Thinning hair and hair loss affects approximately 80 million Americans a year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD. Thinning hair, which has various causes, can decrease self-esteem and may point to underlying health conditions. Oil of primrose, also referred to as evening primrose oil, may benefit hair loss sufferers by improving hormonal functioning, according to Thyroid-info.com. While evidence suggests that there are benefits from primrose oil, more research is needed to confirm the impact it has on thinning hair.
Primrose oil, derived from the seeds of the primrose wildflower, contains high amounts of the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA. An omega-6 fatty acid, GLA stimulates hair growth and skin regeneration, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC. Primrose seeds contain approximately 25 percent essential fatty acids, which may reduce inflammation and improve skin, hair, and nail health, UMMC reports.
Thinning hair and hair loss can have numerous causes, including genetics, hormone fluctuations, hair care practices, illness and nutritional deficiencies, according to the AAD. Treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications, minoxidil, topical sensitizers and photochemotherapy. Primrose oil, which contains anti-inflammatory properties, may help to promote hair regrowth and serve as an alternative treatment option, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Primrose oil may aid in hair loss due to its high GLA and antioxidant content. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids can contribute to hair loss, and lipid containing supplements may improve symptoms, according to the November 2010 issue of "Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care." Antioxidants, such as those contained in primrose oil, protect your body from free radical damage and improve your nutritional status, a contributing factor to hair growth.
Dosages for primrose oil varies, depending upon its intended use, but clinical trials suggest ingesting 6 g to 8 g a day, according to Drugs.com. To help improve thinning hair and hormonal imbalances, try taking 4 g of evening primrose daily, recommends Linda Page, Ph.D. While taking primrose oil, ensure adequate vitamin C intake, which enhances the effects and absorption of primrose, recommends the Monroe Street Medical Clinic in Port Townsend, Washington.
Thinning hair can denote underlying health conditions, so consult a health-care practitioner before beginning a supplementation regimen. Taking a supplement such as primrose oil may mask certain disorders or nutritional deficiencies. Common side effects of primrose oil include headache, nausea, indigestion and soft stools, according to Drugs.com.
- American Academy of Dermatology: Hair Loss
- Thyroid-info.com: Ten Things You Can Do To Stop Hair Loss With Thyroid Disease
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gamma-linolenic Acid
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Evening Primrose Oil
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Alopecia Areata
- "Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care"; Hair Loss in Long-Term or Home Parenteral Nutrition; Suzie Daniells; November 2010