Can coconut oil really help your hair grow faster? Learn more about what the studies say and if you need to incorporate coconuts into your hair routine.
Everyone has heard the buzz around coconut oil, whether it be the benefits of adding it to your cooking and baking, improving your dental health, or making your hair shiny, silky, and healthy.
But, let’s take a step back and look into just what coconut oil can do, for your hair specifically.
Sometimes when something seems too good to be true, and you hear lots of unsubstantiated claims like improved hair health, growth, strength, shine, and promised long lengths -- it is likely that some of the claims are true, some are not, and some are yet to be confirmed.
Below, we will look at what is being touted about coconut oil for hair, what the studies say about the oil, what you can realistically expect from coconut oil hair treatments, and how to use coconut oil if you want to give it a try.
When we are talking about hair and coconut oil, the benefits described online include increased shine, silkiness, moisture, overall health, reduced damage, protection from the sun, and improved growth. However, there are no current studies that back up the claims of faster growth.
Faster hair growth sounds like a promise of hair follicles producing hair strands at a quicker pace, but there is no evidence of that from using coconut oil on the lengths or the scalp.
However, if we are talking about being able to get your hair to longer lengths by helping to make your hair less brittle and breaking off less from damage -- this may be a more likely possibility
Bottom line: There is no evidence confirming a faster rate of growth from using coconut oil, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other hair benefits.
One study showed that using coconut oil on the hair before or after washing can have an impact on reducing protein loss from the strands. Hair that has reduced protein can feel more damaged, dry, brittle, and be more prone to breakage. The researchers report that reduction in protein loss was found on both damaged and undamaged hair, meaning that coconut oil may improve the health of your hair whether you consider it to be damaged or not. In this study, coconut oil performed better than both mineral and sunflower oil when it came to reducing hair protein losses.
Another study showed that coconut oil does a pretty good job of penetrating into the shaft of the hairs, not just sitting on the surface. Since oil helps to repel water, this may help reduce the amount of water absorbed into the strands. Strands that absorb too much water go through a process of swelling, deswelling, and potential weakening of the hair. And, the more damaged hair is, the more water it tends to absorb.
Also, by accessing the shaft of the hair, coconut oil may help protect the hair from overly harsh surfactants in shampoos that can damage the internal structure of the hair by interfering with hydrogen bonds and salt linkages. Additionally, the coconut oil that is left on the surface of the hair can lubricate the strands externally and help prevent grooming-type damage from brushing and styling.
A 2021 study looked into if coconut oil can help with a healthy scalp microbiome, especially for those with dandruff. After taking fungal and bacterial scalp samples, researchers had 140 participants with and without dandruff apply coconut oil to their scalp daily, and checked the microbiome after 12 weeks of treatment (and 4 weeks after stopping treatment). The coconut oil appeared to adjust the microbiomes to flora which were more correlated with dandruff-free scalps.
More studies need to be done to confirm the benefits of using coconut oil on your hair and scalp, but these suggest benefits for people dealing with dandruff, improved strength, internal conditioning, as well as damage protection. This may show up as a healthier scalp, and shinier, silkier, stronger hair, that appears healthier and has less breakage long term.
Using coconut oil as a conditioning treatment for your hair is very simple, and it is unlikely to cause any issues from giving it a try.
The oil does not need to be combined with anything and can be directly applied to the scalp, lengths, and ends of your hair. The oil itself tends to be solid at room temperature, so you can warm it up slightly in the microwave until it is a liquid, or rub some between your palms to let your body heat melt it before applying.
Coconut oil can be applied to damp or dry hair. After applying the coconut oil to the areas of your hair or scalp you are trying to target, you can leave it on as a hair mask for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight.
To remove the coconut oil, rinse your hair with warm water and then shampoo and condition as usual.
To use coconut oil as a moisturizing leave-in treatment, you can apply a small amount to damp or dry hair to improve shine, silkiness, or reduce the appearance of frizz. However, apply coconut oil lightly when using it in this way as it may become too oily on certain types of hair very quickly.
If your skin and scalp are very sensitive, you may experience clogged pores and pimples from coconut oil. If you struggle with acne on your scalp or around your hairline, you may want to only apply coconut oil to the mids and ends of your hair as a hair treatment, before washing out thoroughly.
Here at Strut Health, we carry prescription medications meant to target reduced hair losses and potential hair growth in some patients.
We offer oral and topical formulations for men, and a topical compound for women, and can be customized to suit your hair needs. We utilize ingredients like Minoxidil, Finasteride, Dutasteride, and Spironolactone to target hair loss.
You can have a free online visit with our U.S. licensed doctors today to see if a prescription is a good choice for your hair concerns. If you are a good fit for treatment, your prescription can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping. If you have any questions or need adjustments during your treatment, our staff and doctors are available for free unlimited follow-ups.