Will Maca Cause Hair Loss or Hair Growth? My Experience
Every morning when I look in a mirror, I pay particular attention to my male hairline because it started slowly declining as I aged. This has led me to educate myself about the hair loss issue, and here are some things I have learned about hair loss of women and men.
Maca root digested can be beneficial for hair growth especially if your hair loss is caused by stress or hormonal imbalance. In case your hair loss is caused by some other reasons (read below), your current hairline may not improve by using maca, but slowing down future hair loss and improving your hair quality may be possible.
Also, applying maca root products externally to your scalp to improve your hair growth is plausible practice, but not scientifically proven.
Rumors about miraculous hair quality improvement – are they true?
There are a lot of online sites with positive news that many (mainly women) have improved their hair quality by regular use of maca root.
Many of the resources online may be sales speeches, and thus they may be slightly biased sources of information. The fact is that there are not at the moment any research studies done on maca that supports hair quality improvement claims or prove that maca will recover your lost hair or speed up your hair growth.
However, maca does have unique properties that can help with few different health conditions, and if they are related to your hair loss, you well might be benefitting from maca on your scalp area too.
These things cannot be bad for your hair growth:
- Maca contains nutrients which are essential for health and healthy hair growth.
- Maca has adaptogenic properties. Meaning, maca can help to rejuvenate exhausted adrenal glands.
- Maca has unique alkaloids which have a positive effect on the entire endocrine system.
As you most probably already know unbalanced diet, lack of nutrition and high level of stress (just a few to name) can not only ruin your health but also it can make you lose hair. Having in mind that maca is abundant with essential nutrients, that support and balance the endocrine health and has adaptogenic qualities which help your body in its ability to handle stressful situations, there is a chance that using maca can help you to recover your body. Thus, there is also a high possibility that you could improve your hair growth.
So, there might be something in these rumors, but let’s look deeper into the hair loss matter.
Possible causes of hair loss and how maca could help
Physical causes of hair loss
One clearest example of this type is the hair loss caused by chemotherapy. Medication, some medical treatments, radiation, poisons, and pollution can lead to temporary hair loss. The good news is with this type of hair loss that the recovery expectations (with or without maca) are highly favorable. Once the exposure to the hair fall causing factor is eliminated, hair usually starts to come back slowly, and full recovery is expected.
After any physical trauma, your body will benefit from good nutrition and maca can be one good source for additional nutrition with balancing activity.
Stress and hormonal imbalance can cause hair thinning
Mental and emotional stress can lead to a nasty circle of cortisol unbalance, and this is a well-known cause of hair thinning. In case of a stressful event, the hair thinning can become visible with a delay even with few month time lag after the stressful event. Even school stress is reported to increased hair fall.
In case of trauma and when one is healing from accidents, this stressful situation and recovery process can cause hair thinning.
Unfortunately, stress is often connected with poor diet choices or situations, and we know that this can feed the stress circle.
Maca is a very good supplement in situations where you need to recover from stress. Maca has well hormonal balancing action and can be helpful.
Remember to take action and do what it takes to get your life to happy place in life. Prolonged stress is not a good choice!
Deficiencies and hair loss
This type of hair loss usually effects to increased hair fall and quality changes in hair. The simple reason for this type of hair loss is a nutritional deficiency. Lack of some essential nutrients can be caused by some extreme diet choices or situations. Unfortunately, this situation is often also combined with some stressful situation in life.
The cure in this kind of situations is to eat those needed nutrients, and one source for that can well be maca root that is packed with minerals and nutrients.
Hair loss during pregnancy
It is almost considered normal and expected to have higher hair fall or change of hair quality during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The reason for this can be a slight nutritional deficiency combined with hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Luckily, the common hair loss during pregnancy is usually recovering soon after giving birth.
Maca can help with increased nutrition need, and also many women find beneficial to nourish scalp from outside, massaging nourishing scalp oil to straight to scalp. Massaging scalp with the favorite oil helps to relax and helps to keep hair healthy, strong and shiny. It is still debatable if maca applied externally to your scalp has any proven effect (check the end of this article for my thoughts about applying maca externally).
Hormonal imbalances often come with hair quality changes
Endocrine disorders are often influencing hair quality with dermatological changes. Always consult your doctor first if you have endocrine disorder before using maca root. Especially be cautious with maca if you have a thyroid issue that demands medication.
If your hair loss is caused by hormonal imbalance or stress, then maca root digested may give good results in improving your hair quality. Maca can help to gain hormonal balance and thus help to improve your hair quality. And if you are a woman, your success rate to improve your hair growth with maca just went higher. Especially, if you have a noticeable increase in hair loss during your monthly hormonal cycle you may very well benefit from maca.
External scalp infections and fungus hair loss
These local infections can cause quick hair loss and also usually easiest to solve by visiting a dermatologist.
It is plausible if maca can help externally applied to your infected scalp, but once the dermatologist has dealt with the actual cause, maca root may help you to recover faster.
Androgenetic hair loss of men
This is so-called male-pattern hair loss and this is what I am struggling with personally! My father had declining hairline, my grandfather had it, my cousin has it, my 2 uncles have it. This type of hair loss in men starts from temples (this is precisely what I am observing) and then slowly progresses to male-pattern baldness towards the top of the scalp.
Majority of doctors are claiming that this type of hair loss is caused by genetic reasons and most doctors are saying that there is not much one can do in this case – except to live healthily and aim to slow down the process. There is some chemical medication for slowing genetic type male hair loss, but quite often the prolonged use of these drugs come with side very undesired side effects. Surgical treatment is possible but it often does not solve the underlying issue.
Even there might not yet be the final cure found for genetic hair loss, I am quite sure we can take everyday steps towards living healthy and happy life with good nutrition and taking care of our scalp, and by doing so, we can slow down the process remarkably.
Maca can help with it’s balancing and nutritional effect with androgenetic hair loss, but most likely will not stop it entirely without the support of healthy lifestyle, nutritious, unprocessed diet and low-stress life with positive mental attitude.
Is it any use to apply maca root extract to my scalp?
When I started to notice maca root appearing to cosmetics, I started to wonder if there is any proof that applying maca root extract or other maca containing product externally through skin do anything?
I have been doing some research online about this, and I found only few research articles that could support maca usage in cosmetics idea. There simply is not at this very moment much research done on this topic, but let’s see what I found.
Antiviral effect of maca root
There was a research done that found maca root having antiviral effects against influenza virus (source). This does not apply immediately to skin infections that could be accelerating hair loss, but this made me think that there perhaps could be something here. Could applying maca root products externally might have positive effects because of its antiviral properties?
Protective effect against ultraviolet radiation (UVR)
A research found out that maca applied to the skin is giving increased protection and recovery from ultraviolet radiation (source). And yet, there was another research (source) listing maca as a potential plant containing polyphenols that may be useful for prevention of sunburns.
Are we onto something here? Not sure, but obviously maca’s compounds at least somehow interact with our skin in a beneficial manner.
Possible skin wound improvement
And yet another research I found suggests that wound healing (at high altitudes) could be improved with maca applied externally to the healing wound (source)
Conclusion: we still lack information on the external use of maca!
At this point, it is difficult to prove that maca root applied externally on your scalp could improve your hair growth. More research is needed on this to say for sure but based on antiviral effect and possible skin wound healing improvement effect we could assume that using maca externally to nourish our scalp is plausible.
One thing I am sure about is that 1-5 min enjoyable scalp massage increases circulation, reduces stress and just feels great! Few drops of maca root extract in the organic massage oil may not make my hair grow with locks in one day, but it certainly does not do any harm either.