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5 Ways Olive Oil Improves Hair Health

The very healthy olive oil is not just beneficial for the overall health of the body or the skin, the topical application of the oil is found to benefit hair growth and to keep the strands long and shining as well. The antioxidant qualities of the oil prevent oxidative damage, improving the cellular function of the body resulting in healthier hair with no hair fall. The beneficial fatty acids in the oil keep the scalp and hair moisturized. The oil is also found to protect hair from sun damage and help in lice prevention.

It’s no secret that men and women in the Mediterranean region have lush shiny hair. Some of it is obviously their genetic makeup, but a lot of the credit goes to olive oil, which is an essential part of their cuisine. Olive oil, which is mainly the fat extracted from the olive fruit by pressing, is rich in phenols1 that are powerful antioxidants that make it a super healthy oil. It makes your heart healthy and lowers your risks for certain cancers.2

In fact, according to a study on the levels of antioxidants in olive oil, phenols or phenolic compounds including phenolic acid, polyphenols like flavonoids, were found to be the most important antioxidants in olive oil.3 So how does that help our scalp and hair? Here’s how.

1. Soft, Shiny Strands

The phenols help in preventing oxidative damage caused by free radicals in our body. The antioxidants present in olive oil protect against oxidative stress and the DNA-level damage caused by free radicals to improve the overall cellular function of our body.4

In fact, research shows that when you apply the serum with natural antioxidants to your hair strands, it not only protects your hair from UV rays but also improves the overall texture, color, and shine in your strands.5

2. Hair And Scalp Moisturizer

We already know that olive oil is a rich source of fatty acids which is essential for improving our skin and hair structure. It contains tocopherol or vitamin E and fatty acids like palmitic acid, stearic acid, and linoleic acid 6 that form a protective layer around the strands and prevent moisture loss. Olive oil has a strong permeability and for this reason, it can effectively moisturize hair follicles. 7

In fact, one of the great ways to ensure hair is protected and remains soft is to massage your scalp and hair once or twice a week with olive oil. Olive oil works for most hair types, except maybe those with very fine hair. It is a great oil for those with frizzy or extremely rough, and curly hair.

3. Protection From Sun Damage

So whether you are including olive oil in your diet or applying topically, it is very beneficial for your body. According to a study done on mice, topical application of olive oil on skin was found to have a protective effect on prolonged UVB radiation from the sun. Extra virgin olive oil actually reduces the inflammation caused by sun exposure by forming a protective layer on the areas applied.8 Since scalp is an extension of the skin, when you apply olive oil on your scalp, you protect the hair roots, and scalp from getting affected by cancer-causing UV rays.

4. No To Hair Fall

Olive oil application and even consumption reduce oxidative stress on the skin and hair that causes aging. Hair loss is one of the effects of oxidative stress on our body. However, when you use olive oil mixed with natural hair growth actives like hibiscus, gooseberry, fenugreek and Brahmi, you can see follicular growth and reduction in hair loss. In an herbal hair oil preparation with olive oil as the base oil and natural extracts of hibiscus and fenugreek are boiled with it, the resultant oil is found to be a potent hair growth activator, as shown in a paper published in the Journal of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Research.9

5. See The Last Of Lice

Lice infestation in hair is a major concern, especially for parents of school going children. You can try the olive oil treatment to kill the lice. The suffocation treatment calls for applying warm olive oil to infested hair and scalp and then covering the head with a plastic shower cap for a prolonged period of time. Though the suffocation treatment is useful to a great extent, it is found that it may not have the desired effect if left on the hair for less than 12 hours. The study on the treatment, published in Pediatric Drugs Journal, shows that using olive oil as a suffocating agent (for 12 hours a day) can actually kill a considerable number of lice if the treatment is continued for two to three days.10 Olive oil application, however, makes it easy to run a lice comb through the hair to capture even the last living lice on the hair.

How To Apply Olive Oil On The Hair

One of the best ways to apply olive oil is applying it warm to middling hot. You need about two tablespoons of olive oil to cover your scalp and smooth through your hair. When you massage the scalp with hot oil, it stimulates the roots and helps in improving blood circulation to the scalp. It dilates the blood vessels in your scalp ensuring better blood flow to the roots, which in turn help in hair growth. Clinical study shows that daily scalp massage can actually help in hair growth and its health.11.

Olive oil is one of the healthiest oil available. Make the most of this wonder oil by not just adding it to food but applying it on the skin and hair, too.

References   [ + ]

1. Morelló, José-Ramón, Satu Vuorela, Maria-Paz Romero, Maria-José Motilva, and Marina Heinonen. “Antioxidant activity of olive pulp and olive oil phenolic compounds of the Arbequina cultivar.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 53, no. 6 (2005): 2002-2008.
2. Visioli, Francesco, Andrea Poli, and Claudio Gall. “Antioxidant and other biological activities of phenols from olives and olive oil.” Medicinal research reviews 22, no. 1 (2002): 65-75.
3. Servili, M., Baldioli, M., Selvaggini, R. et al. J Amer Oil Chem Soc (1999) 76: 873. doi:10.1007/s11746-999-0079-2
4. Cicerale, Sara, Lisa Lucas, and Russell Keast. “Biological activities of phenolic compounds present in virgin olive oil.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 11, no. 2 (2010): 458-479.
5. Fernández, Estibalitz, Blanca Martínez-Teipel, Ricard Armengol, Clara Barba, and Luisa Coderch. “Efficacy of antioxidants in human hair.” Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology 117 (2012): 146-156.
6. Boskou, Dimitrios, Georgios Blekas, and Maria Tsimidou. “Olive oil composition.” Olive oil: Chemistry and technology 1996 (1996): 52-83.
7. ”Hair conditioner comprising olive oil and derivatives of olive oil and preparation method of hair conditioner”U.S. Patent Application CN 201210230450, filed 4 Jul 2012.
8. Budiyanto, Arief, Nazim U. Ahmed, An Wu, Toshinori Bito, Osamu Nikaido, Toshihiko Osawa, Masato Ueda, and Masamitsu Ichihashi. “Protective effect of topically applied olive oil against photocarcinogenesis following UVB exposure of mice.” Carcinogenesis 21, no. 11 (2000): 2085-2090.
9. Banerjee, Pooja S., Megha Sharma, and Rajesh Kumar Nema. “Preparation, evaluation and hair growth stimulating activity of herbal hair oil.” J Chem Pharm Res 1 (2009): 261-267.
10. Mumcuoglu, Kosta Y. “Prevention and treatment of head lice in children.” Pediatric Drugs 1, no. 3 (1999): 211-218.
11. The benefits of scalp massage for hair loss. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.