If you are suffering from hair loss, you are not alone! According to the American Hair Loss Association, as many as 2/3rd of American men over the age of 35 suffer from hair loss. Although a shaved head is in vogue, there are hundreds of effective products in the market that will transform you from “follically” challenged to blessed!
In recent times, essential oils have seen a revival of sorts in treating hair loss. You must have come across numerous blogs and social media posts that can’t stop singing praises of these oils. However, the benefits of essential oils in controlling hair loss and regrowth is far from being medically proven. In fact, there are many studies that have found no long term benefits of using essential oils to regrow hair in people suffering from baldness.
Before we can see how essential oils are thought to work, let us see why do we loose hair.
The root cause of hair loss
It has been unequivocally proven that the root cause of hair loss is inflammation to the hair roots resulting most often due to a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is in fact, a metabolic product of the male hormone Testosterone.
Although DHT is not the only cause of hair loss, it is implicated in a majority of patients. Other causes such as scalp infections or other skin disorders also result in the inflammation of the hair follicles resulting in hair loss.
Thus, whatever the reason be, inflammation of the hair follicle seems to be at the center of the hair loss conundrum.
Essential oils for hair growth
Essential oils are aromatic oils that are produced by certain plants. Chemically, they are composed of many components that are very easily absorbed through the skin and act as counter-irritants. These chemicals also serve to promote dilatation of blood vessels causing a flush of blood to the applied area.
They are thought to work by stimulating the microcirculation of blood around the hair follicle. The increased circulation is supposed to stimulate hair growth by providing more nutrition to the follicles.
Although people have been making haughty claims for use of essential oils for hair growth, they are not substantiated scientifically.
Do the essential oils work?
In theory, an increased circulation does hold a promise, however, a long term use of essential oils can do more harm than good in certain long term cases. Most of the essential oils are actually neurotoxins and if absorbed regularly, may result in some serious deleterious side effects such as increasing inflammation. The long term use of essential oils to massage the scalp may cause an accumulative effect (oxidative damage as well as inflammation).
Also, according to eastern medical practices of Ayurveda in India and Traditional Chinese medicine, essential oils are considered to be having a “hot” tendency. According to Ayurveda, one of the root causes of inflammation is heat from certain compounds. Compounds found in essential oils, therefore, have a propensity to cause inflammation themselves. This effect surely seems counter intuitive to the hair regrowth potential.
This might be one of the reasons that in the long run, essential oils do not seem to live up to their reputation as far as hair growth is concerned.
Something to take home
There are many health benefits associated with essential oils. However, their long term effectiveness in hair loss management seems to be unpredictable. We hope that this article was able to shed some light on the effects of essential oils on hair loss and the readers will know to take these claims with a little grain of salt.