Against dandruff, damaged hair and hair loss, we now know that we have an exceptional ally on our side, coconut oil! Yes, because coconut oil is able, through various mechanisms, to strengthen hair, stimulate its growth and nourish the good bacteria in the scalp, promoting the proliferation of bacteria associated with healthy, dandruff-free hair. This emerges from a recent research, published a few months ago in the Scientific Reports journal belonging to the Nature group by a team of Indian and French scientists (Saxena et al, Sci Rep, 2021).
The scalp also has a microbiome
Our scalp is populated by bacteria and fungi that form the scalp microbiome. When the microbiome is in balance, our hair is healthy. However, it can happen that under certain conditions certain bacteria and yeasts take over and cause an increase in the levels of inflammation, itching and the appearance of dandruff. Against dandruff, the treatments used today include specific shampoos and antifungal products. The problem with these products is that once the treatment is stopped, scalp problems and dandruff tend to return. That's why science is constantly looking for alternatives that can preserve the health of the scalp and prevent annoying itching and dandruff. Coconut oil has always been used in India and Africa for hair care as it is capable of repairing damaged hair, increasing skin hydration and counteracting inflammation and itching. As always, tradition anticipated science. In fact, as described in today's research, coconut oil is really a useful ally for the health of the scalp and hair. But let's understand better.
How coconut oil fights dandruff and hair loss, the study
The researchers recruited 140 people, including 70 with dandruff and itchiness and 70 with a healthy scalp. For three months, all study participants applied 10 ml of coconut oil to their scalp twice a week, massaging it for 20 minutes and then leaving it on for two hours. Then the coconut oil was removed using a neutral shampoo. After three months, for the following month, the volunteers only washed their hair twice a week with neutral shampoo without applying coconut oil. At the beginning and at the end of the experiment, the scientists studied the composition of the microbiome of the volunteers' scalp. What emerged was that coconut oil was able to reduce the presence of Malassezia-type yeasts associated with dandruff. Not only that, thanks to the action of the lauric acid contained in coconut oil, this vegetable oil was also able to stimulate the growth and proliferation of the good bacteria of the microbiome, counteracting dandruff and itching in those who had dandruff at the beginning of the experiment and preserving the health of the scalp in the other cases. It was also very interesting to note that coconut oil was able to stimulate the formation processes of biotin. Biotin is essential for the health of the skin and scalp, reduces inflammation and improves the skin barrier and hair growth.