The Beauty Benefits and Uses of Coconut Oil | Hair
People living in tropical coastal regions have been using coconut oil as a part of their beauty regime for hundreds of years. It most probably is the secret of their luscious hair and glowing, healthy skin. In the western part of the world the nature's miracle had negative connotations attached to it because it is very high in saturated acids. For that reason it was believed to be unhealthy and fattening. Only in the 1990s, after scientifically proven to be healthy and beneficial not only when consumed, but also when applied to the skin and hair, coconut oil became a cult, hyped ingredient in the food and cosmetic industry.
Coconut oil, thanks to its structure, is the only natural oil that penetrates the hair shaft and works its way through all the layers of the hair strand, reducing loss of protein, regaining the hair's natural moisture, and filling the hollow shafts, adding body and thickness. Working on a much deeper level, unlike other oils that remain on the surface of the hair and only benefit its appearance, coconut oil actually repairs damaged hair and boosts the scalp health.
Protein & Protection
Hair is composed by keratin, which is the same strong structural protein that makes up the nails and the outer layer of the skin. With time, color and heat treatments hair loses protein becoming dry and brittle. Protein shortage is also the reason for breakage and split ends.
Coconut oil contains Vitamin E (an essential nutrient for the skin and hair), lauric and capric acid, which penetrate deep into the hair, promoting protein regrowth and binding the proteins together, thus preventing breakage and protecting the roots. A study, conducted in 2003 found that coconut oil is more effective than mineral and sunflower oils (often found in shampoos and conditioners) in reducing and preventing protein loss.
Moisture & Nutrition
By penetrating the hair shafts coconut oil conditions the hair from the inside out, providing enough moisture to protect the follicles from heat and environmental impurities. Healthy hair needs nutrients just like the skin. Coconut oil is a great source of Vitamin E, Vitamin K and iron, which stimulate health, shine and growth.
Healthy Scalp = Healthy Hair
The health of the scalp strongly influences the appearance and health of the hair. Often the reason behind lank and greasy hair is scalp irritation or dandruff. Thanks to its healing and anti-fungal properties coconut oil can be used to treat such complains and even ringworm (a red rash that may appear on the scalp and body). It is especially effective in fighting the bacteria that causes skin cells to reproduce to quickly, resulting in dandruff.
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