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Can coconut oil boost hair health or is it just a myth?

In the last couple of years, coconut oil’s popularity as a health supplement in skincare products has gone to a whole new level. Today, coconut oil is used in a variety of skincare products such as conditioners and shampoos. Besides being integral to skincare products, coconut oil is also part of hair-growth regimens and treatments for quite a long time.

But coconut oil’s exploding popularity can’t just be credited to well-designed marketing campaigns. Why? Well, because there’s a growing body of scientific evidence proving that if coconut oil is used properly, it’ll maintain your hair health.

Nonetheless, there are even claims that coconut oil can prevent hair loss — but the validity of this sort of claim may not be completely accurate. So, in this explainer, we’re going to give a rundown on the science behind the coconut oil’s effectiveness as a product boosting hair health and preventing hair loss. We’ll even dive deep into exploring how coconut oil can do everything from reversing or treating hair damage to preventing or slowing down hair loss.

How does coconut oil boost hair health?

Googling “coconut oil hair” will give you pages having interesting reads that explain how the oil improves the thickness, health and overall strength of hair. In the last decade, coconut oil has become an important and popular ingredient in a range of shampoos and health foods. Even though all the nutritional advantages of coconut oil are still debatable, many people agree that coconut oil is amazing for your hair.

The thing is, the science connecting coconut oil with hair health doesn’t sometimes match all the claims you may see in magazines or blogs. As a matter of fact, there’s little science backing the claims bridging coconut oil with hair health.

Up next, let’s look at proven scientific facts that connect coconut oil with hair health. 

Coconut oil and damaged hair

Coconut oil is marketed as a haircare product that helps stop — and, in some cases, even reverse — the hair damage caused by saltwater, sun exposure and hair-styling merchandise. And there’s research data that even supports these claims.

A study done in 2003 discovered that haircare treatments having coconut oil could help promote hair health. The study found that coconut oil must be used as a pre- and post-wash grooming product instead of sunflower oil or mineral oil. 

In the same study, the participants who regularly used coconut oil showed the lowest rate at which hair protein was lost. For your information, protein loss is one of the most common issues for anyone who often heats, straightens, or stylizes their hair. It’s also observed that the level of hair protein goes down among those who use hair treatments that have products other than coconut oil. 

Many scientists have speculated that coconut oil promotes hair health because it has a triglyceride belonging to lauric acid. Now, this triglyceride sits well with hair proteins that allow it to travel deep in the hair shaft — that’s something that doesn’t commonly happen with other oils.

Well, then, does that mean coconut oil is the silver bullet for every hair-health problem out there? Not exactly. Many advocates of coconut oil claim that it’s a cure-all for any kind of hair-related issues. But that’s not true.


Does coconut oil promote hair growth?

One common claim is that coconut oil accelerates hair growth. Unlike the claim that coconut oil improves hair health, there’s little scientific evidence to support the idea that coconut oil speeds up hair growth.

Many claims making the rounds online are unsourced with just a few articles having the content that links to scientific data, and the lack of scientific data means that something about coconut-oil claims isn’t true or proven yet. Which is exactly why, it’ll be skeptical if you see a self-proclaimed health guru or blogger claiming that coconut oil promotes hair growth.


Does coconut oil prevent hair loss?

Similar to hair growth, it’s quite common to discover a bunch of non-authentic claims about how coconut oil helps prevent hair loss. Some blogs even go as far as recommending that oil application is as effective as minoxidil and other topical medications.

There’s scientific proof explaining that coconut oil can bring down hair’s protein-loss levels. But there’s no evidence to back that coconut oil is effective to combat male pattern baldness, which is commonly caused by a spike in dihydrotestosterone or DHT hormones.

Despite the fact that there’s no study connecting coconut oil preventing baldness, people haven’t really stopped from making claims about the oil’s ability to stop hair loss. The internet is packed with articles that link the study of coconut oil preventing the loss of hair protein with actual hair loss, which is an entirely different thing. 

But a lack of evidence doesn’t mean that something is false — it’s just that there’s no real scientific study right now backing the claim that coconut oil can prevent hair loss. That means everything related to the oil preventing hair loss is only a speculation as of now.


Using coconut oil for hair treatment?

Today, you can find shampoos, conditioners and other hair care products having coconut oil as a chief ingredient. Besides, coconut oil is pleasant to smell and gives your hair a shiny, slick look. And, by and large, using coconut oil in hair care products is safe, provided that you follow the instructions to use them by the book.

Just remember that there’s no scientific study that can claim the use of coconut oil as a definitive hair-loss treatment right now, and because of this, it’s best not to make coconut oil as a medically surefire way of re-growing your hair or reversing the hair-loss effects.


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