Is Emu Oil any good for preventing Hair loss? To find out more, then check out this post which will outline our own review and research based on specific results. Emu oil is lubricant obtained from flightless birds Emu, which is native to Australia. Emu is one of the largest birds alike Ostrich which is farmed at industrial scale in Australia, USA and India. Its meat and oil have gained significant market share now and is desired by consumers.
Emu oil is a brightly yellow coloured liquid obtained via a multi-step process where animal flesh and fat tissues are heated in an oven to extract oil and solvent extraction is also used to improve production efficacy and yield amount. Emu oil applied topically has demonstrated improvement to stimulate proliferation of skin and reduce wrinkles and rejuvenate aged and photo-damaged skin.
It has also been recommended for the treatment of hair loss (alopecia androgenic), male pattern baldness, female baldness, and chemotherapy-induced alopecia. In the review here, we examine the chemical composition of emu oil, its health benefits in general and especially its influence in preventing hair loss or growing new hairs.
Read also: Our recommended prescribed product list here
Chemical Composition of Emu Oil
The chemical composition of emu oil varies greatly as it depends on the diet of the bird, the extraction process, and the type of tissues used from which the oil is extracted. It contains all three omega fatty acids making it an excellent supplement. The largest fraction is monosaturated oleic acid. It also contains linoleic acid and linolenic acid along with saturated fatty acids of palmitic and stearic carbon chains. The non-triglyceride fractions include various compounds which are antioxidants, polyphenols, and phospholipids.
Table 1: Chemical composition of fatty acids present in emu oil.
Component - The average range of % age
- Palmitic Acid 22.0 – 24.0
- Stearic Acid 9.00 – 11.0
- Oleic Acid 48.0 – 52.0
- Linoleic acid 9.00 – 12.0
The presence of high levels of unsaturated material is the key to defining the characteristic properties and benefits of emu oil.
InstaNatural AEA Certified Emu Oil
Main Features to Note:
Pure Moisturizer for hair, stretch marks & scars
Assists with acne scars, nails and skin
4 oz, helps to restore full-body hydration
Promotes healthier and improved hair quality
Relieves certain joint pains, burns and aches
Can also help with sun burn & itching areas
Emu Oil for Preventing Hair loss
Hair growth, density and its life cycle are genetically programmed. Normally everyone among us sheds about 100 hairs, but most of them will come back after the resting stage from the follicle. However, under abnormal biochemical conditions, the number of hair lost may become more than the re-growth, or the re-growth is weak and unhealthy; this is a problem and is known as “baldness” or “Alopecia”. It is a dermatological condition that affects up to 30% of men under the age of 30 and more than 50% of men over the age of 50. People suffering from this problem eagerly seek an efficient, effective yet a safe solution.
Science has developed various hair growth-promoting agents and most commonly known are synthetic drugs e.g. Minoxidil which is either orally taken or topically applied. However, these chemical agents are reported to cause serious side effects that may harm the health of the patient. Herbal recipes may provide a new revolution for hair growth and emu oil is a popular natural remedy that has recently been studied for hair loss and stimulating hair growth.
Dihydrotestosterone in Follicles
The hair follicle activity is controlled by testosterone and its metabolic derivative, dihydrotestosterone. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone by the reduction reaction in the presence of the 5α-reductase enzyme. High amounts of dihydrotestosterone in follicle causes hair thinning that eventually leads to hair loss. If we want to prevent hair loss, we need to decrease the concentration of dihydrotestosterone and for that; we need to inhibit the activity of the 5α-reductase enzyme. Significant progress has been made to figure out an effective and safe ingredient that can inhibit 5α- reductase for hair growth promotion and emu oil has been observed performing strongly to inhibit this enzymatic activity.
In a group study, topical application of emu oil healed damaged skin dermal layers and the microscopic study found increased activity of follicles. The emu oil was found to heal damaged skin and the number of hair follicles in the margins of the wounds increased with time.1 The hair follicles were in several layers and were observed to be more active and mature. Moreover, emu oil had a positive effect on fibrogenesis and synthesis of collagen. Investigators indicated that oil improved the overall quality of the skin and stimulated new hair growth particularly in the area where patients have lost hair due to hormonal changes or injuries.
Inhibiting the activity of the reductase enzyme?
Emu has high concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids i.e. oleic and linoleic acids. In a recently published study, these two unsaturated fatty acids are characterized as an inhibitor for 5α- reductase enzyme.2 This has been reported and endorsed by various other studies.3-4 The degree of unsaturation in these two fatty acids at the specified location of their carbon chain is believed to be responsible for the interaction. It seems these unsaturated units interact with enzyme molecules and disrupt its activity against testosterone reduction. The same pattern has been observed for other natural oils having high unsaturated fatty acids.
How to Apply Emu Oil?
Today Emu oil is available in Australia, Europe and USA and is generally applied topically twice a day at the bald area of the scalp.
- Apply emu oil at the pre-washed area of scalp
- Leave it for 60 minutes or maybe for an overnight
- Next morning, wash your hair with a mild shampoo preferably having natural emollients
- Emu oil-based emulsion products (lotions & creams) are also available in the market (especially the USA market). You may choose them instead of oil. However, pure oil is believed to give superior results.
Natural oil offers a great solution to hair loss problem. Emu oil is a unique product having plenty of unsaturated fatty materials. Scientific results have proven its efficacy to stimulate the activity of hair follicles growing new hair. It also regenerates skin collagen and accelerates the healing of damaged and wounded skin cells.
To find out what has been prescribed to us for treating our own hair loss problems, then check out our recommended list here that has worked for me and there is no reason why it can’t work for you either.
Bibliography & Further reading:
- Afshar, M.; Ghaderi, R.; Zardast, M.; Delshad, P., Effects of topical emu oil on burn wounds in the skin of Balb/c mice. Dermatology Research and practice 2016, 2016.
- Damodaran, R. G.; Gupta, R., Hair loss and the applied techniques for identification of novel hair growth promoters for hair re-growth. Pharmacognosy Journal 2011, 3 (22), 1-5.
- Semalty, M.; Semalty, A.; Joshi, G. P.; Rawat, M. S. M., Hair growth and rejuvenation: an overview. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 2011, 22 (3), 123-132.
- Shahtalebi, M. A.; Sadat-Hosseini, A.; Safaeian, L., Preparation and evaluation of clove oil in emu oil self-emulsion for hair conditioning and hair loss prevention. Journal of HerbMed Pharmacology 2016, 5.