Would you use onion juice on your scalp if there was a chance it would regrow your hair – even if it might cause your eyes to water? While it's normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs from the head per day, hair loss in women tends to increase after menopause, and it's estimated that 85% of men experience balding by age 50. In the quest to find a cure for hair fall and shedding, is it possible onion juice is a natural, inexpensive solution? Some research suggests yes. But despite the clinical proof, would squeezing the juice of an onion and massaging it into your scalp really make a meaningful difference? This review will evaluate the onion juice clinical studies and help you make the right decision.
Onion Juice Hair Growth Proof
In an attempt to find a solution to male and female pattern baldness, in one clinical trial, 62 people in Baghdad who were diagnosed with patchy alopecia areata were divided into two groups:
- One group uses onion just on the scalp for eight weeks.
- Another group uses tap water for eight weeks as a placebo.
One curious sidenote to this clinical trial is that it included very young people. In the onion juice group, the age ranged from five years up to 42 years, although the average age was 23. Those who received tap water ranged in age from as young as three years up to 35 years old, and their average age was 18.
The part of this investigation that received a lot of attention was the results of onion juice use. It was that at about six weeks into the trial, 87% of the people using onion juice had hair regrowth on their heads. This was significantly greater than seen in people using tap water (which was 13%).
If we set aside the part where tap water regrew hair in 13% of the people (which makes no sense), the results of this study sound phenomenal on this surface. However, you need to know some things before you start rubbing onions into your hair follicles.
1. What kind of onions did they use? We are told they used Australian brown onions, which were purchased locally. It's not mentioned if the onions were organic or not.
2. How were the onions prepared? The onions were chopped up, and the juice, it's stated, was extracted using a blender. I wonder if they actually meant a juicer, which would be more efficient.
3. How much onion juice was used to regrow hair? This is a big question, and the researchers did not specify the amount. It is stated that people used the onion juice two times each day for eight weeks. The researchers don't say if the juice was stored/refrigerated or juiced each day to maintain freshness.
4. How many people completed this study? At the start, there were 45 men and women enrolled; however, 22 people failed to complete the study. In other words, more than 50% of the people dropped out. That's a lot. It's not stated why the people did not complete the clinical trial. However, one might guess it may be due to the onion smell or watering of eyes.
5. How well did onion juice work? While the headline-grabbing attention went to the claim that 87% of those using onion juice showed new hair regrowth, unfortunately, it is impossible to judge how well it worked because there are no before and after pictures. Thus, you can't see the effectiveness of onions in covering bald spots or how thick the hair becomes after treatment. Because this investigation only lasted eight weeks, any restoration of balding might likely not appear meaningful to the naked eye.
Does it Work For All Types of Hair Loss?
In this paper, the people were diagnosed with “patchy alopecia areata.” An autoimmune disorder causes this. The immune system attacks the healthy hair follicles, resulting in hair loss, typically in small, round, or oval patches on the scalp or other parts of the body, such as the eyebrows and eyelashes. Because hair fall can be complicated, it can be caused by many things, such as hypothyroidism, stress, medications, and even some nutrition deficiencies, such as lack of iron. It does not appear that onions have been evaluated to determine if they would be equally effective against all types of hair loss.
How Does Onion Juice Compare To Minoxidil?
Minoxidil continues to be king of the mountain when it comes to hair growth because it's inexpensive and available over the counter. It would have been nice to see how onion juice compared to minoxidil, but unfortunately, that was not the goal of this clinical trial. Likewise, it is unknown how onion juice compares to supplements like Viviscal and other popular natural balding cures like lavender oil, or peppermint oil.
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In one clinical trial, rosemary oil was shown to be as effective at improving hair growth as 2% minoxidil, which would make it superior to onion juice.
Onion Juice Side Effects
Granted, applying onions and their juice directly to the skin is likely safe, although there are some precautions to be aware of: Onions might cause skin irritation, especially in those who have open wounds. Those who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may also want to avoid this treatment. The smell of onion juice would likely cause watery and stinging eyes, too. Avoid getting onion juice in the eyes because that would not be a pleasant experience.
Any Other Onion Juice Hair Growth Research?
The clinical trial summarized above appears to report impressive hair growth with onion juice after just a few weeks; however, is there any other proof that it alleviates hair fall? If additional clinical trials exist, they could not be located. This is strange because the above study was published in 2002. Why has nobody – including the original researchers themselves- attempted to replicate these findings? Until better examinations are conducted, it is suggested to avoid onion juice as a way to regrow hair naturally.