Pumpkin seed oil is gaining popularity as a potentially super beneficial ingredient for maintaining healthy hair and a soothed scalp. This natural component is abundant in nutrients and is believed to aid in stimulating hair growth, potentially preventing hair loss, nourishing the hair, and balancing the scalp. With the assistance of hair health experts, we explore why pumpkin seed oil may be a fantastic addition to your haircare routine, provide details on how to best utilize this oil, and help you determine whether pumpkin seed oil is suitable for your specific hair needs.
What is Pumpkin Seed Oil?
Pumpkin seed oil, as you might have assumed, is an oil obtained from pumpkin seeds (yes, the same ones that many individuals enjoy snacking on). When it comes to hair health applications, there are several reasons why pumpkin seed oil is presumed to be particularly beneficial. “Pumpkin seed oil contains linoleic acid; this fatty acid contributes to a healthy mane while also imparting additional luster, resulting in a healthier appearance and feel,” explains Dr. Matee Rajput, the leading hair transplant surgeon in the UK and the surgical director at KSL Clinic. “Linoleic acid can be found in numerous oils, but pumpkin seed oil contains higher concentrations, which is why it is gaining popularity. It is also packed with antioxidants, including flavonoids, which have been clinically proven to stimulate hair growth by inducing relaxation of the muscles surrounding the blood vessels near the hair follicles.”
But that’s not all: “Pumpkin seed oils are also rich in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin E (α-and γ-tocopherol) and carotenoids — for instance, zeaxanthin and lutein — which collectively make it highly antioxidative, thus making it excellent for the health of our hair and scalp,” says Dr. Jonathan Palmer, the founding director and head scientist at HairKnowHow.
Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Health
Stimulates Hair Growth
One of the main reasons people turn to pumpkin seed oil for hair care is to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. The question is, how effective is it for this particular purpose? “Pumpkin seed oil functions similarly to FDA-approved minoxidil for combating hair loss,” says Tiffany Young, a certified trichologist and CEO at ThinHairThick.
The enchantment of minoxidil for individuals who encounter hair loss is that it functions as a vasodilator. This implies that it enlarges the width of the blood vessel and permits more blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. As pumpkin seed oil operates to alleviate inflammation, it possesses the ability to augment blood circulation — with prolonged and steady usage.
Dr. Rajput concurs that the ability of pumpkin seed oil to enhance blood circulation is one of the primary reasons why it can be highly effective in preventing hair loss. “Insufficient blood flow is a major contributor to hair loss,” he affirms. “When the hair follicles do not receive an adequate supply, it can impact them and lead to their demise, and this is where linoleic acid proves to be extremely beneficial. Zinc aids in maintaining balanced hormone levels, which is why it is also recommended for supporting hair loss.”
In the meantime, Dr. Palmer points out a couple of encouraging studies conducted on the potential of pumpkin seed oil to stimulate hair growth, but advises caution, stating, “Additional studies are required before scientists and most trichologists can fully endorse pumpkin seed oil as a treatment for hair loss.”
Nurtures and Hydrates
Given that pumpkin seed oil is, well, an oil, it possesses the potential to contribute to the health and hydration of your hair. “Several oils can benefit the hair by providing moisture and nourishment — they keep the scalp hydrated, which is crucial for maintaining healthy hair and preventing hair loss,” explains Dr. Rajput. “It is the linoleic fatty acid present in pumpkin seed oil that enhances hair shine and texture. The oil is packed with minerals that are highly beneficial for promoting healthy hair.”
With that in mind, Young notes that pumpkin seed oil on its own may not be sufficient to intensely hydrate your hair. “When applied as an oil, pumpkin seed oil does not necessarily moisturize the hair,” she clarifies. “However, it can create a shield against environmental pollutants that strip away moisture. Water-based humectants contribute to moisture, and when used in conjunction with pumpkin seed oil, they can form a powerful combination for achieving soft and conditioned hair.”
Promotes Scalp Health
Pumpkin seed oil is widely utilized to help balance scalp health by addressing dryness, reducing inflammation, itching, and dandruff. “There is solid biochemical evidence showcasing the potent anti-inflammatory effects of pumpkin seed oil,” states Dr. Palmer. “This is crucial because scalp skin inflammation and hair follicles can contribute to hair loss.”
Dr. Matee concurs that pumpkin seed oil may aid in scalp balance due to its anti-inflammatory properties. “Pumpkin seed oil is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, which help decrease inflammation,” he explains. “Alongside the inherent moisturizing benefits of using an oil, this helps alleviate dryness and restore scalp balance.”
How to Utilize Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair
If, after learning about its potential benefits, you are interested in integrating pumpkin seed oil into your haircare routine, the recommended method is to use the oil in its pure form and massage it into your hair. “You should apply oil to your hair around three times a week,” advises Dr. Rajput, “using one or two full pipettes.
Matee. “For optimal outcomes, you ought to utilize the oil during the evening to moist, towel-dried hair and keep it in until the subsequent morning. Gently brushing the head [in circular motions] with a mild comb or your fingertips additionally aids in the circulation of blood to the head, which is exceedingly vital for robust hair and hair expansion.
The specialist suggests permitting the oil to soak into your hair overnight, then washing your hair as usual in the morning. He adds, “You can also incorporate the oil into your shampoo or conditioner containers to introduce into your normal hair care routine alongside this.”
Pro Tip: Purchase Cold-Pressed, Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil
For Young, it’s important to “select ‘cold-pressed organic’ pumpkin seed oil.” She explains, “It is produced in a way to retain maximum benefits and preserve the fatty acid composition, along with the high levels of magnesium and iron.”
Potential Adverse Effects
Pumpkin seed oil is generally quite safe for topical application, but you should still exercise caution when using any new product. “I would always recommend that readers who are using any oil or formulation for the first time conduct a patch test first,” says Dr. Palmer. “Reactions to pumpkin seed oil are, however, very rare, making it a milder alternative to minoxidil and finasteride, though pumpkin seed oil may be less effective.”
One instance when you might experience reactions to pumpkin seed oil is if you have an allergy. “A pumpkin seed allergy is very rare,” says Dr. Rajput. “Most people won’t have any problems but in the few individuals that are allergic, skin irritation is one of the most common side effects.”
Additionally, if you have any known scalp conditions, all three experts emphasize the importance of consulting a healthcare professional before incorporating pumpkin seed oil into your haircare routine.
Other Uses of Pumpkin Seed Oil
While pumpkin seed oil shows promise for promoting hair and scalp health, it also serves as a highly nutritious addition to your diet. “Pumpkin seed oil is filled with nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that aid in supporting the natural, healthy functioning of the human body,” says Dr. Rajput.
“Fatty acids help promote a healthy heart, zinc contributes to metabolism, digestion, immune function, cell growth — the list goes on. It’s also believed to naturally decrease cholesterol too.” If you like the sound of that, a simple way to incorporate it into your meals is to buy a bottle from a health store and use it to create delicious salad dressings.
Pumpkin seed oil is an excellent natural ingredient that’s packed with hair-loving constituents, including linoleic acid, vitamin E, and carotenoids. As such, it boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help you achieve your healthiest, shiniest hair yet. Remember to be patient when initially introducing it into your routine; it takes consistency to see results. Be cautious of any sensitivities or allergies you have and consult a medical professional if necessary, but otherwise, go ahead and oil away.
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