Saw Palmetto and Facial Hair
I recently had a young reader write in and ask if Saw Palmetto could prevent
facial hair growth and development. What he had noticed is that he had had very
little facial hair growth for the last year or so since taking Saw Palmetto and
was wondering if there was a correlation.
Saw Palmetto is known for its DHT-lowering capabilities and has been used to
treat enlarged prostate and hair loss, two conditions related to DHT levels. In
fact, some experts have observed that Saw Palmetto not only lowers the rate of DHT formation
but also its binding abilities as well.  However, in spite of its
superpowers, clinical use of Saw Palmetto has been limited and results
Need to boost your Nitric Oxide naturally through food, drink and supplements? Check out Lee Myer's book here:
The Peak Erectile Strength Diet
Or do you need the most comprehensive testosterone book in Amazon? Here it is:
Natural Versus Testosterone Therapy
In the case of hair loss prevention, there is really only one legitimate study
using Saw Palmetto and it was combined with another ingredient (beta
sitosterol).  So the bottom line is that no one is really going to have a
definitive answer to this reader's question. However, there are some things
we can say, such as the fact that DHT is clearly strongly involved in the growth
of facial hair. Children with a DHT deficiency will have dramatically
reduced body and facial hair (and testes/prostate development). 
There is also a study on celiacs that shows that testosterone levels in young
males is responsible for hair density, but DHT is responsible for hair growth.
 Therefore, there is some good clinical evidence that Saw
Palmetto, or any DHT-limiting herb or drug, could reduce facial hair growth.
Indeed, this is a widely reported side effect of Saw Palmetto usage. In
fact, one expert notes an unusual property of Saw Palmetto: it promotes
hair growth on the scalp but reduces it on the face.  So in all
likelihood his loss of facial hair growth is probably due to the Saw Palmetto but
cannot "prove it" with a study.
CAUTION: Some of you may wonder why a young guy would take Saw
Palmetto in the first place, because they rarely have hair loss or enlarged
prostate? The answer is often steroid use. Some of the steroids will
raise DHT levels and young guys will take Saw Palmetto for preventative measures.
(They will also often take estrogen blockers as well.)
INTERNATIONAL UROLOGY AND NEPHROLOGY, 33(2):217-225, "Randomized trial of a
combination of natural products (cernitin, saw palmetto, B-sitosterol, vitamin
E) on symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)"
2) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 76:524-528, "The androgen
control of sebum production. Studies of subjects with dihydrotestosterone
deficiency and complete androgen insensitivity"
3) British Journal of Dermatology, Nov 1982, 107(5):559-564, "Relationship
between plasma testosterone and dihydrotestosterone concentrations and male
facial hair growth"
5) The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, April 2002,
8(2):143-152, "A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial to Determine
the Effectiveness of Botanically Derived Inhibitors of 5-?-Reductase in the
Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia"