Does Saw Palmetto Work for Hair Loss?

When you start noticing hair loss, your first response may be to try whatever crazy late night infomercial product you can for the possibility of a full, thick head of hair. However, thinning hair can be combated by faithfully sticking to a hair care routine that is built on the right ingredients. 

This post is all about saw palmetto, which has a number of benefits for your hair and scalp that make it worth knowing about.

We’ll go in-depth about the science behind hair loss and how saw palmetto can be a powerful tool in your hair loss prevention arsenal. We will give you all the details you need to know about hair loss, the role of certain hormones in the thinning of your hair, and how ingredients like saw palmetto can work against the negative effects of the hormones that cause pattern hair loss. 

Keep reading to learn more!

Is it androgenic alopecia?

If you are starting to notice your hair thinning out or parts of your head going completely bald, you may be experiencing a common condition called androgenic alopecia (ADA). ADA affects a large portion of men and women over the age of 50, but can also show up when you are younger. The condition is more common in men than in women, but still affects millions of both males and females.

ADA is also known as male or female pattern hair loss, and is one of the most common forms of hair loss in adults. If you are noticing your hair thinning out in certain parts of your head, one of the most likely causes is a hormone called DHT. DHT is short for dihydrotesterone. Your body converts testosterone into DHT to serve specific functions, and for most of your life your DHT levels are unlikely to have a negative impact on your hair growth.

The male body produces larger quantities of DHT than the female body does. DHT is an androgen (a male sex hormone) that is responsible for inherently masculine characteristics such as facial hair, a deeper voice and more body hair. As you age, DHT levels can sabotage your hair, even after decades of primarily serving your body well. Men are more likely to experience androgen-related hair loss due to the higher levels of androgens in their bodies, but DHT levels can affect both men and women and cause hair to thin regardless of gender.

DHT can cause your hair to thin out and grow slower as you age, even leading to bald patches in certain parts of your head. One of the best ways to work against DHT’s impact on your hair growth is to include natural DHT-blocking ingredients in your hair care regimen.

What is saw palmetto?

The saw palmetto plant is a tree, also sometimes called the American Dwarf Palm. Saw palmetto trees produce fruit that serves as the basis for an extract that can be used medicinally and applied topically to the skin. 

The extract of the saw palmetto tree’s fruit is sometimes used to treat an enlarged prostate gland, but it also is known for its ability to limit your body’s conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.

Because androgenic alopecia is directly connected to DHT levels in your body, blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT can have a major positive impact on your hair’s ability to grow well. Excess DHT levels as you age can cause your hair to grow slower and thinner, partly because the hormone can shrink your hair follicles and create a visible decline in your hair’s appearance.

When your primary goal with your hair care routine is increasing your hair’s growth rate and giving it a thicker, fuller look, saw palmetto is an ingredient that can be a huge help. With its natural ability to hinder testosterone’s conversion into DHT, saw palmetto can work to enlarge your follicles and decrease the interval time between your hair’s rest phase and growth phase.

DHT can make your hair grow shorter and take longer to keep growing, but saw palmetto can help.

Your hair grows in cycles, and these cycles have three key stages. The anagen phase is the growth phase in your hair’s cycle -- this is the period where your hair is actively getting longer. The catagen phase is transitional, an interval period between your hair’s growth phase and its rest phase. The rest period that your hair undergoes is called the telogen phase.

DHT can interfere with your hair’s growth cycle, increasing the time that your follicles spend in the telogen (rest) phase and decreasing their time in the anagen (growth phase). In addition, since DHT can shrink your follicles, your hair growth can start looking shorter and sparser as you get older. 

Saw palmetto can help your hair maintain its natural, healthy growth cycle, keeping your hair growing as quickly and as long as possible.

How effective is saw palmetto in preventing hair loss?

Saw palmetto’s positive effects on hair growth are backed by science. If you are looking for naturally-derived ingredients to include in your hair loss prevention regimen, saw palmetto is definitely one you don’t want to skip. 

The extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto tree is especially effective when paired with other powerful DHT-blocking ingredients.

Pairing saw palmetto with additional DHT blockers allows your hair to reap the compounded benefits of multiple ingredients together. We created a special formula of DHT blockers and other growth-promoting ingredients and made it the basis of our hair loss prevention products

We combine saw palmetto with other powerful ingredients like caffeine, argan oil, pumpkin seed extract, stinging nettle, niacinamide and more to create a hard-hitting combination that can majorly benefit your hair and scalp.

Can I pair saw palmetto with minoxidil (Rogaine)?

If you are dealing with androgenic alopecia, DHT-blocking ingredients are some of your best defenses against hair loss. However, these ingredients can often be made even more effective when they are paired with the topical hair treatment minoxidil, also known as Rogaine. 

Using hair growth shampoo and conditioner packed with DHT-blocking, growth-promoting ingredients can work wonders for thinning hair, and pairing it with minoxidil can yield even better results.

Minoxidil does have the potential to produce some itchiness, irritation and dryness in your scalp. However, consistent washing of your hair with groMD’s shampoo and conditioner can help reduce this unwelcome side effect. Natural ingredients like saw palmetto, argan oil, and biotin are great for your hair and scalp and can help to keep your head healthy and free from irritation while using minoxidil.

What ingredients do you need to avoid to maintain healthy hair?

We created our shampoo and conditioner combo to be as beneficial for your hair as possible. This meant that it needed to be free from any ingredients with the potential to do more damage to your scalp, hair and body. 

Whenever you use hair products to prevent hair loss and boost hair growth, make sure they are free from harmful ingredients. Keep an eye out for SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), which can dry out your scalp and hair and cause it to look frizzy. We made our shampoo and conditioner entirely sulfate-free to make sure that it had as little potential as possible to cause your hair to get dried out. In addition, preservatives called parabens are another category of ingredients that you definitely want to avoid. Research has shown that parabens have the potential to have numerous harmful effects on your body.

So, does saw palmetto work for hair loss? Absolutely -- especially paired with other growth-promoting ingredients like the ones in groMD’s Hair Growth Shampoo & Conditioner.

To learn more about what ingredients can help you get your hair back, check out our list of science-backed ingredients here! 

Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.