I am about to share with you my most magical secret on how to heal a dry scalp and promote hair growth. But this is daunting topic to talk about because it means I have to share something really personal with you guys (the world) that not a lot of people know about. But I’m willing to share this because if this simple ingredient can help what you are going through in any way, then I want to be of service. The secret ingredient is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. BOOM!
I started losing my hair in August of 2012. Well. It was shedding. Hair on my pillow, hair on my floor, hair in the shower. But not enough that I was balding, so I didn’t take action even though I knew something was up. And It wasn’t just hair shedding that was my issue, but it followed with a very inflamed red, itchy scalp that had formed a bump where the pony tail holder would sit, and when I touched it, it was swollen and hurt. Strangely, I thought it was allergies as I was volunteering at a doggie day care at the time. And as time progressed into 2013 my hair was paper thin and I went from shedding to losing. At first it was a small clump here and there, strands always coming out of my hair if I ran my hand through it, or hair that would gather on the back of my sweater depending on the nature of the sweater fabric. What The Fuck. What was going on?
I started seeing hair doctors both holistic and western, and other then prescription strength vitamins to fix my uneven vitamin levels like Ferritin and other B vitamins, cortisone shots and a generalized healthy diet (Diets and lifestyles should cater to the person, rather then a buzz word), there were no other strategies. Into 2014 it got so bad that I was sitting home crying for half of my life wondering why this was happening to me, wondering how I would go out into the world as a Health Coach with hair loss, wondering how I would date knowing my hair was falling out and at that point was wearing a bun daily, so anyone I was dating couldn’t tell what I was going through unless I took my hair down or verbally spoke about it. But I knew, and it made me feel so insecure.
The Paleo diet slowed it down, as the removal of foods allowed my nutrients to absorb – Horray! But since the Paleo diet introduced other medical concerns, I went off of it. From then on circa May 2014 to January 2016 I was using 2 prescription strength cortisone shampoo’s and an overnight cortisone prescription strength foam to control the inflammation of the scalp, and to get it to stop falling out, almost daily. This worked, and I had good phases where my scalp was calm and my hair was growing, and then bad phases where everything hurt, was a constant bother and my hair was falling out. For the most part it kept everything at bay along with a clean, whole food sugar-free, minimal grain-free and of course gluten-free diet.
But the treatment left my hair super coarse, and rough. And I kept thinking this cannot be the only way! I kept thinking I cannot be on cortisone shampoos for this long!! There has got to be something natural I can use that will make my scalp feel better and make my hair grow! I was determined.
My diagnosis for my scalp was Seborrheic Dermatitis and for my hair loss chronic Telogen effluvium which is a general term for a non permanent form of Alopecia. This all started a little after I turned 36 and It was something that I never expected to ever have to handle. It was something I never ever googled either!
So I started researching and plugging keywords like scalp dryness, seborrheic dermatitis, inflamed scalp, hair loss, holistic scalp remedies, natural remedies into google to hopefully find some different approaches, doorways if you will to heal my condition or at least try something different with the end goal of feeling better. To my surprise there were SO many natural and holistic remedies out there! It was really fun to read about. A lot of remedies included honey, eggs, coconut oil, tea tree oil and baking soda. A few mentioned olive oil but it was always mixed with something, but with all of my sensitivities I really just wanted to start simple. My allergist had mentioned that they use Extra Virgin Olive Oil on babies for Cradle Cap, and It got me thinking….
It got me thinking that I could try Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s so natural. I eat it all the time. I am comfortable with trying just plain EVOO. I know it’s not going to hurt me or cause some ungodly reaction. It is safe for me.
A lot of the EVOO remedies mentioned to warm the olive oil, because it opens your pores and more gets into your skin where you need it, like a deep conditioner.
Many articles said to put it in your hair for up to 45 minutes, but trying that actually didn’t work for me. I found my Extra Virgin olive oil hair mask bliss at 20-25 minutes.
It was actually funny going into my kitchen, breaking out the Extra Virgin olive oil I pour on my salads and measuring out 1 tablespoon into a small dish and warming it in the microwave for a few seconds to use on my hair. I headed into the bathroom and dipped my fingers into the warm oil and little by little massaged it into my scalp. I parted my hair multiple times and ran it though the straight lines of my scalp and then I added it to the back of my scalp where a lot was falling out, and anywhere it really felt I intuitively needed the extra care. I set the timer for 20-25 minutes and allowed it to seep in. I just used a clip to hold my hair up, but a shower cap would work too! And then multi-task – do your dishes, yoga, meditation, watch t.v., do some bills whatever you need to do, you have 20 minutes to do it.
***Make sure you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it is not processed and does not have any chemicals in it!!
Then get in the shower and shampoo and condition as usual, just making sure you really rinse it out. For people with longer hair, use more then 1 tablespoon. And for people that want to actually put it on the ends of their hair for smooth and silky ends use 1 tablespoon or more if you have a lot of hair. Wing it, see how it goes. If you are unsure about this remedy test it on your skin first in a small area on the inside of your wrist as if you were testing a food allergy. And if you feel good about it, try it.
For me the results were magical:
- First, my hair for the first time in EVER was so super silky smooth and shiny.
- In addition, and at first I was able to drastically REDUCE the amount of prescription shampoo’s I was using, while using the EVOO.
- Eventually after a few months of a daily mask I was able to eliminate my prescription shampoo’s and just use the EVOO.
- At times when it feels super sensitive because I have a condition, I’ll know to step it up with the cortisone shampoo’s, but I’m so happy I have gotten to a place where I don’t have to rely on the prescription shampoo’s. I use my gut instincts to decide when to stop what and when to continue what.
- The EVOO softened the irritated and hardened skin on my head enabling the pieces to fall off and allow hair growth and even start to heal.
- I haven’t had full head cortisone shots in over 4 months!
- Thirdly, after multiple EVOO masks (daily masks) my hair started to grow. The moisture and fatty acids from the EVOO was desperately needed in my scalp and hair follicles to repair damage, that the damage has started to reverse.
My hair still has a ways to go. I have years of damage, chronic stress, vitamin deficiencies, leaky gut, celiac disease, SIBO and Yeast Overgrowth in my small Intestine and so much more that I have to maintain it daily, that it will take time to get my hair back to the way it was before, but the use of the EVOO has given me the hope that I can get it back to the way it used to be. And to this day I still do the EVOO masks almost 5 times a week.
So it’s a known fact that natural remedies like EVOO can aid in the healing of Seborrheic Dermatitis, dry scalp, Cradle Cap, Dandruff, flakey scalp and even promote the growth of hair by activating the hair follicles, HOWEVER it is an aid, not a miracle remedy and it helps heal the symptoms NOT the root cause, which means if you have underlying issues that are the cause of your hair loss like vitamin deficiencies; Iron/Ferritin, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and B Vitamins specifically it is important to get your levels checked at least every 6 months. If you have other diseases, disorders, food allergies, food sensitivities – know that all of these medical issues CAN contribute if not cause hair and skin conditions and it is important to get yourself seen by a doctor to determine your situation in those cases and make sure you are monitoring your case while using the olive oil to help your symptoms.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Facts & Benefits:
- Been used for centuries as a natural conditioner.
- EVOO is a healthy fat and healthy fats are moisturizing.
- Has anti-inflammatory properties (pain relief) similar to prescription inflammatory drugs.
- Has an abundance of antioxidant properties that leaves the scalp feeling healthier and can actually reduce and reverse damage by other hair products.
- Can cure an itchy scalp.
- If used heated, it can turn into a deep conditioning treatment for the scalp.
- Can be used as a natural remedy to treat seborrheic dermatitis.
- By adding the oil and using it as a mask for 20 minutes and then taking a soft brush and combing gently, it will remove or loosen dandruff, scales and flakes caused by dermatitis, and cradle cap.
I know it seems SO WEIRD to add Extra Virgin olive oil to your head, but trust me it is amazing! It is of the earth, it is natural. And it works. If allergists use it on babies for Cradle Cap, and know it is safe for even the purest skin of a baby, then I know it is safe for me.
- For short hair scalp: 1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, warmed
- For long hair scalp: 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, warmed
- For hair treatment and end treatment: 1-3 Tablespoons
- measure extra virgin olive oil with a measuring spoon and add desired amount to a small microwaveble bowl.
- microwave for 20 seconds or until warm
- part your hair and with your fingers dab in the EVOO into multiple areas of your scalp, front/sides/back and anywhere else you feel extra care is needed. Make sure you are actually getting the olive oil into your scalp and not your hair for the scalp treatment. You will want to massage into your scalp where the areas are really tender.
- for your hair treatment pour the EVOO into your hands and massage it into your hair and ends.
- for the scalp and hair treatment, leave in the mask for 20-25 minutes
- then shower as normal using both shampoo and conditioner, making sure to really rinse out your hair.
*I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I am a board-certified health coach, and my information is from research and my own personal experiences. If you are unsure about the remedy above discussed please consult your doctor. Never ever end or stop medical treatments that your doctors have prescribed unless you have spoken to your doctor.
Love & natural remedies!