CAN COCONUT OIL HELP TREAT DANDRUFF?
Coconut oil has been heralded as the one-stop-cure for almost everything that plagues us. Every grandmother has tried to drive this point home and claimed that coconut oil can cure high cholesterol, reduce your weight, lubricate your joints, heal wounds and even stop headaches. And the classic coconut oil head massage is so common that it’s cemented into our minds.
But can using coconut oil for dandruff actually make a difference? Proponents of coconut oil as a natural dandruff remedy claim that by moisturising the scalp, it helps to restore scalp health and reduce flaking. But it might not be that straightforward.
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is a scalp condition that is generally brought on by excess oil production. The cause of dandruff is usually a fungus called Malassezia Globosa, which feeds on scalp oil to produce oleic acid. Over half the world is reactive to this by-product, and that causes your skin to respond aggressively. It results in redness, severe itching, and dead skin cells in the form of flakes.
Excess oil appearing on your scalp can be due to various reasons. It could be because of weather changes, hormonal fluctuations, clogged hair follicles or even weak hair hygiene. It is natural to find the dandruff causing fungus on your scalp, the problem only arises when you have excess oil. So using coconut oil for dandruff might just seem counter-intuitive, unless you have dry scalp.
Dry scalp is not the same as dandruff, even though both are accompanied by skin shedding in the form of flakes. Dandruff is generally associated with red scales and oily yellow-white flakes. But dry scalp can trigger your body to increase oil production, which can aggravate your dandruff. Using coconut oil for dry scalp can then become a viable option.
Benefits of Coconut oil
Studies have shown coconut oil to have the following properties:
- The main benefit is that it’s a good moisturiser and prevents moisture loss from your scalp. It helps in reducing split ends and frizzy hair.
- Anti-microbial properties, due to the lauric acid present in coconut oil, allows it to possibly be a dandruff remedy.
- Applying it can reduce inflammation and pain on your scalp.
- It is shown to fight skin infections and known to help in healing irritated skin.
- Contains proteins and Vitamin E, that allows it to help in strengthening your hair follicles.
- It is also said to protect coloured hair and add a layer of shine.
How to use coconut oil for dandruff?
The best way is to create a hair mask out of coconut oil and apply it to your hair. Always be careful, as the evidence to support these combinations are more anecdotal than scientific. The best way to use these is to create a mixture and apply it to your hair. Leave it for 20 to 30 minutes, covering your hair if necessary, and then wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. You should adjust according to your hair type and requirements.
- The most common combination is with lemon juice. This mixture can help balance your scalp pH levels, while bringing the anti-oxidant nature and vitamin C properties to your head.
- Apply virgin coconut oil for dandruff problems directly onto your scalp and hair. Massage it into your scalp for better blood circulation and comb your hair for even distribution of the oil. Many people use hot coconut oil for scalp itch as well.
- Combine it with essential oils like lemongrass oil, jojoba oil or tea tree oil, which act as carriers of the nutrients from the oil.
- Egg white, when combined with coconut oil, is one of the many ways on how to get rid of dandruff. It can remove the excess greasiness and dirt from your scalp.
- Coconut oil, when combined with honey and olive oil, is said to help soothe any itchiness on your scalp and reduce inflammation.
- Using Aloe Vera and coconut oil for dandruff has shown to be an effective solution. The enzymes and vitamins work to reduce itching, soothe your skin, and even boost hair growth.
Concerns with coconut oil and dandruff
Applying coconut oil to your hair is not a concern, unless you develop an allergy to it. But the main worry should be whether coconut oil causes dandruff to worsen. It is an oil that you are applying to an already oily skin. So if you aren’t careful with the quantities, it can actually have a negative effect on your scalp. It is important to understand and experiment before considering coconut oil as the answer to your dandruff problems. You should consult a dermatologist if the problem gets worse, or even if you need more clarity on dandruff home remedies.
Another concern is that coconut oil does not contain any active ingredient that can fight dandruff. Thus, you should consider a shampoo for dandruff that is built for this fight. Try the Head and Shoulders Lemon Fresh or the Head and Shoulders Smooth and Silky that are formulated to help you get rid of those dandruff flakes. There is also the Head and Shoulders Neem, which brings nature’s assistance in getting rid of your itching. There are various solutions available to you, it all depends on what you want for your hair and your peace of mind.