Hair loss treatment: Pumpkin seed oil reverses ‘mild to moderate’ alopecia

Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness

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Hair loss is a force to be reckoned with because genes and sex hormones often drive it. Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth, explains Harvard Health. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes, notes the health body.

Confronting these forces may seem futile but pumpkin seed oil has been shown to help.

Pumpkin seed oil is cold pressed from pumpkin seeds for a range of culinary and cosmetic uses.

Pumpkin seed oil has previously been shown to block the action of 5-alpha reductase – the enzyme that drives hair loss – and to have antiandrogenic effects on rats.

A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study published in Hindawi was designed to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of pumpkin seed oil for treatment of hair growth in male patients with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia (AGA).

To investigate its efficacy, 76 male patients with AGA received 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil per day or a placebo for 24 weeks.

Change over time in scalp hair growth was evaluated by four outcomes: assessment of standardised clinical photographs by a blinded investigator; patient self-assessment scores; scalp hair thickness; and scalp hair counts.

Reports of adverse events were collected throughout the study.

After 24 weeks of treatment, self-rated improvement score and self-rated satisfaction scores in the PSO-treated group were higher than in the placebo group.

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The pumpkin seed oil-treated group had more hair after treatment than at the start of the study, compared to the placebo group.

Mean hair count increases of 40 percent were observed in pumpkin seed oil-treated men at 24 weeks, whereas increases of 10 percent were observed in placebo-treated men.

Other tried and tested treatments

There are other things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress.

But most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.

According to the NHS, finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.

“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women should not use finasteride,” warns the NHS.

Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.

Other treatments include:

  • Steroid injection – injections given into bald patches
  • Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
  • Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
  • Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
  • Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
  • Hair transplant – hair is removed from the back of the head and moved to thinning patches
  • Scalp reduction surgery – sections of scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
  • Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs.

Some of the above treatments may not be available on the NHS.

Additional support

Losing hair can be upsetting. For many people, their hair is an important part of who they are.

“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” advises the NHS.

It adds: “You may also benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums.”

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