Recent studies suggest that evening primrose oil may prevent hair loss and encourage hair regrowth by balancing the hormones, encouraging a healthy scalp, and providing the body with critical omega-6 fatty acids. This is great news for the millions of people who suffer from thinning hair.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly half of all Americans will experience some type of hair loss by the age of 40. Thinning hair and hair loss can occur for many reasons, but depending on the root of the issue, evening primrose oil may help. While more research is needed, evening primrose oil could be a great tool as part of a comprehensive hair regrowth strategy.
Read on to learn the benefits of evening primrose oil for hair, and a step-by-step guide to regrow hair by applying primrose oil.
Evening primrose oil is distilled from the seeds of the primrose, a flowering plant native to Europe and North America. Evening primrose has healing properties and has traditionally been used to treat bruises, wounds, skin problems and digestive issues.
Primrose oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids like gamma-linoleic acid, or GLA. According to researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center, GLA can reduce inflammation, stimulate healthy hair and nail growth, and rejuvenate the skin. Primrose oil can promote hair growth by creating an ideal scalp environment for thriving hair follicles, and by treating the underlying issues of some types of hair loss.
To understand how primrose oil can help thinning hair, we first need to look at how primrose oil affects the hair growth cycle phases. Hair goes through a cycle of four distinct phases: the anagen (growth) phase, catagen (regression) phase, telogen (resting) phase and exogen (shedding) phase. Normally, hair is in the anagen phase for two to seven years, before briefly passing through the catagen phase (usually 10 days) and then enters the telogen phase (about three months) before eventually falling out. Shedding is a totally normal part of the hair growth cycle.
In times of physical or emotional stress, the body may disrupt the hair growth cycle and shut down hair production in order to redirect resources to more vital body parts. Physical stressors that can affect hair growth include nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and physical traumas like giving birth or surgery.
While primrose oil cannot help with hair loss due to physical trauma, it may help regrow hair lost due to nutritional deficiencies and hormonal issues by treating the root of the issue. Primrose oil can be effective in treating several types of hair loss:
A diet lacking essential fatty acids can lead to hair loss and thinning. A supplement containing these essential fatty acids, like evening primrose oil, can prevent hair loss from nutritional deficiencies. Hair regrowth will typically occur within about three months. If your diet lacks essential nutrients besides fatty acids, evening primrose oil will be unlikely to provide you with all the nutrition you need. In this case, try taking a comprehensive hair vitamin supplement like Viviscal Extra Strength.
Whether from dandruff, eczema or another cause, scalp inflammation can cause hair to thin and fall out. Primrose oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can sooth scalp inflammation, creating a healthy environment for hair growth.
Thyroid disease is a common cause of hair thinning and loss. If you suspect that you have thyroid disease, finding an effective treatment plan with your doctor will regrow your hair in most cases.
However, many holistic practitioners also recommend adding an evening primrose oil supplement to your diet. Evening primrose oil may work to balance hormones naturally but it’s best to speak to your doctor before taking this supplement to treat thyroid disease.
There are two uses of evening primrose oil for hair growth. Hair loss can be treated with evening primrose oil either by taking a supplement or applying evening primrose oil directly to the scalp.
For hair loss due to hormonal imbalances or nutritional deficiencies, take a primrose oil supplement orally. According to Drugs.com, the suggested evening primrose oil dosage for hair loss is 6g to 8g per day for adults.
To maximize the benefits of evening primrose oil supplements, make sure you’re also getting enough vitamin C, whether through your diet or through supplementation. According to researchers at the Rienstra Clinic in Port Townsend, Washington, vitamin C aids in absorption of primrose oil.
For hair loss due to scalp inflammation, apply evening primrose oil topically. Massage a tablespoon of evening primrose oil into the roots of your hair. Massaging the scalp improves blood circulation, which can also promote hair growth by bringing more nutrients to the hair follicles via the blood.
With either type of application, it will take about six to eight weeks to see results from evening primrose oil.
With all the benefits for your hair, you’re probably wondering, “Are there any side effects of evening primrose oil usage?” For most people, taking an evening primrose oil supplement has very few side effects, though some people may experience nausea, headaches or stomach pain.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult with a doctor before taking an evening primrose oil supplement. Anyone diagnosed with epilepsy or another seizure-inducing condition should avoid evening primrose oil supplements, as should anyone taking a blood-thinning medication.
Topical application of evening primrose oil may result in itchiness or a rash at the application site. As with any new topical product, you should patch test a small area of skin before applying.
Remember, thinning hair and hair loss can be symptoms of an underlying medical condition. If you’re concerned about your hair loss, consult with your doctor before beginning treatment on your own.
While studies suggest that there are certainly benefits of primrose oil for hair, it’s not 100% proven. If you try evening primrose oil, we suggest using it as part of an overall hair growth strategy that also includes a follicle-nourishing supplement like Viviscal Extra Strength.
Have you tried primrose oil? Share your evening primrose oil results in the comments!