We’ve all heard our Nani- say Champi kar lo baal lambe ho jayenge, if only hair growth was that easy! Scientifically, hair growth occurs in stages. One single strand of hair passes through 4 stages of hair growth before falling off. Moreover, hair growth is dependent on your eating habits, stress levels, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, sleep patterns and your lifestyle choices. Expecting one single oil or technique to help you grow your hair is wrong in itself. But that doesn’t mean this technique should be discarded. Oiling your hair is an age old technique, a common practice in most Indian households and an important part of the hair care regimen. Read ahead as Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, Dermatologist and Hair Specialist at Traya Health debunks some common myths about hair oiling in this article.
Myth #1: Apply the oil overnight for best results
Fact : The most common belief amongst people is that oiling your hair overnight will help the oil absorb better. But did you know that most oils, especially essential oils have the ability to quickly absorb through the scalp making them the most effective treatment for your follicles. Traya’s dermatologist Dr. Sarna suggests that leaving the oil for about 1-2 hours is enough for it to condition your hair. Leaving it on for longer hours can actually attract dirt and pollen therefore making it difficult to wash the oil off. She also goes on to say that those with skin problems or issues should stay off overnight oiling as it can exacerbate their condition.
Myth #2: Oiling hair makes it grow faster, healthier and thicker
Fact: Dr Sarna mentions that oiling hair for hair growth is nothing but just a pure myth. Regular application of oil to the hair can aid in nourishing the hair but cannot promote hair growth. Be it coconut or onion oil, all they do is act as a conditioner and cannot cause faster hair growth. They form a protective layer over the hair shaft and protect it from external damage like pollution. Dr Sarna mentions that oils reduce frizz and dryness while adding a shine to your mane. The technique of massaging the hair increases the blood circulation to the scalp and brings the essential nutrients to the scalp.
Myth #3: Oiling is only for the scalp
Fact: If you’ve ever just applied oil to the scalp, you’re doing it wrong. Think about it, your scalp produces natural oils (sebum) that keeps the scalp moisturised and nourished. The rest of the hair strands lack this hydration and hence get dry, frizzy and prone to hair breakage. And although, hair massaging is great for your scalp as it boosts blood circulation. Dr. Sarna suggests applying your hair oil 4 to 5 inches away from the hair root. She also recommends applying a customised oil so as to get the most out of your champi session.
Myth #4: Oiling your hair reduces dandruff
Fact: In our country, dandruff is a common problem affecting every other Indian. May it be seasonal or chronic dandruff, it is instinctive for you to grab a bottle of oil. The reason being, dry scalp requires moisture, right? But this is exactly where you falter. Dr. Sarna explains, dandruff is caused due to the presence of fungus on your scalp, disrupted sebum production or overusing styling or heating products. Oiling your scalp in order to get rid of dandruff might actually worsen your situation. Instead, look for medicated shampoos and lotions with ingredients like ketoconazole or consult with a dermat for your condition.
MYTH #5 : Oiling is beneficial for all scalp types
Fact: Although a good hair massage soothes the nerves, it is just the massage that is helping you relax and not the hair oil. Dr. Sarna suggests that you should either have a light or heavy oil treatment depending on your scalp type. People with an oily scalp should either opt for a light oil treatment by applying very little oil once every week or avoid using hair oils since accumulation of excessive oils can block the hair follicles and eventually cause hair loss. She also recommends that people with a dry scalp type choose a more heavy oil treatment but this should be done only after consulting with a dermatologist who will help you identify your scalp condition.
Hair oiling is an effective technique and although there has been a lot of misinformation circulating around this topic, it is actually helpful in managing healthy hair. It helps increase the tensile strength of the hair making it dense, it also protects the hair from damage caused by styling or heating products. The oil is effective in coating the entire length of your hair strand and prevents breakage, moisturizes and nourishes the hair. Lastly, it boosts blood circulation to the scalp thereby improving follicle health and resulting in healthier growth. No, a hair champi will not grow your hair, but regular practice along with a healthier lifestyle and proper hair management regime will help in improved quality of hair growth.
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