oil products may be a bit more expensive than standard pumpkin seed oil – but they are more likely to offer the full benefits that these seeds contain.

Other Topical Treatments for Hair Loss

side view of man with brown hair applying a dropper of solution to his scalp

Although pumpkin seed oil has been gaining popularity as a hair loss treatment, it’s important to note that there are many other topical treatments available that can help.

 

Retinoids, Minoxidil and Propecia (finasteride) are all popular medications for treating moderate hair loss in men and women. However, all of the pharmaceutical treatments, including topical Finasteride have potential negative side effects.

 

Minoxidil is an FDA approved topical treatment that has long been used to help treat male pattern baldness. The active ingredient in minoxidil works by increasing blood flow and stimulating the growth of new hairs – however, it’s important to note that this medication may not be suitable for everyone as it can cause skin irritation or other side effects.

 

Other natural topical treatments including essential oils, coffee scrubs and scalp massages have also become increasingly popular for treating thinning hair. Although many of these options lack significant scientific support.

Other Supplements for Healthy Hair

a supplement bottle spilling it's pills onto a counter

Along with topical treatments, many people also turn to dietary supplements for promoting healthy hair growth.

 

Biotin is a B-vitamin that can be taken as an oral supplement and is believed to help stimulate hair growth in some people with biotin deficiencies. Other vitamins such as vitamin C, E, D and various minerals can all play a role in helping to keep your scalp healthy and encourage hair growth. Vitamin A has also gained a lot of popularity as an effective vitamin for hair growth.

 

Since there are so many vitamins, minerals, and multi ingredient supplement products being marketing for hair health, we created this guide of the best vitamins for hair growth to make things easy.

Alternative Treatments for Hair Growth

close up of pink gloved hands administering an injection into a woman's hairline part

If you are looking for an alternative to using harsh chemicals or medical treatments, there are several approaches you can try.

 

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive and painless treatment that uses low levels of light energy to stimulate hair follicles and encourage new hair growth. Other alternative treatments such as PRP therapy and microneedling have also been suggested as potential methods of reducing the rate of hair loss.

 

Always speak with your doctor before beginning any new treatment – especially if it involves medications or supplements. It’s important to be informed about the potential risks and benefits of any product before trying it out on yourself.

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