Does Soy Slow Hair Growth?

Updated November 21, 2016

Soy can work both ways: It apparently both strengthens and prompts hair to grow when you eat a soy-rich diet as well as stops unwanted hair growth on your legs and face when you apply soy patches. Soy, which is rich in amino acids and peptides, is considered an antioxidant. It provides protection from the sun's UV rays, which can damage your hair and skin. The American Academy of Dermatology reported in 2001 that soy can slow hair growth as well as reduce skin pigmentation problems when applied to skin where unwanted hair is growing. On the other hand, eating soy, which is rich in vitamin K, reportedly makes the hair on your head grow.


Products for the skin and for unwanted hair have been developed that contain hydrolyzed soy protein, which slows down hair growth. Applying these products to your face will reportedly minimise a moustache and other facial hair that you would rather not have. Applying them to your legs slows down hair growth in that area, explains the Cosmetics & Toiletries website.

Application reports that a study was done involving applying soy milk patches to unwanted body hair. The outcome was that the soy patches reduced the size of the follicle and hair shaft as well as stunted hair growth on the legs and stripped the hair of its colour.


When soy milk was bolstered with a bit of soy isoflavone solution, the results were even faster and more noticeable. Those participants in the study reported that the hair treated with soy was thinner and softer.


According to a report delivered by M. Seiberg, J-C Liu, L. Babiarz, E. Sharlow and S. Sharpiro, serine protease inhibitors and soybean extracts can alter skin pigmentation and may be an alternative to skin lightening; however, in addition, the rate of hair growth was also found to be slowed, and the appearance of hair and the size of the hair shaft and follicles were changed. Soy milk does impact hair growth because it decreases hair shaft dimensions, according to the report.

On the Other Hand ...

Eating soy protein reportedly stimulates hair growth and reinforces hair, making it strong, notes Soy isoflavone appears to regulate bad cholesterol, reducing it; this is beneficial because bad cholesterol produces enzyme 5 alpha reductase, which transforms the hormone testosterone into DHT, dihydrotestosterone, which results in hair loss.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.