Does chili oil promote hair growth?

The Claim – We recently became aware of an article in the Huffington Post, entitled “Can Chili Oil Make Your Hair Grow?” In it, a beauty blogger is featured, discussing a “secret recipe” for hair growth that was handed down from her grandmother.

This recipe consists of virgin coconut oil mixed with a teaspoon of chili powder, then smeared on the scalp and left for 30 minutes. The idea is that the chili powders will stimulate blood flow resulting in newly sprouting follicles and a thicker head of hair that is both better in “quality and density”.

The Facts – Chili oil joins a long list of folklore remedies for baldness that have been handed down over the centuries. Chili oil now resides in a ”grocery” bag of tricks alongside rosemary, lavender, garlic paste, onion juice, henna, hibiscus, eggs, saffron, licorice, curd, graham flour paste, and hundreds of other concoctions touted for sprouting hair.

These ingredients might make an interesting rib rub, and they won’t harm you, but don’t expect anything to happen to your hair. The fact remains that, when these substances are put to the test, there is no scientific evidence of efficacy for reversing or preventing hair loss.

Centuries of searching for a cure for baldness by lay people and the scientific community alike have resulted in some medical treatments that actually work. They are:

  • Minoxidil, sold under the product name Rogaine™
  • Finasteride, sold under the product name Propecia™
  • Laser Therapy
  • Platelet Rich Plasma with ACell
  • Some shampoos such as Nizoral®

About Brandon Ross MD