If you’re anything like me, you’ll do almost anything to stop your hair loss… and sometimes this can involve trying unusual supplements, herbs or spices.
Cayenne pepper has been rumoured to help with hair loss – But is there any scientific truth to these rumors?
In this article I’ll review all of the scientific evidence related to cayenne pepper for hair loss. I’ll share my own experiences and show you how you can add cayenne pepper to your diet in a way that can possibly stimulate hair growth.
Cayenne pepper has long been used to combat hair loss in various forms. The plant was originally used as a spice in Central and South America in the 15th century, and it later spread to southeastern Asia, Europe, and North America.
It was also used for medical purposes in many different cultures around the world, and many people today still rely on it to treat certain medical conditions.
It was first used in modern Western medicine by Samuel Thompson in the 1800s. In recent years, many people have started using cayenne pepper to combat hair loss, and scientists and medical researchers are just now starting to study this unique treatment in-depth.
What is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper is a member of a scientific group of sweet and chili peppers. Its scientific name is Capiscum annuum Cayenne. It is considered to be a good source of Vitamin A, and also contains some potassium and fiber.
Cayenne pepper is mainly considered to be a spice, and is used around the world in dried form, either as a powder or as flakes. It is known for its uniquely spicy taste, and is often used as an ingredient in many hot sauces as well.
Many people have previously discussed cayenne pepper’s many benefits for your overall health as well. Doctors and natural health experts often recommend cayenne pepper for a variety of health issues, including digestive problems, cold and flu, joint pains, and heart problems.
Because it has been found to stimulate so many of the body’s healing functions, it has been used for thousands of years to treat things like open wounds and sores.
This interest in cayenne pepper among the health community lead to curiosity about whether or not it would work to help treat hair loss.
How Cayenne Pepper Can Combat Hair Loss
While many people have been recommending cayenne pepper for a host of other health problems for years, it is only recently that people have been testing it out as a hair growth method.
Studies have been done recently that indicate that cayenne pepper does, in fact, stimulate the hair follicles to help with hair growth.
Stimulating Hair Growth by Inducing Inflammation
For many hair loss conditions, inflammation and hair follicle miniaturization is at the root of the problem.
Interestingly, a 2019 report suggests a link between capsaicin and the induction of inflammation may be able to treat many inflammatory conditions.
When capsaicin is applied topically, it creates an inflammatory response at the cellular level. The capsaicin will excite the sensory neurons, which is most often characterized by localized burning and neurogenic inflammation.
While it seems counteractive to induce inflammation as a way to treat it, it actually makes sense.
When the topical capsaicin is applied and it triggers the inflammatory response, this sends a signal to the immune system. The immune system will then flood the area with anti-inflammatories as a way to stimulate the cellular healing process.
When all is said and done, the temporary inflammation triggered by capsaicin will cancel out the chronic inflammation that occurs as a result of medical conditions, including androgenetic alopecia.
The use of capsaicin on a regular basis can also cause desensitization. This is helpful in the treatment of many painful, inflammatory conditions.
Stimulating Hair Growth By Blocking Cannabinoid
How does this work? Cayenne pepper contains a natural cannabinoid blocker – in fact, it is one of the only known natural elements that contains this blocker, also known as CB1.
The endocannabinoid system is a group of receptors within the body that manage a variety of the body’s natural processes, including appetite, pain, and many other factors, which is why cayenne pepper is so good for the body overall. But recently, scientists have noticed that the endocannabinoid system also has an effect on hair loss.
When this group of receptors receives cannabinoids, which can come from a variety of different sources (including marijuana, but also many other plants, medicines, and chemical compounds that we may ingest), these receptors can stop hair growth. This has found to be especially true when the body is in periods of high stress.
Because of cayenne pepper blocks cannabinoids and prevents them from reaching these receptors, it can prevent and combat hair loss. Cayenne pepper can be especially helpful if you know you have been losing hair due to stress.
Since cannabinoids are found in marijuana, it is especially important to stay away from any products that contain THC if you are concerned about hair loss. Learn more about marijuana related hair loss here.
Cayenne pepper also contains capsaicin. Capsaicin creams and supplements are actually prescribed by many doctors and herbal experts to combat various forms of pain.
Capsaicin first stimulates the skin and pain receptors, which is why many chili powders are somewhat painful or irritating if applied to the skin. However, the capsaicin then sends signals to the body’s pain receptors to release the pain.
Capsaicin As A Hair Growth Stimulant
Because capsaicin is such a powerful stimulant, it is also very effective in treating hair loss. Studies done by Nagoya City University in Japan have shown that patients with alopecia responded very well to cayenne pepper treatments.
This is because capsaicin activates certain receptors beneath the skin that product peptides that increase the production of insulin-like growth factor I. This is a very important component in the body’s creation of hair, so over time, patients who use cayenne pepper treatments will see an increase in hair growth in the applied areas.
Using Cayenne Pepper Effectively For Your Hair
There are a few different ways to use cayenne pepper to treat hair loss. Many of these are relatively new and have not been tested by scientific research yet, so it is very important to do a small test to see how your body will react to the cayenne pepper before doing a full treatment.
One of the most common ways to treat hair loss with cayenne pepper is to make your own hair mask or hair oil. This is very easy to do at home, and there are a variety of different recipes that you can use depending on the ingredients that you have, which we will discuss later in this article.
There are also a few companies that do sell topical creams and moisturizers containing cayenne pepper that you can use to combat hair loss. There are also some hair supplement tablets that contain capsaicin, however, there are no treatments that are made specifically out of cayenne pepper.
Cayenne Pepper Plus Iron
Many researchers and doctors also recommend taking an iron supplement while you are treating your hair loss with cayenne pepper. Iron has very positive effects on hair growth for many people, and balanced with cayenne pepper, it can create a very noticeable difference in the strength and thickness of hair. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on dosage. Iron supplements can darken the stool and be constipating.
Potential Side Effects of Cayenne Pepper
When testing any new treatment for hair growth, it is very important to be careful and to be aware of any potential side effects.
Although cayenne pepper has many benefits for those who are looking to increase hair growth, it can also be harmful if not used correctly. Do a patch test of any cayenne pepper hair treatment on a small bit of skin a day or two before doing the full treatment.
This will give you an idea of how your skin will react to the ingredient. Some people have to discontinue use because they are just too sensitive.
Here are some of the most common side effects of using cayenne pepper topically.
- Skin irritation – Because cayenne pepper is a stimulant for the skin, it can sometimes cause the skin to become irritated. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin. Start with smaller quantities of your topical treatment and work up to higher doses to safely see how much your skin can handle, because everyone’s tolerance is different.
- Burning and inflammation – This is another common side effect of using cayenne pepper treatments. If this happens, apply a cool ice pack to the affected area.
- Itching – Some people may find themselves feeling itchy or dry after using a cayenne pepper treatment. If this happens to you and it does not go away fairly quickly, use a non-scented, gentle moisturizer to combat this problem.
- Runny nose – If you are using moderate to high doses of cayenne pepper, you may find that you experience a runny nose, irritated throat, or other allergy-like symptoms. Cut back on your use of cayenne pepper treatments until these symptoms go away, and be sure to use smaller doses in the future.
How to Grow Cayenne Pepper
You can buy cayenne pepper to use in your at-home hair growth treatments, but you will get a fresher ingredient if you grow it at home yourself.
Growing cayenne pepper at home is fairly simple for most people, depending on where you live. To start, you will need potting soil, which you should put into a container and water. Let the water drain for a full day before planting.
Then, you will need to plant your seeds roughly a quarter of an inch under the surface of the soil. Make sure the seeds are evenly spaced, and that they have at least an inch of room in between each other to grow.
Then, place your plant under a window that gets lots of strong sunlight. The plant will fare best in weather averaging about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so they should either be planted during the summer, or you should maintain your space at roughly this temperature.
Cayenne Pepper Hair Treatment Recipes
If you are interested in treating hair loss at home with cayenne pepper, there are a few common recipes that you can use.
- Cayenne Pepper and Honey Mask – Mix four tablespoons of honey with one tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper. Apply the mask to your hair or scalp while damp, and then wrap with cellophane and a towel. Leave the mask on for forty minutes at the most.
- Nourishing Cayenne Pepper Mask – Mix one tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder with one tablespoon of olive oil, 20 grams of brandy, an egg yolk, and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for half an hour before using, and then apply to scalp with your hands, and let sit for another half hour.
- Coconut Cayenne Oil – Blend two tablespoons ground cayenne pepper, ½ cup of coconut oil, ½ cup of olive oil, and let sit for roughly two weeks to allow the oil to mix naturally. Apply another ½ cup of olive oil, and then use before shampooing.
You should use cayenne pepper at your own risk.
If you have particularly sensitive skin, it’s probably best to avoid topical use entirely. But you can also test out the mixture on a small patch of skin, such as on the inside of your wrist, to gauge your reaction. Discontinue use if it appears you are allergic or sensitive.
The stimulating properties of cayenne pepper make it a very promising hair growth treatment. In particular, the presence of capsaicin and natural cannabinoid blockers make this ingredient very effective for combating hair loss.
Cayenne pepper is also extremely healthy to use as part of your diet in general, and living healthily can help reduce your chances of hair loss.