Pumpkin Seed Oil For Hair Loss: Does It Work?

Medically reviewedby Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Pumpkin seed oil for hair loss has become a popular natural remedy for those facing thinning hair and baldness.

This oil, derived from pumpkin seeds, contains nutrients that promote hair growth and counteract Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the main cause of Male Pattern Baldness.

In this article, we explore the benefits of pumpkin seed oil and how to incorporate it into your hair care routine for thicker, healthier hair.

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What is pumpkin seed oil?

inside of a pumpkin showing pumpkin seed

Pumpkin seed oil is an oil extracted from the pumpkin’s seed or Cucurbita maxima. Pumpkin seed oil is also called Pepita oil and is used as cooking oil as well. It has been reported that pumpkin seeds contain high content of carotenoids, fatty acids, and vitamins, which are beneficial for the body as they can be used for menopause, heart, hair loss, and overactive bladder.

The major discovery in pumpkin seeds oil is the ability for it to grow hair in men who are going bald.

Is pumpkin seed oil effective against hair loss?

Pumpkin seed oil can be effective against hair loss. A study found that men who took 400mg of pumpkin seed oil daily for 24 weeks experienced a 30% increase in hair growth.

Male Pattern Baldness, or Androgenetic Alopecia, affects about 70% of men as they age, primarily due to the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT can block hair follicles from receiving necessary nutrients, leading to hair thinning and loss.

However, the nutrients and compounds in pumpkin seed oil, including phytosterols, may inhibit DHT production and promote healthier hair growth, offering a natural remedy for hair loss.

Why should you consider pumpkin seed oil?

To restore hair loss, medicines like Minoxidil and Finasteride are making rounds in the market. They are the most familiar solution to solve slow hair growth problems. These medicines are tried and tested and are also approved by FDA.

However, like every other medicine, these have some unfavorable side effects. For those that wants to avoid taking the unnecessary risk, it's a great idea to visit naturally-derived alternatives or herbal treatments such as turmeric, caffeine, argan oil, and ashwagandha.

And one of the more well-known herbal remedies is pumpkin seed oil for hair loss treatment.

The science behind pumpkin seed oil for hair loss study analysis

pumpkin seed dried

A lot of scientific theories believe that pumpkin seed oil can help prevent hair loss. These theories are yet to be proven though.

One study, published in 2014, researched the relationship between pumpkin seed oil and hair loss. It is one of the thorough studies supporting plant-based hair growth. The study contained pumpkin seed oil and a placebo that was taken by the men suffering from male pattern baldness. The results showed a significant impact of oil on hair growth than the placebo did. They experienced 30% more hair growth through pumpkin seed oil supplements.

The significant impact of the pumpkin seed oil supplement made it one of the top herbal treatments for hair growth and hair loss prevention. Although the study concluded pumpkin seed oil to be beneficial for hair growth, it did make few misleading conclusions.

The study did not experiment with pumpkin seed oil alone in this trial, few other ingredients were also present alongside pumpkin seed oil. The supplement included the following ingredients:

  • Octacosanol
  • Mixed Vegetable Powder
  • Evening Primrose Powder
  • Corn Silk Powder
  • Red Clover Powder
  • Tomato Powder

Results were made only based on male pattern baldness, disregarding female pattern baldness. The test lasted for 24 weeks which was short and did not show any long-term results or side effects. The test subjects were less than 100 men, which did not seem so significant.

Even though the study concluded that pumpkin seed oil was beneficial, it did not state that other ingredients might have an effect as well. However, to some extent, results in favor of pumpkin seeds were still significant.

The quality of this study showed that the pumpkin seed oil probably had very little part to play in treating hair loss or hair growth. Therefore, more studies are needed to make this conclusion unmistakable.

One study found that pumpkin seed has phytosterols properties which help in promoting hair growth. Phytosterols are similar to cholesterols but give positive benefits to the body. They are sterols, a group of steroids, which are found in many plants.

Phytosterols can block DHT that can cause hair loss. As pumpkin seed oil is rich in phytosterol, it might help in preventing hair loss.

Other studies made on phytosterols have also supported this theory. A 2017 study stated that plants with plenty of phytosterol along with omega 3 fatty acids suggested that pumpkin seed can help with hair growth.

Can pumpkin seed oil block DHT?

pumpkin seed oil hair loss

Yes, pumpkin seed oil is believed to be a natural DHT blocker, which can help prevent hair loss.

Though a 2014 study on pumpkin seed oil is debatable, it still creates a link between pumpkin seed oil and hair growth. Another study made on topical application of pumpkin seed oil concluded that it increased hair growth in mice after applying it for 3 weeks. Pumpkin seed oil works as a –alpha-reductase inhibitor, which blocks testosterone to convert itself into DHT.

DHT causes hair loss by blocking the nutrients to reach the hair follicle, which results in thin and weak hair. Everyone has their hair growth phases that go up to 6 years. Having a high level of DHT can make the hair follicle smaller and produce smaller hair until it can no longer be pushed out of the scalp.

Therefore, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors stop DHT from binding itself to the scalp tissue, preventing hair loss. A famous drug, Finasteride, is also used as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor which showed a significant impact on hair growth and preventing hair loss in men.

A recent study, published in 2019, made on topical application of pumpkin seed oil also supported its significance on hair growth. They also stated that pumpkin seed oil works as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. This study was made on mice instead of humans, and again excluded women as test subjects.

The study supported pumpkin seed oil to be used as herbal medicine for Male Pattern Baldness. It also concluded that pumpkin seed oil’s alignment with carboxylic acid, linoleic acid, phytoestrogen, and vitamin E brought health benefits.

Click here to learn more about the 8 best ways to remove DHT from scalp.

Who should use pumpkin seed oil?

So far, all the studies made on the pumpkin seed oil’s effects have used men as their test subjects. This means, that men suffering from male pattern baldness can use pumpkin seed oil for treating hair loss. There has been limited studies on female to give a definitive answer.

Other chemical medications for preventing hair loss has some severe side effects such as ejaculation dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction, itching, and irritation on the scalp from topical medicine, which can make it less desirable to consume.

Therefore, men opt for alternative medicine, such as herbal treatment to avoid any side effects. Moreover, you don't need any prescription to buy pumpkin seed oil. Or, as we mentioned before, you can make them yourself!

If you're experiencing a receding hairline or uneven hairline, you might consider exploring pumpkin seed oil as an option.

How to use pumpkin seed oil for hair loss?

To use pumpkin seed oil for hair loss, apply a small amount of the oil to the scalp and massage it in for a few minutes. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it out with warm water. Repeat this process 2-3 times a week.

Alternatively, you can use it in these forms:

Pumpkin seed oil in supplements

Pumpkin seed oil supplements are gel capsules, taken orally.

The average dose is 1000 mg per capsule and it is recommended to take it 3 times a day after every meal.

Since supplements are not within FDA jurisdiction, their quality and dosage may differ. Always get your supplements from a known company or you can always take advice from a medical expert.

Immediately stop taking the supplements if you get a food allergy or an upset stomach.

It is always best to consult your doctor before taking a supplement.

Cook with pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil is edible and you can take it orally as oil as well. It is advised to take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon three times a day.

This too is not regulated by FDA, hence only buy from trustworthy companies. Their quality and dosage may vary as well.

Pumpkin seed oil can also be used as a cooking oil. They can be used as olive oils are used but not many studies have been done on this matter.

Because pumpkin seed oil for culinary purposes is usually processed, it might have fewer phytonutrients than it ought to.

Pumpkin seed oil has a low smoke point - use it as you would with avocado and olive oil.

How to make your own pumpkin seed hair oil solution?

Here's what you need:

Ingredients what you will need

  • 30ml of pumpkin seed oil
  • 3-6 drops of lavender essential oil

How to mix it?

  1. Add 3 to 6 (depending on your preference) of the lavender essential oil to the pumpkin seed oil.
  2. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Wash your hair with a good naturally-derived shampoo.
  4. Put hot pumpkin oil, but not too hot that it'll burn, on the scalp and massage evenly throughout.
  5. After applying the pumpkin seed oil, cover your head with a towel and keep it on for 20 minutes.
  6. Re-wash the hair with a shampoo and conditioner.

a woman wrapping her hair after using pumpkin seed oil

Does pumpkin seed oil promote hair growth?

Studies on the pumpkin seed oil are still at their initial stages. They may be beneficial for Androgenetic Alopecia or male pattern baldness, but their long-term effects and benefits to women are still not definitive.

The component, Phytosterols, may prevent hair loss by inhibiting the 5-Alpha reductase. However, the research that support pumpkin seed oils as an alternative treatment for hair loss is limited.

The natural components of pumpkin seed oil may help to block the production of the androgen that causes balding or reverse early signs of 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 with an increase in hair growth.

In case your hairline is in dire need of some medication, there is an FDA-approved medication for hair loss treatment. In case you want to try out the natural hair growth therapies, consult with your doctor so he or she can guide you better in what supplement will suit your body.

Conclusion

Pumpkin seed oil needs to be researched more before making a final verdict that it does treat hair loss. Although it is a safe supplement, you might have to take them for quite a few weeks before you see any significant impact.

It does show some 5-alpha reductase inhibitor properties which can help promote hair growth. It has been shown that it can be used for fixing a hairline. The results were significant in the male population who are suffering from male pattern baldness.

Moreover, it is recommended to discontinue using pumpkin seed oil if you develop any kind of allergy, itching, or redness. Consult your doctor immediately as well.

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Formulated to combat thinning hair & visible scalp

    Reference

    1. Cho YH, Lee SY, Jeong DW, Choi EJ, Kim YJ, Lee JG, et al. Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2014 Apr 23 [cited 2021 Sep 27];2014. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/549721/
    2. Freydis Hjalmarsdottir MS. 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2021 Sep 27]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3
    3. What to Know About 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors [Internet]. [cited 2021 Sep 27]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/men/prostate-enlargement-bph/what-to-know-5-alpha-reductase-inhibitors
    4. Hajhashemi V, Rajabi P, Mardani M. Beneficial effects of pumpkin seed oil as a topical hair growth promoting agent in a mice model. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine. 2019;9(6):499.
    Luat Duong

    Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.