The pumpkin belongs to a class of winter squash which is round, ribbed, with a shell that is typically yellowish to deep orange in color in its ripe form. The seeds of the pumpkin are contained in its pulp. Pumpkin seed oil is produced by roasting the seeds and then pressing them to extract the oil. Aside from culinary uses, the oil is recognized for many health benefits, including diabetes, anxiety, and cancer. Even the World Health Organization recommends pumpkin seeds as a rich, viable source of zinc. Pumpkin seed oil has potent antioxidant properties and an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Is it possible that pumpkin seed oil for hair can actually produce real benefits? Here is what scientists are finding
Will Pumpkin Seed Oil Help Hair Regrow? What the Research Says
A group of researchers at Pusan National University in South Korea studied pumpkin seed oil in men with male pattern baldness. One of their experiment’s general goals was to see if pumpkin oil could provide a safer and more natural alternative to synthetic drugs for hair loss.
Seventy-six male participants, ages 18-65, with moderate degrees of hair loss, took part in this research. They were diagnosed with levels Norwood 2-5. The subjects were asked to stop taking any drugs or supplements for treating their baldness for three months.
The researchers divided the participants into two groups. One group was given a placebo containing sweet potato starch. Members of the other group were given oral gel capsules containing 400mg of pumpkin seed oil. They were instructed to take two capsules in the morning and two in the evening before their meals.
Does Pumpkin Seed Oil for the Hair Work?
The researchers followed up with the subjects at three months and again at six months to see if hair growth resulted from the pumpkin seed oil treatment protocol. They used three methods of assessing improvements.
1. Photo evaluations by researchers
Researchers were shown before and after photos of each subject in a blind practitioner analysis and asked to rate the hair loss condition on a scale of -3 to +3. -3 represented a greatly decreased hair loss change. +3 represented a greatly increased hair loss change. They were not given information on whether the participant had taken the placebo or the pumpkin seed oil.
2. Measuring the span of the bald regions
The researchers used a technology called phototrichography, which takes photos of the bald areas and provides measurements from the central. This method helps to quantify the areas of hair loss objectively.
3. Visual self-evaluations by the participants
The participants themselves were asked to rate their hair growth using the visual analog scale (VAS).
Pumpkin Seed Oil Hair Growth Results
Based on the three methods of assessing hair growth changes, the researchers at Pusan found that treatment with pumpkin seed oil significantly outperformed the placebo.
The scientists noted the following percentages in the subjects who took the pumpkin seed oil capsules:
- 44% displayed moderate or slight improvements in hair growth
- 51% did not show signs of any changes
- 2.7% had more hair loss than before
The placebo group produced these results:
- Only 7.7% experienced moderate or slight improvements, compared to the 44% percent in the group who took the pumpkin seed oil
- 64% did not show any changes
- 28% displayed more hair loss, compared to before the treatment
How Does Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Actually Work?
Pumpkin seed oil contains high concentrations of phytosterol beta-sitosterol. This compound can block the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, preventing testosterone from breaking down into a byproduct called DHT.
Because of their genetics, men with androgenic alopecia are born with hair follicles with sensitive DHT protein receptors. The binding of DHT to these structures will prompt a chain reaction that causes the follicles to miniaturize.
When pumpkin seed oil is taken orally, it undergoes numerous processes that involve the digestive and circulatory system before it reaches the hair follicles. It may be possible to produce a more direct effect by topically applying pumpkin seed oil to the scalp. For topical treatments to work, their active ingredients must reach deeper skin layers. The use of natural skin penetration enhancers can potentially help improve the effectiveness of topical agents. Further studies are needed to evaluate further the topical use of pumpkin seed oil to treat hair loss.
Frequently Asked Questions – The Use of Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Growth
Can pumpkin seed oil treat baldness?
A possible role for Pumpkin seed oil in hair loss has received some support based on the findings of the Pusan University study. However, further research is needed before it can actually be regarded as an official treatment for baldness. It should be noted that the participants of the pumpkin oil study were diagnosed as Norwood 2 stages up to Norwood 5. Usually, earlier hair loss levels have a greater potential for experiencing improvements. This is because the follicles have not completely miniaturized. And it may be possible to restore their hair growth processes.
Additional research is needed to see if pumpkin seed oil may be more effective for milder forms of hair loss than mid-stage cases.
If I wonder how to use pumpkin seed oil for hair loss, should I consider applying it to my scalp or taking it in capsule form?
If you are interested in taking pumpkin seed oil, you should do so with the intent of improving your general health. Although the Pusan study notes positive findings, pumpkin seed oil has yet to be officially considered a bona fide treatment for hair loss.
Applying pumpkin seed oil directly to the scalp is not likely to produce any significant improvements in your hair loss condition without using an enhancer to improve skin penetration. It would be important to formulate the right balance, which would not be feasible through simple DIY approaches.