Monday, February 11, 2013

Can Scalp Massage With Vegetable Oils Worsen Excessive Hair Fall Or Shedding? Possibly.

Much hype has been made about certain essential oils diluted in vegetable carrier oils, as a treatment for hair loss or to promote hair growth. Scientific research on the subject although promising is limited, or lacking.

While one hyped study indicated success with essential oils used to help treat alopecia areata, the condition can reverse without any treatment. Hypnotherapy worked best in another, somewhat questionable study, discussed in the link.

I wrote about scientific research on vegetable oils being ill advised used under certain conditions, here and in another post linked in that one.

I received emails from someone who had excessive shedding and had regularly been using vegetable oils for scalp massage and as a remedy, between hair washes. They live in a country of high climatic temperatures and humidity. One of the oils is an ayurvedic recipe in sesame and coconut oils and the other is pure coconut oil. Both oils were stored well before and after opening. There was no dandruff, or underlying medical causes for the excessive hair fall. Since this person has stopped the vegetable oil scalp massages and is using mineral oil baby oil for the moisturizing and conditioning of their hair, shedding has been significantly reduced.

Excessive shedding can be caused by a number of factors including: diet, hormone levels and stress. Scalp massage can result in more hair shedding than simple hair grooming because the scalp is manipulated, similar to the way it can be during hair washing. Such shedding is usually not excessive. In this case, scalp manipulation during massage was considered and not overly done. The scalp in question is on the dry side of normal and only a small amount of either vegetable oil was used.

There were no allergic reactions or sensitivity to the oils otherwise observed. I think that in degrading while on the scalp in the usually hot, humid climate, the vegetable oils caused the hair fall to worsen.

See Also
PubMed Health for "Alopecia areata", 2012
And this blog post