Mineral Oil For Hair: Benefits, Side Effects & Ways To Use 2023
Hair is an important social aspect of appearance for men and women. Hair is also important as a layer of protection and thermoregulation and helps regulate moisture.
Everyone wants the best hair care products, the quickest hair care routine, and damaged hair gone. You probably have a ton of hair care products in your bathroom, too.
The reality is that beautiful hair can be a sign of health and cleanliness and contribute to good looks. That’s why hair cosmetics like shampoos, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and mineral oils are often used to maintain hair health.
Mineral oils are common go-to hair products to manage hair and scalp health. Its higher spreadability improves hair gloss and ease of combing, which reduces hair breaking.
There’s research on mineral oil and skin health but less on the effects of mineral oil and hair care. Read on for what is known about mineral oil for hair and to get the answer to your question, “Is mineral oil good for your hair?”
Is Mineral Oil Good For Your Hair?
Mineral oil works to
- Moisturize hair.
- Soothe the scalp.
- Reduce dandruff.
- Provide a protective barrier to the hair.
- Limit hair breakage.
What Is Mineral Oil?
Mineral oil is the by-product of oil from making gasoline. But don’t worry; it’s clear, odorless, and nothing like gasoline.
Of course, this begs the question, “Is mineral oil bad for hair? Should I be putting gasoline by-products in my hair?”
The mineral oil for cosmetic and hair products is highly purified, sourced from petroleum, and deemed usable as a skin protectant by the FDA. It is considered safe as a topical application for hair and skin care. A good moisturizing agent that is safe for your hair and skin.
Some oils do come with fragrances, like baby oil. Oils with fragrance may cause discomfort for people sensitive to fragrance smell or skin sensitivities.
Benefits Of Mineral Oil For Hair
Mineral oil can be beneficial in several ways; it can moisturize your hair, soothe the scalp, reduce dandruff, give a barrier of protection to the hair, and limit hair breakage.
Hydrates Skin And Hair
Regarding hair, mineral oil uses for hair products are not heavily researched. Still, there is some evidence that hair strands can absorb mineral oil better than vegetable oils.
Applying mineral oil to the hair causes a reduction in the amount of water your hair can absorb because the oil does not lay on the hair’s surface, being well absorbed, thus minimizing swelling of the hair shaft as water cannot get in.
Repeated swelling and drying, leading to a lack of hydration, will damage all hair types.
Prevents Hair Damage
No matter your hair type, thin or thick, mineral oil has the potential for hair damage prevention due to its hydrophobic properties — meaning that mineral oil repels water and can minimize the amount of water that the hair absorbs, as mentioned above.
Constant water, like swimming or overwashing, and exposure to dry environments can cause unhealthy-looking hair. Mineral oil is known best for preventing damaged split ends and giving hair a glossy shine.
Promotes Hair Growth
Some products claim that mineral oil may improve hair growth, but there isn’t research to support this claim. There are FDA-approved products for hair loss, but they are not mineral oil. Other over-the-counter products are natural products and also don’t have much research indicating they’re effective.
Soothes Scalp Issues
Mineral oil can’t help with hair loss, but it might soothe the itchy, dry scalp that comes with dandruff. It’s actually part of the seborrheic dermatitis spectrum that affects the skin, and it only affects the scalp.
Anyone that suffers from this experiences scalp irritation and flakes that linger on the hair strands and shoulders. Using mineral oil helps moisten the scalp, limits irritation, and minimizes embarrassment.
Of course, seborrheic dermatitis isn’t always solved with mineral oil. In some instances, other treatments can include topical antifungal or anti-inflammatory agents because the scalp isn’t always just irritated but can be affected by a yeast infection or inflammation of cells.
Treats Head Lice
A less common benefit of mineral oil is its use as a treatment for head lice; it can help thoroughly coat the louse, and prevent water excretion, hence killing it.
Side Effects Of Mineral Oil
Mineral oil in cosmetics and hair care products is considered relatively safe thanks to the purification process. Because mineral oil doesn’t penetrate the skin, it isn’t absorbed into the body and is safe.
Some possible side effects may be related to the skin, like scalp irritation or itching. However, irritation was noted in animal studies of mice, a population group tending to have more permeable skin. However, this is a historical study; no recent studies have looked into mineral oil irritating the skin.
There aren’t any reported allergic reactions noted, and any research related to allergic reactions is not present.
Ways To Use Mineral Oil For Hair Effectively
The research is limited. Still, the idea is to apply mineral oil products to repel water, help maintain moisture, and help limit water absorption into the hair.
Some suggestions to obtain mineral oil benefits are to wash your hair with cold water and use the mineral oil product right after washing your hair. Apply about 1 tablespoon of mineral oil on the hair, thoroughly coating the strands, protect with a towel, and leave mineral oil on the hair for ten minutes. Use two to three times per week.
Alternative Oils For Hair Care
These alternate oils offer added benefits that manage dry hair.
Biotin, from the B vitamin complex, is often used as a dietary supplement but is also added to hair products. Being deficient in biotin can lead to hair loss issues and a red scaly rash.
But biotin deficiencies are rare in the U.S., so taking a biotin supplement doesn’t guarantee that your hair will grow, and there isn’t much research to support its use for hair health.
Coconut oil has newer research indicating that it can help strengthen hair by observing wash cycles with and without the use of overnight hair oil treatments.
It’s rich in two types of fatty acids; saturated fatty acids and medium-chained fatty acids. It also has good saponification properties, a process in which a reaction of fatty acids, salts, and water results in soap, often used in shampoos.
Olive oil is a superfood for hair and food.
It can help seal the hair cuticle by trapping moisture inside; hair shafts are the top layer of the cells that overlap in the scalp skin. It also has antifungal effects and has promising results in treating psoriasis.
Argan oil contains natural nutrients like vitamin E and antioxidants that are great for skin protection but can have the potential also to help maintain hair health.
Although not an oil, collagen supplements can help maintain overall hair and scalp health. Some of the best collagen supplements are marine collagen, as they are the most absorbable.
What To Look For In A Mineral Oil
Using mineral oil for human topical use should be labeled food-grade mineral oil as a safety measure. You want mineral oil that’s free of additives, dyes, and fragrances.
Finally, always consult with your physician before using any new oil on your hair, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Mineral oil may help as a moisturizer and act as a skin and hair barrier to soothe scalp issues. But it’s important to note that mineral oil isn’t guaranteed to treat skin conditions.
+ 12 sources
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