How does hair oil help in health growth of hair?

Hair oil preparations
Hair oil preparations
Cross section of a hair follicle
Cross section of a hair follicle

Hair oil preparations are most widely advertised in India and in most Asian countries. Application of oil to the hair as a routine in modern times was considered to be uncool and uncouth. We go on to investigate from the point of cosmetology as well as Ayurveda if there is  some validity to using hair oil.

Right from ancient times in India application of hair oil has been a routine practice right from childhood to adulthood. With the advent of numerous cosmetic hair products that assure great results, we still turn back in time to reach out for the good old bottle of oil and massage it through our scalp. It was common grandmother advice to every grandchild “ Go apply oil or you’’ll get bald in no time” How veritable was this admonition?

The hair shaft in reality is dead as there is absence of nerves or blood vessels. It is the outer appendage of the skin. It is composed of keratin a protein. Overtime, hair is affected by dust, pollutants, weather and chemicals. The undesired results of these factors result in dry brittle hair and hair fall. Static electricity is a common phenomenon of dry brittle hair. It leads to easy hair breakage. A good coat of oil prevents this hair breakage.

The oil applied to the keratinous hair cuticle smoothens and disallows the hair shaft from lifting. In bleaching, the hair cuticle is lifted to remove melanin and thus color. Since oil disallows lifting of the hair cuticle, the melanin which imparts color to the hair is protected, thus graying of hair is delayed by regular application of oil. Regular application of oil promotes blood circulation through massage resulting in preventing hair fall. A thin coat of oil prevents the hair shaft from the direct attack of dust and pollutants.

It is easier to comb, braid or style hair that is oiled than dry hair which more than speaks for the continued age-old practice of hair oil application.

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