First, let me put it out there that I am at the beginning of experimenting with emu oil for curing my alopecia universalis. I have inconsistently applied it to my scalp for about 5 days. This is not a solid endorsement of emu oil for hair loss, but rather an exploration of how and why it may work for hair loss.
I will report in a month whether or not my alopecia universalis saw any benefit from applications of emu oil. In the meantime, I will examine what all the hype is about with emu oil.
Emu oil for hair loss
The idea of topically applying emu oil for hair loss came to me when I was reading the Nourishing World blog post about not using butter oil for vitamin K anymore. It talked about how emu oil was a better source for both vitamin K and vitamin D. That was interesting, but I still had Green Pasture’s Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil to finish up. I wasn’t interested in changing up my supplement game. I read more about emu oil and someone had topically applied it to a wound. To me that was interesting. I know that you can absorb vitamins through your skin. Perhaps applying it to my scalp would get the vitamin D to the hair follicle faster.
I started to look up information on emu oil and of course, it is promoted for hair loss among other things! It sounds like one of those magical cures when you read about it, so when I ordered a bottle, I just got the smallest one on Amazon.
This is a photo of a person who reportedly used emu oil to treat alopecia areata. Source: Stylecraze.com
Vitamin D and autoimmune hair loss
As I researched vitamin D deficiency and the health conditions that I had, I discovered that most of them were associated with a vitamin D deficiency, which I also had. Most of the studies are done with people who have alopecia areata, which is the milder form of alopecia universalis.
Emu oil has some vitamin D and lots of vitamin K. Applying it topically may be helpful. Your body does absorb the things that are applied topically and the hair follicles are close to the surface of the skin.
Below is some research on the association between vitamin D and hair loss.
- Hair loss strongly associated with poor vitamin D receptors– Dec 2016
- Temporary hair loss (Telogen Effluvium) is 15X more likely if poor Vitamin D Receptor – Oct 2019
- Spot Baldness (Alopecia Areata) associated with low vitamin D – many studies
- Vitamin D Shows Promise in Curing Baldness – July 2012
- Vitamin D deficiency in alopecia areata 2014 – Vitamin D deficiency: 91% in those with AA, 33% in controls
Professor Hollick on Emu Oil
Professor Michael Hollick, Ph.D., from the Boston University School of Medicine, led research into emu oil’s ability to restore hair follicle activity. He found that treating skin with emu oil resulted in a 20% increase in hair growth activity compared to skin treated with corn oil. (Yikes! Who puts corn oil on their head, but they did need to have a control group.)
After examining the hairs, Hollick discovered they were much more robust and skin thickness had increased. This suggests that using emu oil for hair loss can stimulate both skin growth and hair growth.
He also discovered that the emu oil awakened over 80% of hair follicles that had been dormant and triggered hair regrowth.
Hollick stated, “We found that there was an enhancement in the growth activity of hair follicles.”
Researchers believe that the abundance of essential fatty acids may have had an impact on hair growth. Oleic acid may be the secret behind using emu oil for hair loss. It has the ability to penetrate deeply into the skin.
Separating emu oil fact from fiction
The blog post, Emu Oil Benefits Separating Fact from Fiction by Cleure.com, provided this statistic that sounds promising. Unfortunately, I couldn’t verify the statistic because they hadn’t linked it to the source.
English studies indicate that there is an average of 8% growth per month using emu oil. Participants saw an average of 48% hair regrowth after six months. The participants applied emu oil on their scalp and were instructed to leave it on for 30 minutes. The hair growth was evident after 30 days.
My conclusion on emu oil for hair loss
I think it is worth giving it a try! I know that one of the most difficult things for me will be to actually remember to apply something to my skin on a daily basis. For some reason, I just don’t like using lotions and potions on my skin, but emu oil is a natural product and can provide my body with the extra vitamin K and vitamin D that may correct the deficiency that I have. If that is the case, it could be the key to my hair regrowth. That would be amazing! I have suffered from alopecia universalis for ten years!