Coconut oil is a type of oil made from the coconut, a tree nut commonly mistaken for a fruit due to the sweetness of its flesh. There are various types of coconut oil, as well as various means of producing coconut oil. Additionally, coconut oil can be made from different parts of the coconut (milk instead of meat, for instance), and differently aged coconuts can produce other variations in coconut oil as well.
Most coconut oil that is used for human dietary supplements, hair care and skin care, is either cold-pressed coconut oil or fractionated coconut oil. These forms of coconut oil are considered superior for human use and consumption because they don’t contain trans fats. Additionally, the production method for both cold-pressed and fractionated coconut oil doesn’t involve solvents, other chemicals, or any impurities that could take away from the healthy benefits—another reason why these forms of coconut oil are highly prized for health and grooming purposes.
The benefits of coconut oil for hair loss
Coconut oil can be used to prevent and even reverse hair loss when used both topically and internally. Each way to use coconut oil has its own benefits, and learning about them can help you decide which form of coconut oil best suits your overall needs.
A Good Moisturizer
Topically, coconut oil makes for an excellent moisturizer for the scalp and hair. Certain conditions that cause dry, flaky skin, can cause hair loss too, and coconut oil can definitely help with that. Moisturizing your hair and scalp also provides a root-to-tip barrier that protects your hair from the elements while also strengthening the shaft. This prevents issues like breakage, which can also lead to thinning hair. Moisturizing your hair can also “plump” it up a little, making it appear fuller as well. Think of it like rehydrating a piece of dried fruit. The rehydrated fruit is much fuller in appearance; the same thing can happen with your hair. Over time, continued use of coconut oil as a hair moisturizer can amplify that effect, because hair is naturally inclined to retain hydration.
Coconut oil also reduces inflammation. Certain autoimmune disorders, such as alopecia areata and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, cause hair loss, and inflammation is a known cause of autoimmune disease flare-ups. Using coconut oil as a topical anti-inflammatory to sooth inflamed skin can help your follicles heal before they decide to shed any hair in the first place. It can also reduce swelling and redness in inflamed follicles, allowing them to recover enough to start regrowing hair again. In fact, studies show that topical use of coconut oil not only has short-term anti-inflammatory benefits, but it may aid in reducing chronic inflammation as well—a key cause of autoimmune-related hair loss.
Internal coconut oil holds the same anti-inflammatory benefits as external coconut oil. Because of its calories and high level of saturated fat, you should use it as a dietary supplement instead of taking large doses. The good news is, though, that a moderate amount of coconut oil taken orally is definitely enough to see anti-inflammatory results. It won’t zap your pain like an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine, but what it will do is reduce chronic inflammation over time, giving you another tool in your arsenal to fight hair loss caused by inflammation.
Taking coconut oil internally also provides your body with fat. Fat is essential for growing healthy hair. Some people who are dieting restrict their fat intake so much, they actually end up shedding. Likewise, some vegans are unable to get enough fat in their diet that they end up having hair loss issues related to low levels of fat as well. Your body will try to protect you when you’re malnourished by shedding hair and stopping hair growth so that healthy nutrients can go to vital organs instead. If you chronically consume a low-fat diet and have been suffering from hair loss, coconut oil is a means to up your fat intake in a healthy, vegan-friendly way.
Coconut oil is also rich in beta-sitosterol, a compound that blocks DHT production in the scalp. DHT is what triggers men (and women) with pattern hair loss, or androgenic alopecia, to lose their hair. By blocking DHT’s ability to interact with your follicles, you can prevent further pattern hair loss before it gets out of hand. Continued use of coconut oil’s DHT-blocking abilities can allow your follicles to produce new hair as well. The DHT blocking benefits of beta-sitosterol can be easily gained from both coconut oil supplements as well as topical coconut oil products.
Recommended hair loss products that contain coconut oil
Sports Research’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a 1000mg coconut supplement you take daily by mouth. It’s billed as the only Non-GMO Project-certified supplement of its kind, which will be great news to folks who avoid GMO products. It’s also gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly, and has been third-party certified by Good Manufacturing Practice, an independent group which verifies the manufacturing and quality of supplements.
The coconut oil is housed in easy-to-swallow softgels made out of vegetable glycerin, and it’s considered a great source of the medium-chain triglycerides caprylic and lauric acid. While this supplement offers whole body benefits like antioxidants and giving your brain a boost, it’s a great supplement to treat hair loss because it has the powerful DHT-blocking abilities of coconut oil all in one high-quality, easy to take product.
Paisle Botanicals’ Biotin Caffeinated Shampoo is a workhorse when it comes to topically treating thinning hair. It features coconut oil as one of its top ingredients. On its own, coconut oil is a great moisturizer, anti-inflammatory, and DHT-blocker; in this shampoo, it teams up with other ingredients that also share these properties to give your thin hair a boost that not only instantly thickens it, but also helps you regrow hair over time.
With this daily shampoo, your hair is treated to a hefty dose of Biotin and B-vitamin complex, which are renowned for encouraging hair growth. Coconut oil, argan oil and nettle moisturize while fighting hair loss. Meanwhile, caffeine goes to work by stimulating circulation in your scalp, delivering nutrient-rich blood to your hair follicles, giving them the tools they need to grow healthier, thicker hair.
Aside of its obvious benefits, this is a cruelty-free shampoo, made in the USA with no parabens or other harmful chemicals. It’s safe for color-treated hair and it can be used by both men and women, which means if your wife can safely reap the healthy benefits of Paisle Botanicals Biotin Caffeinated Shampoo as well.
Oilology’s Coconut Oil Multipurpose Spray boasts coconut oil as its top active ingredient, so it’s a great way to topically apply coconut oil if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to hair care. Chamomile soothes inflammation around your scalp and follicles while panax ginseng and green tea stimulate new hair growth. New hair is nourished and fortified by coconut oil, wheat protein and bamboo. This spray truly has multi purpose benefits and it’s a quick way to not only get your coconut fix, but to add other treatments of hair loss into your routine with one simple product.
DIY Coconut Oil Hair Mask
If you’re more of the do-it-yourself type, a DIY coconut oil hair mask may be more your style. There are a lot of variations on this tried and true treatment for hair loss, but keeping things simple not only saves you on time and cost, but it also helps you keep track of which ingredients work best for you. You can also substitute other hair healthy ingredients you may have on hand.
DIY Coconut Oil Hair Mask Recipe
- Coconut oil
- Argan oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Aloe vera (plain gel or liquid)
- Mashed avocado
Using one whole mashed avocado as your base, mix in a good amount of coconut oil until you achieve a consistency that is thin enough to mix in your hair while being thick enough to be gloppy and hold onto your hair shafts. (This will vary, but you should have at least one tablespoon of coconut oil in the mix.) Add in two teaspoons of argan oil and aloe vera and a quarter-teaspoon of rosemary essential oil. Thoroughly mix all ingredients until they reach a yogurt like consistency. Work them into your scalp. Let sit for 30 minutes before washing your hair out.
Are there any side effects when using coconut oil to treat hair loss?
There aren’t any side effects for using quality coconut oil to treat hair loss topically (as in hair loss shampoos, sprays, etc.). (As long as you’re not allergic to coconuts, that is.)
There are two issues that may or may not be relevant to you when taking coconut oil, internally, however, and it’s important to learn about them, so you can adjust your coconut oil consumption accordingly: saturated fat and calories.
The form of saturated fat that comes from coconut is generally considered much safer to consume than saturated fat from meat sources. However, any form of saturated fat can raise your total blood cholesterol levels. If you already eat a lot of saturated fat, but wish to take coconut oil internally, consider cutting out saturated fat in other parts of your diet. For instance, skip the fast food for fresh food made at home. Food you make at home will have more “good fats” and less saturated fat. Remember that you shouldn’t cut out saturated fat entirely; a small to moderate amount is necessary for overall health. And if your diet is too low in saturated fat (which is rare but possible for certain groups, like vegans, for instance), adding in coconut oil can give it a good boost.
Calories are another thing to watch out for with coconut oil. Oil is, after all, pure fat. Fat has 9 calories per gram, compared to the two other macronutrients, carbohydrates and protein, which only have 4 calories per gram each. If you are trying to lose weight, consider cutting calories out of other parts of your diet if you intend to consume coconut oil.
By modifying the rest of your diet and taking coconut oil only in the recommended amounts, you can avoid these two potential side effects while still enjoying the healthy benefits of coconut oil.
Whether you choose coconut oil dietary supplements, coconut oil topical products, or a DIY coconut hair mask, the benefits of coconut oil for hair loss can’t be understated and it’s a must-have tool every person with thinning hair should have in their arsenal.