[dropcap]C[/dropcap]an the hair growth oils really contribute to make the hair grow faster? Yeah, it is the million dollar question. Every day the beauty and cosmetic industry is investing huge amount to money to create attractive advertisements on the media to attract people who are suffering from hair related problems like hair dryness, baldness, hair fall, scalp itching, hair split-end, etc. These hair-brands promise that their hair oil products will resolve the hair problems and help to grow hair faster.
On the other hand, according to the dermatologists and hair experts, resolution of the most common hair problems can be possible through a range of initiatives, such as, taking balanced diet regularly enriched with hair vitamins; taking hair vitamin supplements; nourishing the hair with herbs; doing some exercises regularly; applying some home remedies for hair growth; regular scalp treatments; special hair care during the night; washing hair in the right way; consulting with a hair specialist to treat any hair problem using medical procedure; following effective hair care tips suggested by the hair experts; etc.
However, among all of these methods hair oils are frequently applied to hair both directly and in the form ingredients in hair-treatments. This article specially focuses on the effectiveness of the natural hair growth oils in the journey to faster hair growth. Here we will also discuss upon some myths and facts regarding what the hair nourishing oils can do and can’t do for the health and growth of natural hair.
The structure of hair
Hair is composed of one kind of protein, which is termed as keratin. This Keratin is composed of three core layers. Those are: medulla, cortex and cuticle. The central layer of the hair shaft is termed as the medulla. This medulla layer is composed of circular shape cells, which can be appeared as empty sometimes. The second and middle layer of a hair strand is termed as the cortex. This cortex layer is composed of many cells, which builds the biggest share of the hair shaft. The cells are joined closely together. This cortex layer provides support and strength to the hair shaft. The outside and third layer of a hair strand is termed as the cuticle. This layer is almost similar to the nail cuticle. Interestingly, the cuticle layer of the hair shaft serves like a ‘protectant’, as it tries to protect the other two (medulla and cortex) inner layers that forms the hair shaft. However, the cuticle layer of the hair is not fairly visible.
The skin is composed of two layers. The outside layer is termed as Epidermis; the inner layer is termed as Dermis. The hair shafts grow from the hair follicles. The hair follicle refers to a bulb shape area generated from the dermis layer.
The hair follicle is composed of several layers. Those are: papilla, matrix, root sheath and bulge. The center layer of the bulb area is termed as the papilla. This papilla layer usually bears an ovoid/pear shape. This layer is composed connective tissue as well as capillary loops. The papilla contains blood vessels that supply oxygen as well as essential nutrients to the cells of the hair shaft. The matrix layer wraps the papilla. The hair matrix is composed of epithelial cells that are spread over the melanocyte cells. These cells are also known as pigment-producing cells. The matrix layer produces cells that build up the major portions of a hair fiber as well as the internal root sheath layer. The root sheath layer of hair is made up of two layers: external root sheath layer & internal root sheath layer. The external layer of root sheath is composed of cuboid shape cells that appear empty. The bulge layer is located in the external layer of root sheath, which is close to the arrector pili type muscle. The bulge layer is composed of stem cells that produce new cells for the whole hair follicle and heal the epidermis layer if the skin/scalp somehow gets wounded.
Secretion of natural oil to nourish hair
Sebum is the natural oil that secrets from a special kind of glands spread around the hair shafts. These glands are termed as sebaceous gland. These Sebaceous glands are linked to the base of the hair follicles under the scalp area. The cells of the sebaceous glands produce and eject the sebum. The sebum oil can reach to the scalp-surface through the hair follicles. This natural oil provides a range of benefit to the hair. The Sebum oil moisturizes the hair naturally. Moreover, this natural oil prevents hygral fatigue of the hair by shielding the moisture to the hair shafts. Sebum lubricates the hair naturally that prevents scalp-dryness as well as scalp-itching issues. It also removes the layer of dead cells from both the hair follicles and the scalp that prevents the hair from the attack of bacteria, Dandruff, fungi, etc. On the whole Sebum contributes to keep the scalp and the hair shafts healthy from the inner side, which accelerates the natural process to grow hair faster.
Common myths about hair growth oils
We have lots of misconceptions regarding the power of the hair oils.
Hair oil can provide total nourishment to hair
The eye catching advertisements of the hair growth oil products often try to convince us that hair oils nourishes the hair and makes the hair-shafts grow thicker, longer, darker and healthier. However, it is not completely true. The external applications of hair oil can not nourish the hair fully and contribute to faster hair growth. The most significant reason behind this is, a hair shaft is a lifeless element without the scalp-attachment.
Hair oils can make hair (all types) permanently shiny
The beautiful models charms us with their spectacular shiny and lustrous hair in the advertisements of the hair growth oil. But the reality is quite different. The truth is when hair nourishing oils are applied to the hair-shafts, the traces or hair locks become greasy, which makes the hair look shiny. Actually, the particles of the hair-oil shine not the hair.
Hair oil can totally prevent hair fall
The hair-brands often claim that hair oil products produced by their companies can effectively reduce the hair fall. But the fact is, the hair oil massages can neither stop the hair fall issue; nor contribute solely to grow hair faster . Conversely, the chemical-based hair growth oils make the hair greasy. And greasy hair easily catches dust particles, which can make the hair an easier breeding ground of bacterial, viral as well as fungal infections.
Hair oil moisturizes the hair
From our childhood we are told by our grandmothers and mothers to apply oil to the hair to keep it moisturized and lively. We often do this due to the age-old misconception that hair growth oil is absorbed by the hair. But in reality, the hair oil acts in a different way. The hair shafts cannot absorb the hair oil particles technically, rather the oil particles put a coating over the hair. Therefore, the hair is unable to absorb the particles of hair oil.
Some true facts about hair oils
Reading the above sections, several questions might have arisen in your mind. Are the hair growth oils totally useless? Can the hair oils contribute to grow hair faster? Are we being cheated by the eye-washing advertisements of the hair-brands? Should we stop applying the hair nourishing oils? To get your answers, read the following sections.
Special qualities of hair growth oils
Different natural hair growth oils have different amazing properties that benefit the hair. For instance, the Coconut oil contains saturated fat contents. These elements can reduce secretion of the enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme accelerates the process of baldness by catalyzing the testosterone hormone into the DHT. Furthermore, the saturated fat contents can prevent the secretion of a sticky substance called lipoprotein(a), which is responsible for the hair loss problem. Tea tree oil offers anti-bacterial properties that checks the Dandruff, lice and fungal issues in scalp and hair.
Sebum is not enough to care the long hair
Though the Sebum serves as a natural hair growth oil, but it can work only internally. Moreover, when the length of your hair exceeds the shoulder, the sebum falls short to keep the hair healthy, shiny and lively. For this reason the long hair often faces diverse hair issues, like dryness, brittleness, split-ends, etc. compared to the short hair. Therefore, to keep your long hair away from these unhealthy conditions, you can use naturals oils for hair growth as well as scalp treatment.
Hair oil serves as a moisture-shield
The hair growth oil can serve as an effective conditioner to the hair as well as scalp. In daily life, the hair-moisture is often dried out due to diverse reasons such as, excess sun-heat, environmental pollution; etc. Application of the hair nourishing oil can create coatings upon the hair shafts. These coatings retain moisture to both the hair and scalp. Adequate moisture keeps the hair healthy that contributes to grow hair faster.
Hair oil cools the nerves
Regular scalp massages with mild warm hair oil will keep you relaxed. Because the scalp and hair massage can soothe the nerves and keep the brain cool. Moreover, this massage can stimulate the circulation of blood in the scalp cells that makes the scalp healthy. And the healthy scalp is the pre-condition to make the hair grow faster.
Hair oil makes the hair lively
As we have discussed earlier that the outside layer of a hair-shaft is scaly. When the hair growth oils are applied, the particles of oil coats the hair-shaft. In other words, the oil particles get attached to the cracks, holes and uneven surface of the hair shafts. The crusty surface of the hair cuticle allows the oil particles to penetrate inside the hair and slide down to the hair follicle. Therefore, a good hair nourishing oil can reduce the dryness of the hair-shafts; reduce broken-hair issues and make the hair look lively. Broken and dry hair always prohibit the process of natural growth of hair.
Hair growth oil serves as a protein shield
Approximately about 91% of the hair is made up of protein. This protein is composed of amino acids. The long chains of amino acids are connected to each other by peptide bonds. This protein gets damaged due to the effect of environmental pollutants, dust particles, chemical-based hair products, excess exposure sun-heat, etc. If you apply a natural hair oil over the hair regularly, the oil particles serve as protein-shields to the hair-shafts and reduce the loss of protein from the hair. Hair-protein is an essential factor to speedy hair growth.
How to apply Hair oils to make hair grow faster?
- The hair experts suggest to scalp-massage using hair nourishing oil. During the night, apply warm hair oil for the scalp and hair massage. Then, keep the oil for minimum eight hours and wash the hair with lukewarm along with shampoo in the morning. However, the scalp should be cleansed before the application of oil massage.
- After the scalp massage, you can wrap the hair using a towel. It is recommended to soak the towel with hot water and wrap around the head for around 15-20 minutes. This process moisturizes the hair.
- If your hair is normally healthy, then you can take light hair-treatment on a regular basis. On the other hand, if the hair is very dry and rough, then you can take heavy treatment with hair growth oil mixtures considering the type of your hair. It will accelerate the natural process to grow hair faster.
- To condition the hair naturally, you can also take hot-oil hair treatment. At first, warm the oil slightly. Then apply the hair growth oil treatment on the hair in a mild way and let the oil particles sit on the hair for about 10-15 minutes. After that wash the hair properly with shampoo. The natural hair oil can serve as a natural conditioner and make your hair smooth, silky and lively.
- While massaging the scalp and hair with a hair nourishing oil, don’t do it in a rough manner. You have to remember that rough and harsh massage can break the hair and lead towards hair split ends. Therefore, massage the scalp and hair carefully and mildly. The right application of hair growth oils can make the hair healthy and aid in faster hair growth.
- http://designessentials.com/professionals/education/hair-basics/hair-composition/ (Retrieved on 03/05/2015).
- Lin, K. K.; Andersen, B. (2008). “Have Hair Follicle Stem Cells Shed Their Tranquil Image?”. Cell Stem Cell 3 (6): 581–582.doi:10.1016/j.stem.2008.11.005. PMID 19041772.
- Chang, L (2009). The World of Hair, A Scientific Companion by Dr. John Gray, Macmillan Press Limited, 1977, pp. 23-24.
- Pawlina, Wojciech; Ross, Michael W.; Kaye, Gordon I. (2003). Histology: a text and atlas: with cell and molecular biology. Hagerstown, Maryland: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-683-30242-6.
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