A head full of thick, lustrous hair is what most people want and admire. Unfortunately, many people find their hair is not as thick as they would like. As the years go by, hair loss can become a problem, accelerated by illnesses, medications and aging. Use of olive oil has been a trusted home remedy, but there is no evidence it will help hair grow thicker.
About Hair Follicles and Hair Growth
To understand how something could be used to stimulate hair growth, it helps to have basic knowledge of hair follicles and how the hair grows. Formation of hair follicles begins long before birth; no new hair follicles are formed after birth. Hair growth is cyclic, with periods of rest between growth spurts. About 50 to 100 hairs are shed daily. Hair growth occurs in the base of the bulb of the hair follicle. A buildup of sebum can slow the formation of hair cells. Additionally, poor diet can result in a vitamin deficiency that can lead to thinning of the hair.
Causes Of Hair Loss
Hair loss can be caused by alopecia and hair shaft disorders. Alopecia can be related to various types of skin disorders, diseases or infections, certain drugs, or even pulling your hair out. Hair shaft disorders are usually caused by overprocessing the hair, but are sometimes related to certain diseases.
How Olive Oil is Used
Olive oil has been used by both men and women to combat hair loss and to strengthen the hair. To reduce symptoms of hair loss, good nutrition is recommended; this includes use of healthy oils such as olive oil, which contains essential vitamins and nutrients. Olive oil can be used in food preparation, as a food ingredient, consumed straight up in small amounts, or applied as a topical solution.
Olive Oil Treatments
One home remedy for hair loss is simply to drink a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil every day. Another suggestion is a nighttime regimen. Apply olive oil to the scalp and cover the head with a scarf or bandanna. Shampoo the oil out the next morning. This treatment might help to remove sebum that can build up and inhibit hair growth.
Other suggestions include mixtures of olive oil with other essential oils. One treatment recommends massaging in a mixture of a few drops each of peppermint, rosemary and sage with 1 tbsp of olive oil once or twice daily. Another home remedy is made with 3 drops cedar, 2 drops clary sage, 2 drops lemon and 3 drops rosemary to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. This application should be massaged into the scalp and shampooed out after an hour.
Summary and Conclusions
Olive oil's vitamins and nutrients might help make hair strands thicker, which gives the appearance of a fuller head of hair. Scalp treatments with the oil can be used to remove sebum buildup, which is sometimes responsible for slowed hair growth. Olive oil is also an excellent addition to a healthy diet; proper nutrition helps to ensure better overall health, including the health of skin and hair.
Although olive oil is commonly used as a home remedy for hair growth, no major studies have concluded that olive oil is effective. In fact, one study conducted at Teikyo University School of Medicine showed conclusively that treating a control group of nude mice with olive oil alone did not produce hair growth.
Debbie Allen has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. She has numerous books published and a background in psychiatric nursing, nurse education and organizational development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Spalding University and attended the University of Louisville.