If you search the Internet, there are literally hundreds of hair loss remedies and treatments that claim to help reduce or prevent hair loss. Unfortunately, the majority of these treatments yield no results because these treatments do not address the primary cause of hair loss for most people. Coconut oil will not help prevent hair loss because it too does not affect the primary cause of hair loss for most people, which is dihydrotestosterone, often referred to as DHT. At best, coconut oil can serve as a moisturizing conditioner for your scalp.
Coconut Oil for Hair Loss
Dr. William Rassman, hair restoration physician and senior member of the American Hair Loss Association, explains that coconut oil has no association with preventing hair loss. Rassman says that coconut oil may "smell nice" and be a reasonably effective treatment for dry scalp, but it will not prevent hair loss. There are claims that a "scalp massage" can increase blood flow to your hair follicles and prevent hair loss. This is not true. Hair loss is nearly always the result of a genetic susceptibility to DHT according to Dr. Victor Hasson, hair restoration surgeon and member of the international alliance for hair restoration surgeons. Conditions such as dry scalp or inadequate scalp blood flow are not the cause of 99 percent in hair loss cases.
Primary Cause of Hair Loss
The primary cause of hair loss involves a genetic predisposition to androgenic alopecia and the presence of the hormone DHT according to Dr. Hasson. This is true for nearly all cases of male pattern baldness. Female alopecia or pattern baldness is not as well understood but DHT is still thought to the main contributor to hair loss in females. DHT attaches to hair follicles and progressively shrinks them over time. This leaves an appearance of finer and thinner hair. Coconut oil, consumed orally or applied topically, is ineffective for preventing hair loss because it does not address the genetic element or DHT hormonal pathway that cause the majority of hair loss cases.
FDA Approved Treatments
Despite the hundreds of products and treatments sold to prevent hair loss, only two treatments are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: finasteride and minoxidil. Finasteride is available by prescription and is only for men. Finasteride reduces the amount of DHT in your body. By lowering your levels of DHT, the primary hormone involved in hair loss, hair loss to follicles prone to androgenic alopecia can be prevented. Minoxidil is available over the counter and can be used by both men and women. Minoxidil is a topical solution that may help stimulate hair growth, but is best suited for less advanced cases of baldness, according to Dr. Hasson.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you think you are experiencing hair loss, you should speak with your doctor. It is most often a natural part of aging rather than a sign of a serious medical condition. Hair loss can, however, be very distressing for some people. As Dr. Robert Bernstein, hair restoration physician and professor at Columbia University in New York, explains, just because you are losing a lot of hair does not mean you are experiencing permanent hair loss. Permanent hair loss is the result of hair follicles that have shrunk and hairs being miniaturized, not simply the shedding of the hair shaft. There are several surgical and nonsurgical options for restoring your hair that you can discuss with your doctor.
- HassonandWong: Top 5 Hair Loss FAQ; Dr. Victor Hasson, Dr. Jerry Wong
- BaldingBlog: Coconut Oil Head Massage; Dr. William Rassman; October 2010
- BernsteinMedical: Hair Loss Myths
- BernsteinMedical: Causes of Hair Loss in Men
- BernsteinMedical: Causes of Hair Loss in Women
- BaldingBlog: Mustard and Coconut Oils for Hair?; Dr. William Rassman; October 2008