In recent years, the beauty industry has witnessed a surge in the use of Vitamin E oil as a feature element in hair care regimes. Its reputation stems from many proclaimed benefits, ranging from rejuvenating dry, lackluster locks to antioxidative properties which are to help with hair loss. However, a number of studies have not supported some of these claims and a deeper analysis is necessary. This article uses a scientific lens to understand the hype, attempting to separate the truths and the myths behind Vitamin E’s benefits for hair, its application and usage.
What is Vitamin E?
Understanding Vitamin E
Vitamin E, a group of fat-soluble compounds, comprises tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) and tocotrienols. These compounds act as antioxidants, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals, supporting overall cellular function, and potentially aiding in hair health. The tocopherols possess higher vitamin activity and are commonly found in supplements and skin & hair care products.
Tocotrienols showcase more potent antioxidant properties, due to their molecular structure. Tocotrienols have a “free tail” that is able to bind to free molecules of oxygen more readily than tocopherol. In clinical studies, patients with hair loss and alopecia who have taken supplements with tocotrienol have shown 34% increase in hair count over the course of 8 months than those taking placebo. This promotes the significance of vitamin E for hair growth since it contains both compounds.
Vitamin E is abundantly available in various natural food sources, enriching our diets and potentially improving hair health. Foods such as almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, avocados, and wheat germ oil have high concentrations of Vitamin E. These sources provide a great avenue for obtaining Vitamin E, potentially contributing to overall hair vitality when incorporated into a balanced diet and nutrition.
Vitamin E Benefits for Hair
Nourishing Hair and Scalp
Vitamin E exhibits remarkable potential in nourishing both the hair follicles and the scalp. Its antioxidant properties help in neutralizing free radicals that can otherwise impair cell function, thereby promoting a healthier scalp environment conducive to healthy hair growth. Additionally, Vitamin E helps maintain the integrity of cell membranes, preventing further oxidative damage and contributing to the overall vitality of the hair follicles.
Promoting Hair Growth
One of the touted vitamin E benefits for hair is its capacity to potentially enhance blood circulation. Improved blood flow to the scalp supports better nutrient delivery to the hair follicles. This fosters an environment conducive to healthy hair growth. While this isn’t the only mechanism responsible for hair growth, its supportive role in optimizing scalp health can indirectly contribute to the hair growth process.
Preventing Hair Damage
The protective attributes of Vitamin E against oxidative stress play a crucial role in safeguarding hair from damage. Exposure to environmental pollutants, UV radiation, and chemical treatments can induce oxidative stress, leading to weakened hair strands and breakage. Combined with the lipid nature of the vitamin and its antioxidant nature, this acts as a shield, minimizing the damage caused by free radicals and potentially preserving hair strength and elasticity.
What is Vitamin E Oil Good For? Addressing hair-related Issues
Dry and Damaged Hair
Vitamin E’s moisturizing properties prove beneficial in reviving dry and parched hair. Its ability to deeply penetrate and hydrate the hair shafts can restore moisture balance, lending a smoother texture and added shine to otherwise dull and brittle hair.
While not a direct remedy, its nourishing qualities can aid in preventing split ends by fortifying the hair shafts and minimizing the likelihood of further damage. Regular application of Vitamin E oil for hair strands can help reduce occurrence of split ends and maintain overall hair health and healthy appearance.
Does Vitamin E fight hair loss?
Vitamin E’s role in directly combating hair loss is nuanced. While it doesn’t serve as a definitive or direct solution, its ability to combat antioxidative stress and scalp inflammation which can lead to hair loss – cannot be underestimated. It may help in creating an optimal environment for hair follicle health, thereby reducing the likelihood of excessive shedding.
As your scalp has less oxidative stress, it becomes less inflamed which can be helpful especially for individuals suffering from alopecia, male and female pattern hair loss. By battling oxidative stress, vitamin E reduces the need of your scalp in DHT (dihydrotestosterone, an androgen) which is known to hinder hair growth and cause hair follicle miniaturization.
How to apply Vitamin E for hair?
While the science of hair strands’ ability to absorb antioxidants through cuticles is still evolving, there is some evidence of its efficacy. Mainly vitamin E’s antioxidant effect is best achieved when applied to the scalp due to better absorption through the skin. Supplementing with tocotrienol-rich vitamin E can also be beneficial for long term benefits of your scalp health. However, the lipid content of vitamin E can still help with moisturisation and nourishment of your hair strands.
Directly application of oil with vitamin E for hair onto the scalp or strands is a common method. Massage a few drops of the oil into the scalp, paying attention to massaging your scalp as it will improve oil’s absorption and overall blood circulation in scalp. To nourish your hair strands, apply a small amount and distribute it evenly from roots to ends. This method ensures direct contact with the skin and hair, maximizing its potential benefits.
Mixing with Carrier Oils
Combining Vitamin E oil with carrier oils, especially with palm oil and rice brain oil – both containing higher amounts of tocotrienols, or grapeseed, olive or flax seed oils can enhance its effectiveness. Some of these oils can even improve the potency of Vitamin E with their own content of tocotrienols while providing additional nourishment and moisture. Create a blend by mixing a few drops of Vitamin E oil with a tablespoon of the carrier oil of your choice and apply it to the scalp or hair as needed.
Choosing the Right Vitamin E Oil For Hair
Purity and Quality
Opt for pure, natural Vitamin E oil without additives, preservatives, or synthetic fragrances. Look for labels indicating “tocotrienol” for the most antioxidative benefits.
Avoid products containing unnecessary additives like parabens, sulfates, or artificial colors, as these may negate the beneficial effects of Vitamin E and could potentially cause adverse reactions for some individuals. However note that Vitamin E would react to oxygen so hair products with it might lose its efficacy. One of the best ways is therefore using the capsules of Vitamin E which weren’t previously exposed to oxygen. This way the oil is used in its purest form without the need to add preservatives and other additives.
Individual Hair Needs
Determining the ideal frequency application of Vitamin E oil for hair varies based on individual hair requirements. Generally, using the oil once or twice a week yields beneficial results – depending on your scalp’s exposure to stress factors (UV rays, pollution) that cause oxidative stress on your scalp and hair.
Supplementation by Vitamin E would depend on your individual needs – for which you will need to consult your physician.
Patch Test and Adaptation
Before incorporating Vitamin E oil regularly into your hair care routine, conduct a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure there are no adverse reactions. Gradually introduce it into your regimen and monitor how your scalp and hair respond to determine the optimal frequency for your specific needs.
Myths and Misconceptions Regarding Vitamin E Oil for Hair
Universal Solution for Hair
Myth: Oil with vitamin E for hair is a one-size-fits-all solution for all hair-related issues.
Reality: While it boasts nourishing and protective qualities, it’s not a panacea for all hair concerns. Its efficacy will vary among people, based on the individual needs and vitamin deficiencies. Thus using it as part of a comprehensive hair care routine is key in addressing your specific hair issues effectively.
Instant Hair Growth
Myth: A prevalent belief is that Vitamin E in hair oil alone can prompt immediate and almost miraculous hair growth.
Reality: Scientifically, while Vitamin E supports a healthy scalp environment, it doesn’t act as a swift remedy for rapid hair growth. Hair growth involves multifaceted factors, and Vitamin E plays a supporting role rather than inducing immediate growth.
Evidence-based scientific studies and expert insights
Studies demonstrated its potential to support scalp health and contribute to improved hair condition rather than providing immediate, drastic transformations. Further research is necessary to arrive at definitive conclusions concerning Vitamin E oil’s impact on hair health.
Potential allergic reactions to Vitamin E oil might manifest as skin irritation, redness, itching, or swelling. It’s crucial to conduct a patch test before full application. Apply a small amount of diluted Vitamin E oil on a small area of skin and observe for any adverse reactions for at least 24-48 hours before applying it to the scalp or hair.
Sensitivities and Skin Conditions
Individuals with sensitive skin or pre-existing skin conditions, such as eczema or dermatitis, might be more susceptible to reactions when using Vitamin E oil for hair. It’s prudent for such individuals to consult a dermatologist before using the oil on the scalp or skin.
If supplementing with Vitamin E, you first need to understand – by conducting a full blood panel – if you have a deficiency in this vitamin. In addition, if specifically focusing on combating antioxidative stress – it’s important to look out for supplements containing tocotrienol and less of tocopherol.
Moderation in Usage
Caution against excessive use of Vitamin E oil for hair is essential. Using too much oil or applying it too frequently can lead to product buildup, weigh down the hair, or cause greasiness. It’s advisable to adhere to recommended usage frequencies and quantities to prevent potential adverse effects.
A professional consultation, especially for individuals with existing health conditions, as well as skin or scalp conditions, is necessary. Dermatologists or trichologists can provide personalized advice and assess whether the use of Vitamin E oil aligns with individual hair and skin needs, minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.
A balanced diet rich in nutrients vital for hair health, such as proteins, vitamins (like Vitamin E), minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids is crucial for your hair health. Encouraging the consumption of foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and fish promotes internal nourishment that reflects in the health of your hair.
Vitamin E oil, especially rich in tocotrienol, holds potential benefits for hair health, encompassing nourishment for the scalp and hair, potential support for hair growth, and protection against damage. However, it’s essential to distinguish between the substantiated benefits and the misconceptions surrounding its fast-acting “miracle” abilities. Hair growth takes time and effort – whether by supplementing or applying vitamin E oil onto your hair and scalp – patience for the results is key.
Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers, (1)
Antioxidant Green Factories: Toward Sustainable Production of Vitamin E in Plant In VitroCultures, (2)
Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use, (3)
Interaction of vitamins C and E as better cosmeceuticals, (4)