New research has shown that sesame oil may be an effective way to speed up hair growth and prevent hair loss.
This article will discuss the use of sesame oil for hair loss in everyday situations and review all scientific evidence on the topic. At the end of the article, you will learn about the simple ways you can use sesame oil for hair growth.
What Is Sesame Oil?
Extracted from the seeds found within the Sesamum Indicum plant, sesame oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids and antioxidants (1). This makes it popular for use in cooking, massage, and cosmetics.
This delicious oil, favored in the kitchen for its high smoke point and loved for its nutty flavor, has a number of uses beyond stir-fries and noodles, including uses which are medicinal and therapeutic in nature. For this reason, more and more people are coming to know about sesame oil’s various applications and provided benefits. This includes the use of sesame oil for hair growth.
Sesame Oil Around the World
A plant native to the African continent and Indian subcontinent, sesame seeds and their accompanying oil have been used extensively in the East.
From scalp and full body massage to oil pulling, Eastern medicine has utilized sesame seed oil and its many benefits for over 5000 years. And, even though it tends to be higher in price than other vegetable oils, it is more commonly favored in the East due to its wide range of uses and applications.
Fun fact: Sesame oil is a highly stable oil and is also an oil with one of the longest shelf lives. This makes it highly desired throughout the world, for its use in the kitchen and out.
In the West, sesame is commonly used in seed form as a topping for buns and other confectioneries. However, just as in the East, the sesame plant’s oil is also commonly used in the cooking of foods which require high heat and is used more often than not in Asian cuisine throughout the Western hemisphere.
What Are the General Health Benefits of Sesame Oil?
Since sesame oil has been revered for so many centuries, it is obvious there are a number of benefits associated with its use. The following list provides a basic summary of the health benefits linked to the use of sesame oil and the conditions it’s commonly used to treat.
Sesame oil has a number of properties that make it a natural and effective anti-inflammatory.
In 2015, Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine published a clinical study in which 150 patients with upper or lower extremities trauma were separated into two groups of 75 (3). One group received routine care, while the other group received routine care with the addition of topical application of sesame oil to the affected area.
At the end of the study, it was found that patients who received sesame oil applications and massage rated their pain lower than those who only received routine care, and they also required less use of NSAIDs to deal with accompanying pain and inflammation.
If you want to prevent further signs of aging, and even reverse cellular damage that has been done over time, then foods that are high in antioxidants should be on your priority list.
Sesame oil is a food source that is high in antioxidants, and studies have shown that it can be helpful in preventing aging, graying of hair, and even hair loss (4).
Cardiac Damage Protection
The nutrients and antioxidants found within sesame oil have been proven to protect the heart from damage (5). They may even be useful in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Research shows that the minerals and fatty acids found in sesame oil are highly effective at inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells (6). Further, sesame oil contains a fatty acid, known as lineolate, which has been shown to limit the growth of skin cancer cells (7).
Move over coconut oil, because sesame oil is the latest and greatest when it comes to moisturizing and conditioning skin and hair. As a highly absorbent oil, sesame provides a fantastic cure for dry and cracked skin, and it can even be used as a preventative for dandruff.
Sesame oil is high in Vitamin E (and tocopherols), a vitamin commonly used to speed the process of healing and lighten the appearance of scars and pockmarks.
Exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays can cause quite a lot of damage to your scalp and hair follicles. Properties found within sesame oil, however, have been shown to protect the scalp and hair from up to 30 percent of UV rays (8).
Sesame Oil Components
It is impossible to discuss the benefits and uses of sesame oil without mentioning its components. These components are what contribute to its nutritional benefits, after all.
Sesame oil is composed of various fatty acids, including linoleic acid (44.84%), oleic acid (39.46%), palmitic acid (9.02%), and palmitoleic acid (5.16%) (R). It contains other fatty acids in smaller amounts.
Fatty acids are a vital component of a healthy, balanced diet (R). They can also provide benefits when applied topically. Aside from essential fatty acids, sesame seed oil also contains components like tocopherols and lignans (e.g. sesamin and sesamolin). These, too, have numerous health benefits including hair growth.
What Can Sesame Oil Do for People With Hair Loss?
While the benefits associated with sesame oil mentioned above are all well and good, what does all of this mean for hair loss sufferers, and how can sesame oil help to prevent further hair loss and even accelerate hair growth?
Well, for individuals who suffer from Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), it has long been known that dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the hormone most commonly associated with male pattern baldness.
There are a number of chemicals and compounds which have been effective in preventing the synthesis of DHT, and one such compound, which also happens to be found in sesame seed oil, are phytoestrogens and phytosterols.
DHT is synthesized from testosterone when a pesky little enzyme, known as 5-α-Reductase, comes into contact with it.
It has been shown, however, that phytosterols, which can be found in sesame seed oil, canola oil, olive oil, and the like, have the ability to lower the amount of 5-α-Reductase in the liver by up to 44 percent and in the prostate by up to 33 percent (9).
Simply put, the smaller the amount of 5-α-Reductase in the body, the smaller the amount of DHT being produced.
This is great news for those with AGA, or who suffer from other problems related to production of DHT, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
What Does the Research Have to Say About Sesame Oil for Hair Growth?
You now know that the ingestion of sesame oil can help to decrease the amount of DHT being produced. But can sesame oil also be used externally to stimulate hair regrowth?
Researchers at Keimyung University had that very same question, and the results of their clinical research study were published in the Journal of Biomedical Research in 2010.
Five-week-old mice were split into three groups.
The first group received a topical application of saline, second group received a topical application of 3% Minoxidil (a medication commonly used to slow the progression of hair loss and speed the process of hair regrowth), and the third group received a topical application of black sesame oil.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the most popular topical hair loss treatment in the world and takes around four months to start working.
These applications were done once per day, six days per week.
The topical application of black sesame oil for the duration of the three-week study resulted in the rapid acceleration of hair regrowth when compared to the group of mice who received the topical application of saline.
The hair growth results found in the group that received a topical application of black sesame oil were comparable to the results found in the group that received the topical application of 3% minoxidil.
Are There Any Side Effects To Sesame Oil Supplementation?
Overall, sesame seed oil is a safe and natural remedy that can be ingested or applied externally.
Of course, an allergic reaction is possible in certain individuals. Signs of an allergic reaction to sesame seed oil include hives, difficulty breathing, nausea, and low pulse rate.
If you experience any of these reactions after ingesting or otherwise coming into contact with sesame, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
If you are someone with low blood pressure, it is important to consult with your physician before using sesame seed oil, as it has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels (11).
How You Can Incorporate Sesame Oil Into Your Hair Care Routine?
Whether you are looking to prevent hair loss, promote rapid regrowth, or simply want to protect and strengthen the hair you have got, then the incorporation of sesame oil into your regular hair care routine is a must.
Fortunately, the application of sesame oil is quick and easy, which means adding sesame oil into your weekly hair care routine is simple.
Rubbing It Onto Your Scalp
For best results, apply the oil to your scalp in sections. Using your fingertips, gently massage the oil into your scalp in a circular motion.
This will increase blood circulation, as well as ensures that the oil is able to penetrate the skin.
After the application, leave the oil on your scalp overnight and rinse it off in the morning.
This will ensure that your scalp has enough time to absorb the oil, and your scalp will be left with a protective and moisturizing layer that will provide you with numerous benefits (including sun protection and dandruff prevention) throughout the day.
Result times will vary, but doing this at least twice per week is recommended. Find out more about homemade topical minoxidil alternatives.
Take It As A Supplement
Taken orally, sesame seed oil can also help to lower the levels of DHT which contributes to the progression of hair loss for those with AGA. There is no recommended dosage, however, it is safe to consume in amounts that are naturally found in food sources.
You can easily substitute sesame oil for canola oil or olive oil in your cooking, or add a drop to salads, smoothies, soups, and more.
Make Your Own Sesame Oil Shampoo
One great way to make the most of sesame’s amazing properties is to use it in your own homemade shampoo. Here is one simple recipe:
- Liquid castile soap (1/2 cup)
- Maple syrup (2 tablespoons)
- Carrot seed essential oil (5-10 drops)
- Sesame seed oil (10 drops)
Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a small plastic container of your choice. Pour over wet hair and massage into the scalp for two to three minutes before rinsing out thoroughly.
The mixture should keep in the fridge for two weeks, and you can use it to wash your hair twice per week.
Benefits to your hair:
The carrot seed oil purifies, detoxifies, and stimulates the scalp with its vitamin content and also has anti-fungal properties (12). The carrot also improves circulation and can stimulate hair growth. Maple syrup is soothing and nourishing, whilst also having antibacterial properties (13).
What Kind of Sesame Oil Should I Get?
There are two main varieties of sesame oil which can be identified by their color.
Cold-pressed sesame oil is derived from raw, untoasted sesame seeds. The final product has a pale yellow hue, and it is the most common variety found in Western grocery stores. This variety is most often used as a frying oil.
East Asian sesame oil is made from toasted sesame seeds. It has a deep brown color with a more intense nutty flavor. This is often used as a finishing touch to culinary dishes.
Aside from color, the main differences between these oils are in their flavor and use.
When it comes to hair growth, you will want to choose the cold-pressed variety.
Cold pressing is a manufacturing process that uses a hydraulic press or some other such mechanical force to extract oils from seeds like sesame. The opposite of this approach uses heat which can degrade the overall nutritional quality of the final product.
You can find cold-pressed sesame oil widely available in grocery stores and health food stores.
Sesame Oil Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about sesame oil.
Question: What Are Other Names for Sesame Oil?
Answer: Sesame oil is used worldwide, though it is most popular in Asian countries like China and India. Because of its widespread use, there are many names for this oil. Just a few include:
- Til Tel (Bengali)
- Til ka tel (Hindi)
- El Ennev (Tamil)
- Nuvvula nune (Telugu)
- Ellena (Malayalam)
- Tilache Tel (Marathi)
Question: Where Can I Buy Sesame Oil?
Answer: Sesame oil is widely available in both Eastern and Western countries. You can find sesame oil in most grocery stores worldwide. If you are looking for a specialty type or brand, then Asian markets will often include a wider variety.
Question: How Should Sesame Oil be Stored?
Answer: As an oil, it is possible for sesame oil to go rancid if stored incorrectly. When unopened, it is best to store sesame oil in a cool, dry, dark place like a cabinet or pantry.
Once opened, you should ensure the bottle of sesame oil is sealed tightly after each use. If the oil is unlikely to be used in six months, then it is best to store the remainder of the oil in the refrigerator. This will keep it fresh for longer.
Question: How Can I Make My Own Sesame Oil?
Answer: While the process can be more time consuming that purchasing a bottle of sesame oil at the store, it is possible to make your own at home. Do keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to make pure sesame oil at home without industrial equipment. As such, the oil you make is likely to be mixed with another oil, like olive or sunflower.
To make at home, the basic steps are as follows:
- Toast the sesame seeds
- Heat the sesame seeds on the stovetop with an oil (1/4 cup seeds to 1 cup of oil) for two to three minutes
- Blend the sesame seed and oil mixture
- Separate the oil from the hulls using cheesecloth
Is Sesame Seed Oil Right For You?
While the clinical research which is currently available is promising for individuals who suffer from male pattern baldness, more research is required to better understand how sesame seed oil can be used for hair growth and how it can be used for best results.
As sesame seed oil is a safe and natural supplement found in common food sources throughout the world, you should feel free to experiment with using sesame seed oil orally and externally. Only you can determine whether the results are worth it, but it certainly does not hurt to give it a try.