Many plant-based oils have gained great reputations for their healthy fats and wellness benefits. One of these is pumpkin seed oil.
Much like avocado oil, coconut oil, or flaxseed oil, there are many health claims and properties attributed to pumpkin seed oil.
One of these is that it may help treat hair loss.
Some scientific theories support pumpkin seed oil for hair loss prevention. So far, none have been solidly proven in studies.
A significant study about pumpkin seed oil and hair loss was published in 2014. It might be the most rigorous study on a plant-based hair growth alternative thus far.
In the study, men with pattern baldness took either pumpkin seed supplements or a placebo. The results showed those who took supplements experienced 30 percent more hair growth than those who received the placebo.
These findings rocketed pumpkin seed oil to the forefront among natural hair growth promoters. Still, there were a few missing links and misleading conclusions made in the research:
- Pumpkin seed wasn’t tested alone in the study. It was tested as only one ingredient in a multi-ingredient supplement. This included octacosanol (a plant wax), mixed vegetable powder, evening primrose powder, corn silk powder, red clover powder, and tomato powder.
- The study was short, small, and only performed on men. Less than 100 men were given the supplement over 24 weeks and women were not part of the test group. There’s no clinical evidence of side effects of pumpkin seed supplementation over a longer period of time or for women.
Despite its quality, the study didn’t show that the benefits were owed to pumpkin seed oil. All the same, results were still supportive.
This could mean pumpkin seed oil only plays a small part in better hair growth. It also means more studies will be needed to better clarify its role.
One scientific theory for how pumpkin seed works for hair loss is that the oil’s phytosterols promote hair growth.
Phytosterols are sterols found in many plants. They’re a lot like cholesterols, only they show mostly positive health benefits.
Supposedly, phytosterols could block enzymes and hormones in your scalp that cause hair loss. This would mean phytosterol-rich pumpkin seed oil might help.
Studies on other natural ingredients containing phytosterols also suggested this theory could work. This includes a 2017 study on phytosterol-rich plant-based oils and omega-3 fatty acids.
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There are a few ways you can use pumpkin seed oil as a natural hair restorative.
Pumpkin seed oil supplements
Pumpkin seed oil supplements are usually sold in the form of oil gel capsules.
Follow label directions for the pumpkin seed oil supplement you purchase. The common dose is a 1000 mg capsule. 1 or 2 of these can be taken by mouth following meals, about 3 times per day.
Remember that supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Quality and dosage may vary. Always make sure to source your supplements only from reputable companies for safety.
If you experience food allergy symptoms or stomach upset, discontinue supplements immediately. Always talk with your doctor before using supplements.
Pumpkin seed oil
You can also take straight pumpkin seed oil. You can take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon three times per day.
There are some supplement forms of straight pumpkin seed oil marketed for health purposes. Follow label directions for guidance if you are using one of these types.
Again, supplement oils also aren’t regulated by the FDA. Quality and dosage vary. Always make sure to source from a trusted supplement company.
There are also pumpkin seed oils marketed for culinary use, much like olive oil. These can be used the same way to some extent but are not as well-studied. They also might be less rich in phytonutrients because of their production process.
Keep in mind that pumpkin seed oil has a low smoke point. It’s not meant to be used under high heat. Because of this, using pumpkin seed oil in cooking as a supplement could be unreliable.
Topical pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seed oils can also be directly applied to your scalp for benefit.
These are best done as a hot oil hair treatment, perhaps only once per week or month. Otherwise, your hair could get too oily over time.
You can make a pumpkin seed hot oil treatment similar to this recipe for avocado hot oil hair treatment. Simply replace avocado oil with pumpkin seed oil.
Or, follow these steps:
- Shampoo your hair like normal. Avoid putting product in hair afterward.
- Gently warm pumpkin seed oil with a double boiler. Test a few drops of the oil on the inside of your wrist to make sure the oil isn’t too hot.
- Wet hair and massage warm oil into your scalp. Oil should be pleasantly warm, not hot.
- Once applied, wrap your hair and head in a hot towel. Sit with the wrap on for at least 20 minutes.
- Remove towel, then shampoo, condition, and style.
Although more research is needed to confirm if pumpkin seed oil can treat hair loss, it’s a relatively safe natural treatment. It may take several weeks before you see any results.
Stop using pumpkin seed oil if you develop any symptoms of an allergy, such as redness or itching where you applied the oil.