Borage Oil as a Hair Loss Treatment: All the Facts

Borage oil
Borage Oil, also known as Starflower Oil, comes from the Borago officinalis flower and is thought to treat a wide array of issues, including Athsma, Arthritis, and improving brain function. However, there is little to no evidence to support these claims.
There’s a widespread idea that Borage Oil is a great treatment for hair loss, and specifically Male Pattern Hair Loss. It is believed that taking supplements or applying borage oil topically to the scalp will help you to regrow lost hair, or at least prevent hair loss.

Borage oil is a rich source of Gamma-Lenolenic Acid (GLA)

According to a 2017 study of diet and hair loss, entitled Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use:

Deficiency of the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) can… include loss of scalp hair and eyebrows as well as lightening of hair. Unsaturated fatty acids may…may promote hair growth by enhancing follicle proliferation

Due to a lack of Omega 6 Fatty Acids in the body, the body reacts in many ways, including the shedding and thinning of hair. This shedding and thinning reverts or stops when Omega 6’s are included back in the diet.

A natural DHT blocker (5 alpha reductase inhibitor)

Another theory is that the GLA in Borage Oil suppresses DHT, or DiHydroTestosterone, which is associated with male baldness. There seems to be some kind of truth to this as well, as GLA does indeed suppress some DHT, but there is little evidence that taking a GLA supplement reduces instances of male pattern baldness.

DHT is held responsible for miniaturization of hair follicles in AGA [(Androgenic Alopcecia)]. However, as DHT is a more potent form of testosterone and androgens are expected to convert hair follicles from vellus to terminal not the other way around,” According to one study showcasing the paradox of DHT and hair loss.

There are also potential side effects with taking Borage Oils that contain Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PA), which is a common chemical in the plant. PA’s can damage the liver if taken orally.
The medical and scientific literature is lacking on the effectiveness of this oil for pretty much any health claim attributed to it, and more studies and evidence needs to be done to show any of these theories to be accurate.