Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, DNP, FNP-BC
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/28/2021
These treatments are tried-and-true and FDA-approved to treat male pattern baldness.
But there are plenty of other folk remedies and over-the-counter options for treating hair loss, too.
Some work better than others, and some don’t work at all. Case in point? Pumpkin seed oil as a hair loss treatment.
Yeah, it’s a thing — but is it legit?
When it comes to pumpkin seed oil for hair growth, what’re the facts and what’s the fiction?
Does it really work, or is it all just hot hair? What does science have to say? Well, let’s have a look.
Pumpkin seed oil is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an oil that’s extracted from the roasted seeds of a pumpkin, and has many reported health benefits — many of which related to its high content of carotenoids, fatty acids and vitamins.
But one of the more recently explored benefits of pumpkin seed oil is hair growth in balding men.
Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is an androgen that contributes to the development of male sex characteristics, and is a major player in male AGA.
However, research has linked pumpkin seed oil to positive hair growth — particularly in men.
One 2014 placebo-controlled study found that men who consumed 400mg of pumpkin seed oil a day for 24 weeks experienced 40 percent more hair growth than the placebo group.
The study was one of the most comprehensive studies of pumpkin seed oil on hair loss to date — but pumpkin seed oil wasn’t the only ingredient tested.
The supplement used contained several ingredients, and pumpkin seed oil was one of them.
Other ingredients in the supplement included evening primrose powder, corn silk powder, octacosanol, mixed vegetable powder, red clover powder and tomato powder.
However, it can mean a couple things — that pumpkin seed oil may only play a small role in these benefits, or that these other ingredients may amplify the measurable benefits of pumpkin seed oil.
It should also be noted that the study also tested a fairly small sample size: less than 100 men were given the pumpkin seed oil supplement.
We’re the first to admit that the science behind using pumpkin seed oil for hair loss is a bit lacking.
The mechanism of action is still unclear, but research suggests that pumpkin seed oil may inhibit 5α-reductase — which produces DHT from testosterone — thereby reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth.
According to several animal studies, it has also been reported that pumpkin seed oil inhibits testosterone-induced enlargement of the prostate.
The studies also suggested that pumpkin seed oil may be beneficial for the management of prostate gland enlargement.
This study also confirmed that the intake of pumpkin seed oil at 320mg/day over 12 months is clinically safe and effective as a complementary treatment for prostate gland enlargement.
What does this mean for hair loss?
Well, as we mentioned before, male pattern baldness is caused by DHT levels in the body. And prostate enlargement is also caused by DHT.
Because pumpkin seed oil has been an effective treatment for prostate gland enlargement, we can extrapolate these findings and postulate that pumpkin seed oil may also work to reduce male pattern hair loss in men.
Of course, we should note that this postulation is an obvious stretch.
Another 2017 study concluded that the phytosterols (naturally occurring vegetable compounds) in pumpkin seed oil may promote positive hair growth.
Phytosterols are similar to cholesterol but have tons of health benefits. It’s thought that phytosterols may block some of the enzymes and hormones in the scalp that cause hair loss.
Other natural ingredients can also have a similar effect to pumpkin seed oil.
A 2016 study demonstrated that saw palmetto works in the same way.
Our Thick Fix Hair-Thickening Shampoo contains saw palmetto to help promote volume and moisture.
The short answer is: any man who is struggling with male pattern hair loss can use pumpkin seed oil.
Pumpkin seed oil may be a natural alternative for men who don’t want to go the traditional prescription medication route.
Prescription hair loss treatments have side effects that some men may dislike. For example, finasteride can decrease libido and ejaculate volume or cause erectile dysfunction, and minoxidil can cause scaling and itching of the scalp.
However, that’s also not to say that pumpkin seed oil should be considered a suitable replacement for hair loss treatment standards like finasteride and minoxidil — it isn’t.
All we’re saying is that it probably won’t hurt your hairline.
Curious about encouraging some extra hair growth? Check out our blog post for other ways to grow hair fast for men.
From topical application to spoonfuls of oil and even capsules, let’s explore the different ways you can consume pumpkin seed oil for hair loss.
You can apply pumpkin seed oil directly to your scalp. In a study conducted on mice, topical application of pumpkin seed oil increased hair growth after three weeks of treatment.
Pumpkin seed oil is sold in oil gel capsules, too.
An important thing to note is that supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA in the same way other foods and drugs are.
That means the quality and dosage of supplements you get may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
For your safety, make sure to always purchase your supplements from a reputable source.
Pumpkin seed oil may be a potential treatment for male pattern hair loss, but it’s important to note that the research about it is still in its infancy.
The natural components of pumpkin seed oil may help to block the production of the androgen that causes balding.
However, again, the research is still very limited, and more studies must be done to further understand how, exactly, pumpkin seed oil may help promote hair growth.
That said, there are FDA-approved, science-backed methods for treating hair loss. If your hairline is in need of some serious help, these medications should be your go-tos.
If you’re interested in trying out this natural hair growth remedy, speak with your healthcare provider to figure out if this treatment option may be right for you. While you’re at it, you can also check out our blog post to find out what you should take for hair loss.
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