So, you’ve tried Saw Palmetto in your fight against hair loss. There are several studies that show it may be effective, especially as a DHT blocker. But what type of Saw Palmetto is best? Saw Palmetto comes in many forms – capsulized, serums, oils, creams and others. In this article, we are going to focus on topical saw palmetto for hair loss. Topical just means that you place the Saw Palmetto directly on your scalp, whether it be an oil, a cream, or a powder.
Is topical Saw Palmetto effective at preventing hair loss? Well, it’s hard to say. Studies have shown some effectiveness, but overall those studies aren’t completely convincing. There is anecdotal evidence from people online suffering from hair loss that it may be effective. Especially when combined with other remedies such as finasteride, minoxidil, pumpkin seed oil, micro-needling, or others. The consensus seems to be that for certain types of hair loss, a topical saw palmetto might help and, given its cheap cost relative to other types of treatment, especially prescription treatments, why not try it? There also seems to be more evidence that saw palmetto works better for androgenetic alopecia than other forms of hair loss. Possibly because of its DHT blocking properties. More specifically, it may prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT by blocking the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme. This is an enzyme that handles the conversion of testosterone into the androgen hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
One study done in 2014 and published in the Turkish Journal of Dermatology showed that the use of a topical Saw Palmetto on the scalp for treating androgenetic alopecia in men was safe. It also found that 48% of the study respondents declared that their hair looked better. Total hair count increased by 11.9%. However, 36% of the patients found no difference when using the topical, so it’s a little hit and miss.
Saw palmetto shampoos could be considered a topical treatment for hair loss, but since it is usually washed off within minutes of application, it may have far less efficacy than other topical remedies. It’s also important to focus on the scalp rather than the hair itself. So, if you use a shampoo, work in into the scalp and leave it for five minutes or so before washing it out.
Oil based saw palmetto supplements are popular and remain on the scalp far longer than shampoos. Many products mix saw palmetto powder into pumpkin seed oil and/or rosemary oil. Just massage a few drops of this oil into the scalp and leave it until you wash your hair.
You’ll see many products labelled as serums. A serum is usually lighter than an oil, but I think most of the supplement manufacturers treat the word serum as equivalent to oil. Either way, they are both applied in a similar manner to the scalp.
One issue with an oil based topical saw palmetto, or any other oil-based supplement, is that it can make your already thin hair look even worse. To avoid this, some people use topical oil before bed at night and wash it out before going to work or school. That way, your hair isn’t an oily mess all day long. A topical foam can be a better choice during the day because it can act almost like a mousse and give your hair some body. An oil will adhere to the scalp far longer than shampoos, conditioners and foams, though.
What are the best topical saw palmetto treatments for hair loss? One of the more popular saw palmetto based topical oils is HAIRMETTO. It combines saw palmetto oil, castor seed oil and pumpkin oil. It has a 4.1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, of which 63% are 5 star ratings. Some users stated, “Believe it or not, it does regrow hair” and “Not snake oil” and “Patience is key”. According to users, it smells good but can leave your hair an oily mess so night time use may be best. You may need to buy some extra pillow cases! To be fair, 9% of the ratings were 1 star. Some supplements just don’t work for some people, so be aware that you’re not guaranteed to see results with HAIRMETTO or any other topical product. Remember that it is a long-term process as well. It may take 6 to 12 months of use before you see any results, but some people respond quicker than others.
Another popular product is Organic Saw Palmetto Oil Serum from Hair Thickness Maximizer. It has good reviews as well at 4.2 stars out of 5, 60% of which are 5 star ratings. It’s an amalgamation of Saw Palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, moringa oil, baobab oil, blackberry seed oil, flaxseed oil, Rosemary essential oil, peppermint essential oil, cedarwood essential oil, and oregano essential oil. And, it will make your hair oily – even when using only a few drops. Some users mentioned it has a fairly potent smell as well, so it may not be something you’d want to use when going out of the house. Still, many users claim it is effective at reducing hair fall and even promoting new hair growth.
There are also some saw palmetto based hair loss products that are in a liquid form and are applied as a spray to the hair. These products usually mix the saw palmetto with other ingredients to make your hair look fuller. However, looking fuller and actually being fuller are two different things. Again, the focus should probably be on the scalp rather than the hair itself when it comes to topical applications.
Another consideration of using topical saw palmetto for hair loss is that applying it to the scalp should result in less systemic distribution in your body than taking it, or something else, orally. Of course, the saw palmetto will still be absorbed through the scalp skin over time and over a long period you may end up with the same level of systemic saw palmetto as you would if you’d taken it orally. But, if you’re using saw palmetto as a mild supplement to finasteride or minoxidil, then the topical application of the saw palmetto might be the way to go.
Overall, I would say that the effectiveness topical saw palmetto on its own is probably a long shot. But, every person is different. Some may respond to it while others won’t. It’s probably worth a try. If you’re trying to avoid prescription remedies like Finasteride or Minoxidil, then you may want to look at pumpkin seed oil as well. One 2014 study showed it to be effective with mean hair count increases of up to 40% after 24 weeks of usage.
As always, it’s important to check with your doctor before using saw palmetto or any supplement. Saw palmetto works by affecting your hormone levels, so it’s not something to be taken too lightly. If you’re pregnant or nursing, use birth control, take blood thinners or other medications, then you may want to avoid it.