Just like many folks around the world, you too are perhaps suffering from hair loss and living with male pattern baldness. You may have heard of two FDA approved medications – Finasteride and Minoxidil – both of which can help prevent hair loss. If you would like to learn more about these specifically, you should definitely ask a hair loss expert.
Irrespective what you feel about medications, you should still be taking measures towards hair care in as many natural ways as possible. This is where Saw Palmetto comes in. In fact, believe it or not, Saw Palmetto is showing promising results in similar lines as the above medications offer. Let us explain.
One caveat. If you need to regrow permanent hair in areas of balding, none of the above will help. The only solution for this problem is a hair transplant surgery.
What is Saw Palmetto?
Put simply, Saw Palmetto (also called Serenoa repens) is a type of palm tree but with a twist. Unlike the traditional palm trees, you may be imagining, Saw Palmetto is much shorter and shrub-like. Saw Palmetto plants have berries, which produce an extract, of which approximately 90% is fatty acids and sterols (a type of lipid).
Saw Palmetto has been used by Native Americans as medicine and food for hundreds of years. There’s evidence that this herbal remedy may treat an enlarged prostate, bladder infections, prostate cancer, and decreased sex drive.
What are the benefits of using Saw Palmetto on your hair?
Research on the efficacy of Saw Palmetto works to treat hair loss is limited but promising. An extract of Saw Palmetto berries may block 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. DHT is the molecule responsible for hair loss. In fact, the components of Saw Palmetto that block the enzyme work in a similar way as synthetic ingredients in prescription medication for hair loss.
One study concluded that using Saw Palmetto extract significantly encouraged hair growth and lessened inflammation. This is important because inflammation can damage hair follicles. In another study, 48% of participants experienced hair growth.
Does Saw Palmetto really work in treating hair loss?
The existing studies show Finasteride has better success rates. Researchers found that Finasteride worked to stop hair loss for 68% of surveyed participants while Saw Palmetto extract boosted hair growth in 38%. However in this study, medication was more effective in the individuals who had less advanced male pattern baldness.
What forms does Saw Palmetto comes in (and what’s best for your hair)?
Saw Palmetto comes in several different forms, including oral and topical. Saw Palmetto extract can be applied directly by using it in its serum form or buying a natural shampoo or lotion which includes it as an ingredient. In a slightly larger study with 62 men and women, applying Saw Palmetto-infused shampoo or lotion for three months increased hair density by 35%.
Saw Palmetto is also available in capsule form, though you should definitely consult with your doctor before starting any type of supplements.
As of now, there’s not enough proof that Saw Palmetto prevents hair loss. Despite this, it can certainly help you keep your hair strong and healthy. If you’re looking for additional natural ingredients, try caffeine, green tea, and biotin. And, if you want to go the medication route to prevent your hair loss in addition to keeping it looking its best, talk to a doctor about Finasteride and Minoxidil.