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Pumpkin Seed Oil For Hair Growth: Is It Effective?

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Sian Ferguson

Published 05/26/2021

Updated 04/14/2024

If you’re looking for natural ways to promote hair health, you might’ve read that you can use pumpkin seed oil for hair loss. But, you might be wondering, is this just an old wives’ tale, or can pumpkin seed oil really promote hair growth?

Long story short, there’s a little evidence that pumpkin seed oil stimulates hair growth or stops hair thinning. It needs to be studied further before we know whether it works for sure.

Still the current research is promising. It’s one of those natural remedies that is unlikely to harm you — so it might be worth trying.

Before you hit the shelves at your local wellness store, let’s talk about the science behind this natural hair loss remedy. We’ll take a look at the alleged benefits of pumpkin seed oil for hair loss, as well as a few science-backed hair loss therapies.

Before we get into the specifics on pumpkin seed oil’s  potential effect on hair growth, let’s quickly go over what pumpkin seed oil actually is.

Pumpkin seed oil is extracted from the roasted seeds of pumpkins. It’s commonly used as a cooking oil and is known for being rich in:

  • Essential fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties

  • Vitamins like vitamin E, an antioxidant

  • Minerals, including magnesium

You can use pumpkin seed oil for cooking or making salad dressings. Pumpkin seed oil supplements are sold in capsule or liquid form.

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If you browse certain natural wellness stores, you might find “hair growth oils” that contain a combination of pumpkin seed extract and essential oils, such as jojoba or rosemary oils.

But can pumpkin seed oil regrow hair? The research is far from conclusive, but a few studies are fairly optimistic.

A placebo-controlled trial published in 2014 involved giving participants a daily 400mg pumpkin seed oil supplement for 24 weeks. Those who took the supplement experienced 30 percent more hair growth than those who received the placebo.

Promising, right?

The issue, though, is that the supplement used in the trial didn’t just contain pumpkin seed oil. It also included:

  • Mixed vegetable powder

  • Evening primrose powder

  • Corn silk powder

  • Red clover powder

  • Tomato powder

It’s not clear whether a supplement that contains pumpkin seed oil alone will produce the same effects. Also, the study was fairly small, with fewer than 100 male participants.

Another small study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2021 compared the effects of pumpkin seed oil vs minoxidil in women with signs of female pattern hair loss.

Unlike in the study mentioned above, the pumpkin seed oil was applied topically to the scalp.

The researchers found that the treatment produced measurable improvements in hair count and hair thickness. The study concluded that pumpkin seed oil has a “promising potential role” in preventing hair loss.

While these findings are exciting, they should be taken with a grain of salt. The sample sizes for these studies were fairly small, so more research is needed to conclude whether pumpkin seed oil has any true benefits for hair loss.

If pumpkin seed oil can treat hair loss, how and why does it work?

Pumpkin seeds naturally contain chemicals called phytosterols. They’re like cholesterols, except they tend to have more beneficial effects.

Research suggests that the phytosterols in pumpkin seed oil could block an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Ditto with linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in pumpkin seeds.

Without much 5-alpha reductase, your body produces less dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a male hormone that is responsible for female and male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia.

DHT can bind to the receptors in your scalp, damaging your hair follicles so that they can’t produce new hairs. This causes pattern baldness, which is characterized by thinning hair on the crown of your scalp or an M-shaped receding hairline.

Incidentally, high levels of DHT can also cause a prostate issue called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Hair aside, pumpkin seed oil is associated with improvements in symptoms of prostate enlargement.

This all suggests that pumpkin seed oil can reduce male pattern hair loss by lowering DHT levels. But this needs to be studied further before we know for sure.

It’s always possible that pumpkin seed oil’s apparent effects aren’t related to DHT — or aren’t as significant as they appear based on the evidence that’s currently available.

Can pumpkin seed oil regrow hair lost because of other conditions? It’s not clear. For now, the research has primarily focused on androgenetic alopecia. There are very few studies on pumpkin seed oil and other types of hair loss.

In addition to pumpkin seed oil, DHT levels might possibly be lowered by other natural extracts.

For example, a 2016 study demonstrated that saw palmetto inhibits 5-alpha reductase in a similar way, suggesting that it may also be an effective natural treatment for certain forms of hair loss.

You can find saw palmetto as an active ingredient in our Hair Thickening Shampoo, which uses a mix of ingredients to support healthy hair while promoting volume and moisture.

Because there are few studies on pumpkin seed oil for hair loss, there’s a lot we don’t know about who should take it and who should avoid it.

The above-mentioned studies noted little to no side effects of pumpkin seed oil. But that doesn’t mean no side effects exist. You should definitely avoid it if you’re allergic to pumpkin or if it irritates your skin.

Beyond that, using pumpkin seed oil to treat hair loss — whether you apply it to your scalp or take it as a daily supplement — probably won’t hurt your hairline.

Word to the wise, though: Pumpkin seed oil isn’t a replacement for conventional hair loss treatments such as minoxidil or finasteride.

Unlike pumpkin seed oil, these FDA-approved treatments are backed by plenty of robust research. According to this research, both minoxidil and finasteride can slow down hair loss and promote hair regrowth.

When it comes to stopping hair loss, time is of the essence. The longer you put it off, the more hair you’ll lose, and the less likely you are to regrow hair.

So it’s a good idea to use a science-backed treatment as a first port-of-call.

If you’d like to add pumpkin seed oil to your hair care routine, it’s a good idea to chat with a healthcare professional first. They can advise you on whether it’ll be safe and whether you can use pumpkin seed oil along with finasteride or minoxidil.

Our list of ways to grow hair fast for men also shares other natural ways to stimulate hair growth.

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There are several ways to add pumpkin seed oil to your hair care routine. These include taking a pumpkin seed oil dietary supplement, applying pumpkin seed oil to your scalp or switching to a shampoo that contains pumpkin seed oil as an active ingredient.

Taking a Pumpkin Seed Oil Supplement

Pumpkin seed oil is widely available as a dietary supplement. These products are often labeled as “prostate support” supplements — as mentioned, it’s thought that pumpkin seed oil can reduce levels of DHT, a hormone that can cause pattern baldness as well as prostate issues.

If you use a pumpkin seed oil supplement, make sure to closely follow the dosage instructions found on the product’s label.

It’s also important to know that supplements, including pumpkin seed oil supplements, aren’t regulated by the FDA in the same way other foods and drugs are.

This means the quality of supplements may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. For your safety, only ever buy dietary supplements from a reputable source — it’s a matter of health, so it’s really worth doing your homework before heading to the checkout.

Consuming Pumpkin Seed Oil Orally

You can consume pumpkin seed oil in its liquid form orally. Many people who use pumpkin seed oil for its potential health benefits take between one and three teaspoons of pumpkin seed oil per day.

Pumpkin seed oil can also be used as a cooking ingredient, although its low smoke point makes it difficult to use this type of oil for dishes cooked at a high heat. For this reason, many prefer to use it in dressings.

Topical Pumpkin Seed Oil

Another option is to apply pumpkin seed oil directly to your scalp. You can do this with a hot oil treatment, or by switching from your regular shampoo to one that contains pumpkin seed oil as an active ingredient.

As a bonus hair care tip, give yourself a scalp massage while applying the oil. Not only does massage support scalp health and promote hair growth, it can also be a great way to unwind.

When it comes to the topical application of any hair product, it’s a good idea to do a “patch test” on your inner arm before applying it to your scalp. If your skin is irritated during the patch test, rather avoid using it.

Make sure not to get hot oil hair treatments too often, as this may cause your scalp and hair to become overly oily.

Although pumpkin seed oil might have potential for increased hair growth, it’s far from the only option out there if you’re losing hair and want to do something about it.

Currently, the most effective therapies for hair loss are the medications finasteride and minoxidil.

  • Finasteride is a prescription medication that stops your body from producing DHT. It’s specifically used to treat male pattern hair loss. You’ll first notice results after 12 to 24 weeks of treatment.

  • Minoxidil is an over-the-counter hair loss medication that you apply to your scalp. It speeds up the hair growth cycle, stimulating hair growth. You can try minoxidil solution or minoxidil foam.

  • Our topical finasteride & minoxidil spray is a double-whammy, giving you the best of both worlds. Research shows minoxidil and finasteride can be more effective when used together.

We offer minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam online, with minoxidil and finasteride available in our Hair Power Pack.

If you’d like to support your hair health, take a look at our guide to Men's Hair Care Tips to learn more.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

For men looking to stop hair loss in its tracks, pumpkin seed oil might seem like a product worth trying. But it’s important to keep its limitations in mind.

Let’s recap the basics:

  • There’s very little definitive research on it. Pumpkin seed oil may reduce production of DHT, the androgen that causes balding. But there needs to be more placebo-controlled trials before we know for sure.

  • You can use it in liquid or capsule form. There is research on the topical application of pumpkin seed oil for hair loss as well as oral capsules. So far, no research has shown that one form is better than the other.

  • It’s not nearly as well-studied as other treatments. The research on pumpkin seed oil vs minoxidil and finasteride is pretty much chalk and cheese. If you’re looking for rigorously researched hair loss treatments, start with minoxidil and finasteride.

The sooner you treat hair loss, the better. Our advice? Go straight for science-backed hair loss treatments rather than wasting time and money on something that may not work at all.

Want to nip balding in the bud? A good first step is to talk to an expert. We can help you access an online consultation for hair loss, which allows you to talk with a healthcare provider and get the treatment you may need.

15 Sources

  1. Procida, G., Stancher, B., Cateni, F. & Zacchigna, M. (2013). Chemical composition and functional characterisation of commercial pumpkin seed oil. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 93 (5), 1035-1041. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jsfa.5843
  2. Shaban, A. & Sahu, R.P. (2017). Pumpkin Seed Oil: An Alternative Medicine. International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research. 9 (2), 11. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8681145/
  3. Cho, Y.H., et al. (2014). Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014, 549721. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/
  4. Ho, C.H., Sood, T. & Zito, P.M. (2021, November 15). Androgenetic Alopecia. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430924/
  5. Kinter, K.J. & Anekar, A.A. (2022, March 9). Biochemistry, Dihydrotestosterone. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557634/
  6. Zito, P.M., Bistas, K.G. & Syed, K. (2022, May 8). Finasteride. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/
  7. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2021, December 19). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  8. Cho, Y.H., et al. (2014). Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014, 549721. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/
  9. Octa Sabal Plus. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tradekorea.com/product/detail/P291943/Octa-Sabal-Plus-.html
  10. Ibrahim, I.M., Hasan, M.S., Elsabaa, K.I. & Elsaie, M.L. (2021). Pumpkin seed oil vs. minoxidil 5% topical foam for the treatment of female pattern hair loss: A randomized comparative trial. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 20 (9), 2867-2873. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jocd.13976
  11. HonG, H., Kim, C.S. & Maeng, S. (2009). Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutrition Research and Practice. 3 (4), 323-327. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20098586/
  12. Wessagowit, V., et al. (2016, August). Treatment of male androgenetic alopecia with topical products containing Serenoa repens extract. Australasian Journal of Dermatology. 57 (3), e76-e82. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ajd.12352
  13. Finasteride. (2022, June 15). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a698016.html
  14. Minoxidil Topical. (2017, November 15). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a689003.html
  15. Hu, R., et al. (2015). Combined treatment with oral finasteride and topical minoxidil in male androgenetic alopecia: a randomized and comparative study in Chinese patients. Dermatologic Therapy. 28 (5), 303-308. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dth.12246
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 

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