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How Do I Use Evening Primrose Oil for Hair Loss?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 21, 2024
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There are two main ways you can use evening primrose oil for hair loss, since it is sold in both oral and topical versions. It has been shown in many cases that using a combination of both options may elicit better results. The oil is also more effective for restoring hair growth in those with certain conditions than in others. For instance, hair loss related to thyroid disorder is often treated with evening primrose oil capsules as well as topical oil that is rubbed directly onto the scalp.

Before using evening primrose oil, you should have yourself checked by your healthcare provider to discover the root cause of your problem. Male pattern baldness is a relatively common disorder that inflicts men, and it is hereditary. Women may suffer from a similar affliction. There are certain health conditions, such as hypothyroidism and certain hormonal imbalances, that can also lead to hair loss. These conditions need to be confirmed or ruled out before treatment can begin, since it is important the your underlying condition also be taken care of to prevent additional health problems.

The first method for using evening primrose oil for hair loss is to take it orally by mouth once or twice per day. You can do this by following all manufacturer's instructions listed on the back of the bottle. If you do have an underlying thyroid or hormonal condition, you may get better results if you take the oil in combination with your prescription, if any. The amount you take per day will depend on the type of pill you purchase and your doctor or pharmacist's instructions.

In combination with using oral evening primrose oil, you may also choose to use the actual oil to massage gently into the scalp. It contains natural and healthy fatty acids, which are highly beneficial for the hair and skin, whether used internally or externally. It can also be used in other areas to moisturize the skin and to help with a wide range of skin conditions.

There are also tinctures made from evening primrose oil. These are taken in much the same way as pills. No matter what type you decide on, start with the lowest dose and work your way up. As with any drug or dietary supplement, consult a medical professional before using it as a hair loss treatment.

Does Evening Primrose Oil Work for Hair Loss?

While there aren't many scientific studies that measure the direct results of using evening primrose oil for hair loss, there is proof that the chemical makeup and properties of the nutrient can be very beneficial. First, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help improve the health of your scalp. It also fosters the growth of new and healthy cells, which may help boost the growth of new hair.

For many people, hair loss is a hormonal issue. Even a minor hormonal shift can lead to significant hair loss. It can be particularly noticeable along the front of the hairline, although it can occur anywhere on the scalp. Evening primrose oil contains phytoestrogens. For some people, these can help restore balance to natural hormone levels, resulting in less hair loss and improved new growth.

Another important component of evening primrose oil is arachidonic acid. This molecule is actually found in many natural food sources, such as:

  • fish
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • red meat
  • algae

It is an omega-6 fatty acid and helps strengthen cell membranes by making them more flexible. As a result, arachidonic acid can help strengthen existing hair strands, allowing them to grow longer, while also promoting the growth of new strands.

Evening primrose oil is rich in vitamin E. This nutrient has antioxidant properties and plays an important role in maintaining circulatory and skin health, among other essential tasks. Vitamin E can also help keep your skin and hair follicles moisturized and nourished. In addition, it promotes damage repair while warding off the free radicals that can harm your cells. With healthier and well-protected cells along your scalp, you are more likely to experience less unwanted hair loss.

How Much Evening Primrose Oil To Take for Hair Loss

Whether using a supplement topically or taking it orally, it is important to follow the instructions on the specific product you have chosen. In general, you should only need to take a supplement or tincture once a day. Most products will contain about 500 milligrams per daily dose. Be sure to consult with a physician before you start ingesting an evening primrose oil supplement, especially if you already take medications or supplements for preexisting conditions.

You can also choose to apply evening primrose oil for hair loss directly to your scalp. There are many products out there to choose from, so you may want to spend some time researching what features and ingredients you prefer. Some can be applied directly to the skin while others may need to be mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. A few can be mixed in with your existing hair care products, like shampoos and conditioners. However, you may experience better results by doing a topical treatment that sits on the scalp.

For a deep treatment of evening primrose oil for hair loss, start with hair that is completely dry and relatively clean. Too much oil or sebum buildup can prevent your skin from absorbing the oil effectively. Divide your hair into small sections using a fine-tooth comb and apply it directly to the scalp, working your way down the hair from root to tip.

Once you have applied it to your entire head, use your fingertips or a silicone scalp massager to work the oil into your skin and hair. Allow it to sit for as long as possible according to the product instructions. A minimum of 30 minutes is recommended, but some products can be left on as long as overnight. (Always read the directions first to prevent damage and irritation.) Be sure to cover your hair and protect your bed linens and clothing if you do decide to sleep with the treatment on.

Once the treatment is complete, simply wash it out and follow your normal styling routine. If you find it difficult to remove the oil completely, try using a conditioner as a pretreatment before applying shampoo. Conditioners can help the oils slip from the hair more easily, resulting in a better clean overall. However, you should avoid using clarifying shampoos and treatments for a day or two, as these can remove too much of the oil absorbed by your skin and hair, and may therefore limit the benefits of the treatment.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you are using a product that is approved for application on the hair and skin. There are essential oil blends and products that contain evening primrose oil that are intended for use in a diffuser, not as a topical treatment. Also, if you are new to evening primrose oil, consider testing a small amount on your arm or the back of your hand first to ensure that it does not irritate your skin.

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Discussion Comments
By ZipLine — On Nov 12, 2012

@simrin-- The way I do it is I throw my head down and massage the oil into my scalp in circular motions. Keeping the head down while doing this sends blood to the head and improves circulation.

Massaging the scalp with the oil on the tips of the fingers allows better absorption. I usually massage my scalp this way for fifteen minutes. Finally, I apply the oil the ends of my hair, let it sit for at least half an hour and then shower. Generally, the longer you keep the oil on your scalp, the more effective it will be.

By discographer — On Nov 11, 2012

I have started losing a lot of hair lately because of my hypothyroidism. Everything was fine and then within a couple of days, I started noticing more and more hairloss in the shower. Even when I touch my hair, several strands end up in my hand.

I just found out about evening primrose oil supplements and I've bought the capsules for it. I couldn't find the liquid oil though. Will I get results if I only take the capsules?

Has anyone used primrose oil for hair loss due to hypothyroidism? Did it work?

By SteamLouis — On Nov 10, 2012

What does massaging the hair into the scalp mean?

Is there a specific technique for doing this?

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