Coconut oil is one of the most popularly used oils for hair and skin care today. Available abundantly in tropical countries, this oil is very easily identifiable by its characteristic smell. Coconut oil is colourless and clear and has a very mild sweet taste, and it is used in cooking and in industrial processes as well. But how effective is coconut hair oil in the treatment of dandruff? This blog addresses exactly that. First, though, let us understand dandruff a little better.
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is one of the most common conditions of the hair that people around the world have. It is a condition which causes the skin on one’s scalp to form flakes. Dandruff is not a contagious or dangerous condition. However, it is an inconvenience and can even be embarrassing. It is also not very easy to treat.
As you would be familiar, the most obvious sign of dandruff are the all too recognisable white flakes that start appearing on your hair. These white flakes are made up of dead skin that come loose and often get stuck in your hair.
Other signs and symptoms of dandruff include the following:
- An itchy scalp
- Skin flakes on your scalp, hair or skin, eyebrows, beard, moustache or even your shoulders
- Dry or greasy scales on the scalp
- Darkish coloured scaly “bumps” along your hairline
But what are the causes and factors that affect the prevalence of dandruff? Dandruff can be caused by a number of reasons and be affected by numerous factors. Let’s take a look!
Malassezia is a type of fungus. Sometimes, dandruff is caused by this fungus. While you may be thinking that fungi are harmful, malassezia is actually a helpful fungus as it helps to break down oils in the skin. However, the problem happens when there is too much of this particular fungus. When that happens, there is a buildup of oleic acid on the skin, which can irritate the skin. This, in turn, leads to dry skin and dandruff.
2. Seborrheic Dermatitis
This is a skin condition that is characterised by especially bad dandruff. It is a chronic form of eczema that is observed to affect regions of the body from where the highest amounts of sebum (or “oil”) are secreted.
3. Contact Dermatitis
When an allergen or an irritant causes skin irritation that results in a rash that itches and may even become painful, the condition is known as contact dermatitis. With regard to dandruff, the part of the skin that is affected is the scalp. The American Academy of Dermatology Association has stated that contact dermatitis typically occurs because of hair care products or hair dyes.
4. Dry skin
Dry skin is very common during the cold winter months. In such a case, dandruff may be caused due to dry skin. Dandruff, when caused by dry skin, consists of generally smaller and less oily flakes than seborrheic dermatitis.
5. Oily skin
People who have skin that is naturally oily are more prone to developing dandruff as well as seborrheic dermatitis.
6. Bad or irregular shampooing routines
If hair is not washed or shampooed regularly, this habit can cause dandruff or worsen an already existing condition. If the gap between successive shampoo sessions is longer there will be a greater buildup of oil on the scalp, leading to dandruff.
Younger people, especially those during the age of puberty are more prone to dandruff than people in their middle ages. Dandruff generally has the highest prevalence among adolescents, and it is observed to peak around the age of 20, following which it gradually becomes less prevalent.
Dandruff is more prevalent among men than women. This is because the secretion of androgen hormones (like testosterone, for example) stimulate activity in the sebaceous glands. As a result, there is a significantly higher chance of an inflammatory response, and in turn, dandruff.
9. Reduced immunity
People with a weakened immune system are more likely to develop dandruff as well as seborrheic dermatitis. People who have undergone an organ transplant, or those having diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C or alcoholic pancreatitis are more prone to this condition.
10. Psychiatric and/or neurological conditions
Conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, epilepsy as well as traumatic brain injuries or injuries of the spinal cord increase the risk of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
11. Other skin conditions
If someone has other skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, they are more likely to develop dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis.
How can coconut oil help?
Coconut oil is an oil that is rich in several beneficial properties. It is an excellent oil for use on the hair and scalp, and it is known to be a highly effective moisturiser, in turn helping to promote healthier, stronger and well nourished hair. The fact that coconut oil is easily absorbed by the skin and hair makes it a very fitting choice for hair and skin care as well as repair.
Coconut oil has been an integral part of Ayurvedic traditions and practices, and has been shown to be effective in combating dandruff. It is well documented that coconut oil is a fantastic moisturiser and a deep hair conditioner. This oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, and it is helpful in sealing moisture into the skin. With its hydrating effects, coconut oil is an effective solution for itchiness as well as dryness. This in turn helps to reduce and eventually eliminate flaky skin on the scalp.
The widespread use of coconut oil in India is indicative of its capabilities. It has antimicrobial properties, chiefly due to the presence of lauric acid in the oil. It has also been seen that coconut oil helps to combat a host of other hair and skin conditions.
So should you use coconut oil to combat dandruff? We say a loud resounding yes! Just applying coconut oil once will not remove dandruff altogether. However, regular application is sure to bring you positive results!