Previous studies on pumpkin seed oil (PSO) for hair growth have been demonstrated on rats. This 2014 study demonstrates PSO on human male patients as a suitable treatment for mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia. Read on for more details.
1. The study: methodology and experiment
Pumpkin seed oil (PSO) was absorbed into the body in the form two pills in the morning and two pills in the evening. The participants were randomized into a test (intervention) group and control group (which took a placebo).
76 (84.4%) participants were enrolled. After taking baseline measurements, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the intervention group (n = 37), members of which received 400 mg of PSO (Octa Sabal Plus®) per day in the form of capsules, or the control group (n = 39), members of which received a placebo. Two capsules (100 mg per capsule) of PSO were taken by subjects in the intervention group 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner (total of 4 capsules per day) for a period of 24 weeks. Subjects in the control group were given the same quantity of placebos two times per day for 24 weeks.
One of the methods for measuring success was hair analysis by phototrichography. Other methods included statistical analysis, self assessment, and investigator assessment using photographs.
Hair changes including hair counts and diameters were assessed after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment versus baseline by phototrichography (Scalp & Hair Polarizing system, KC Technology, Seoul, Korea). Hair analysis using a phototrichography was performed by one technician. At baseline, the most severe site of baldness was recorded as target area of hair changes and the center of the phototrichogram probe was placed at this site. After 12 and 24 weeks of treatment, hair analysis was performed with confirmation of recorded target area. Hair counts were then recorded using a ×60 lens and the thickest hair diameter was recorded using a ×150 lens.
2. The findings
The results of the study showed that pumpkin seed oil (PSO) had a pronounced effect on hair growth compared to the the placebo. In particular, use of PSO increased the hair count (i.e., number of hairs) but had no effect on the hair thickness (i.e., thickness of the strand). The increase in hair growth is "due to the possible effects of 5-reductase inhibition in patients with mild to moderate male pattern hair loss". Here is a snapshot of the phototrichography results:
There were statistically significant differences in hair count changes during 24 weeks in the intervention group and the control group (P = 0.004). However, changes in hair thickness during 24 weeks were similar in the groups (P = 0.991). At 12 and 24 weeks, there were 30% and 40% mean increases in hair counts from baseline in PSO-treated men and 5% and 10% increases in hair count in placebo-treated men, which resulted in significant net increase of 25% and 30% (both, P < 0.001) at weeks 12 and 24, respectively.
Young Hye Cho, Sang Yeoup Lee, Dong Wook Jeong, 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. 2014.