Will Maca Cause Hair Loss or Hair Growth? My Experience

No Stress - Happy Herbs

Maca Root for Hair Loss

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 in women and men. Maca root digested can be beneficial for hair growth, mainly if your hair loss is caused by stress or hormonal imbalance. If your hair loss is caused by 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 enhance your hair growth is reasonable 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. However, 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 any research studies done on Maca that support hair quality improvement claims or prove that Maca will recover your lost hair or speed up your hair growth. 

However, Maca has unique properties that can help with a few different health conditions, and if they are related to your hair loss, you might benefit from Maca on your scalp area too. These things cannot be bad for your hair growth:

Maca contains nutrients that are essential for health and healthy hair growth.

Maca has adaptogenic properties. This means Maca can help to rejuvenate exhausted adrenal glands.

Maca has unique alkaloids that positively affect the entire endocrine system.

As you probably already know, an unbalanced diet, lack of nutrition, and a high-stress level (just a few to name) can ruin your health and make you lose hair. Having in mind that Maca is abundant with essential nutrients that support and balance 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, medical treatments, radiation, poisons, and pollution can lead to temporary hair loss. The good news is that the recovery expectations (with or without Maca) are highly favorable with this type of hair loss. Once the exposure to the hair fall-causing factor is eliminated, hair usually starts to come back slowly, and full recovery is expected. In addition, after any physical trauma, your body will benefit from good nutrition, and Maca can be one good source of other food with balancing activity.

Stress and hormonal imbalance can cause hair thinning.

Mental and emotional stress can lead to a vicious cycle of cortisol imbalance, a well-known cause of hair thinning. In a stressful event, the hair thinning can become visible with a delay, even with a few months’ time lags after the stressful event. Even school stress is reported to increase 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 perfect supplement when 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 a happy place. Prolonged stress is not a good choice!

Deficiencies and hair loss

This type of hair loss usually affects increased hair fall and quality changes in the hair. The simple reason for this type of hair loss is a nutritional deficiency. The lack of some essential nutrients can be caused by extreme diet choices or situations. Unfortunately, this situation is often also combined with some stressful situations in life. The cure in this situation is to eat those needed nutrients, and one source for that can be maca root 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. 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 needs, and also, many women find it beneficial to nourish the scalp from the outside, massaging nourishing scalp oil straight to the scalp. Massaging the scalp with your favorite oil helps to relax and helps to keep hair healthy, strong, and shiny. However, it is still debatable whether Maca applied externally to your scalp has any proven effect (check the end of this article for my thoughts about using it externally).

Hormonal imbalances often come with hair quality changes.

Endocrine disorders are often influencing hair quality with dermatological changes. Always consult your doctor if you have an endocrine disruption 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 in improving 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 are 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 a declining hairline. My grandfather, my cousin, and my 2 uncles have it. This type of hair loss in men starts from the temples (this is precisely what I am observing) and then slowly progresses to male-pattern baldness towards the top of the scalp. Most doctors claim that this type of hair loss is caused by genetic reasons, and most doctors say 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 has undesired side effects. Surgical treatment is possible but usually does not solve the underlying issue. Even though there might not yet be the final cure for genetic hair loss, I am sure we can take simple steps toward living a 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 its balancing and nutritional effect on androgenetic hair loss. Still, it most likely will not stop entirely without supporting a healthy lifestyle, nutritious, unprocessed diet, and low-stress life with a positive mental attitude. 

Is it any use to apply maca root extract to my scalp?

When I noticed maca root appearing in cosmetics, I began to wonder if there is any proof that applying maca root extract or other maca-containing products through the skin does anything. I have been doing some research online about this, and I found only a few research articles that could support maca usage in cosmetics. Unfortunately, there is not much research on this topic at this very moment, but let’s see what I find.

Antiviral effect of maca root

The research found that maca root has antiviral effects against the 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 using maca root products externally have positive effects because of their antiviral properties?

Protective effect against ultraviolet radiation (UVR)

The research found that Maca applied to the skin gives 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 preventing sunburns. So, are we onto something here? Not sure, but obviously, Maca’s compounds somehow interact with our skin beneficially.

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, but based on the antiviral effect and possible skin wound healing improvement effect, we could assume that using Maca externally to nourish our scalp is plausible. I am sure a 1-5 min enjoyable scalp massage increases circulation, reduces stress, and just feels great! Few drops of the maca root extract in the organic massage oil may not make my hair grow with locks in one day, but it certainly does not harm either.”