For most people, when you think of Pumpkin - you might think of a festive fall decoration or a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, but for me, as a product formulator, when I think about Pumpkins, I find myself thinking about the Pumpkin Seed, an ingredient that is so packed full of goodness but is such a hidden gem and underrated/unknown ingredient in the beauty world.
One of my favorite facts is that the empress of Austria actually issued a decree in the 18th century stating that the pumpkin seed was to be treated as a medicine, rather than a culinary delicacy. So, when I started developing holi (locks) and hair (silk) - I just knew that we had to get Pumpkin into our new products.
Packed full of omegas, pumpkins are a moisturizing powerhouse - with tons of anecdotal evidence linking pumpkin seed to positive effects on hair growth (particularly in men). As well as being incredible for the hair (growth and re-growth) and skin, they are also antidiabetic, packed with antioxidants, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory.
Today we’re going to look into all things hair health and the impact pumpkin seed can have on this. Let’s go.
What are some of the Health Benefits of Pumpkin?
There are a ton.
The pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are:
An excellent source of minerals: pumpkins grow directly on the ground so they are high in important minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and more;
The ultimate free-radical defense - on a constant battle against the free-radicals in today’s society, and the damage they do to our body at a cellular level, the combination of vitamin E, zinc, and antioxidants makes Pumpkin Seed the perfect solution for ongoing free radical defense - both at skin level and on a deeper cellular level. In fact, the minerals in Pumpkin Seed mixed with phenolic antioxidants and lignans make a unique composition that is not found in many other food categories - and so we knew we needed this optimal free radical defense in our formulations for hair (silk) and holi (locks);
- Powerfully anti-inflammatory - high in some acids you might not have heard of (stearic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid) these fatty acids are powerfully anti-inflammatory and have historically been applied to the skin to help with blisters, sprains, strains, and muscle soreness, amongst other things;
And for hair health?
Some of the key benefits are:
- Drip drip drip - ultimate hydration and nourishment - pumpkins are pumped full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content which makes Pumpkin Seed a moisturizing super player in helping you to get the glow (isn’t that what we are all after?). Once we learned this, we knew it was going to be a key part of our newest peptide styling serum hair(silk) - and it really works a treat. It intensely nourishes, without the use of harsh silicones - which was one of Jena and Dara’s key drivers behind creating this beautiful styling serum.
- Helpful in the battle against hair loss: particularly relevant for our treatment of oil holi (locks), anecdotal evidence suggests that pumpkins have proven antibacterial and antifungal properties that help develop a healthy scalp and hair follicles to promote hair growth. Maybe more interestingly though - studies are starting to show that the ingredient can have a positive effect on hair growth and that this is due to the possible effects of 5-reductase inhibition that is a key driver in the hair loss process.
The hair loss claims - let’s talk studies and science.
There are two key studies in this area.
Released in 2014, this study here took the understanding that Pumpkin Seed has been shown to block one of the critical actions that drive balding (the action of 5-alpha reductase). The study used 76 male patients who received either 400 mg of Pumpkin Seed per day (or a placebo) for 24 weeks. The study concluded that the supplementation of Pumpkin Seed during the 24 weeks of the study had a positive effect on hair growth. The average hair count of the men in the Pumpkin Seed Oil group increased by 40% vs. the Placebo group who saw just an increase of 10% over the 24 weeks.
It was this study that really put Pumpkin Seed on the table as a natural option for stimulating hair growth and helping battle hair loss -, particularly when understood in the context that these results are around four times higher than hair growth observed in a similar study (although over the course of 48 weeks) when investigating pharma drug Finasteride.
However, it’s really important to always look at the study in a wider context and acknowledge that Pumpkin Seed wasn’t the only ingredient that was tested in this trial - it was part of a wider array of compounds.
In another study linked here, it was concluded that topical application (so directly onto the hair and skin) showed hair growth promotion and so might be considered as a great alternative for the treatment of male pattern baldness and alopecia.
It was thought that this might be due to the pumpkin seed’s phytosterols that can promote hair growth. These phytosterols are found in a number of plants and carry a tonne of positive health benefits. A 2017 study on phytosterol-rich plant-based oils (like pumpkin seed) suggests these sterols could actually block enzymes and hormones in the scalp that contribute to hair loss, suggesting again that pumpkin seed oil might help.
So in summary?
The Pumpkin seed is insanely underrated. You heard about it here first. For such a small seed, it holds a lot of benefits - not just for hair health, but also for hair loss and balding too. And that? That’s exactly why it’s one of our key players in holi (locks) and hair (silk).
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.