Among all those beneficial hair oils, the versatile sweet almond oil that has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the natural hair community. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of sweet almond oil for natural hair and what we stand to gain from our inclusion of it in our everyday life.
What is Sweet Almond Oil?
There are two types of almond oil: bitter and sweet. Bitter almond oil is extracted from the pink flower of the almond tree (Prunus Dulcis Var. Amara).
Although they are both very beneficial, sweet almond oil is the one that is largely used in the cosmetic industry on skin and hair. It is extracted from the white flower (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) It contains nutrients like;
- Vitamin A (Retinol) which helps in regulating oily skin, brightening and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles on the skin.
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps cells fight off infection and repair the already damaged ones while protecting skin and hair from harmful UV rays.
- Omega- 3 fatty acids prevent premature aging.
Benefits of Sweet Almond Oil on Natural Hair
Here are 4 advantages of using sweet Almond oil for natural hair.
1. Contains antioxidant properties
Almond oil contains flavonoids and phenolic acids. These two have antioxidant properties meaning they inhibit the production of free radicals whose chain reactions may lead to the damage of cells of organisms. These oxidative processes may include; thinning of hair, graying and even aging.
According to a research study conducted in 2014, persons suffering from Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) benefitted from the use of antioxidants like sweet almond oil by reducing damage such as immune reactions and inflammation caused by oxidative stress.
2. Helps promote a healthy scalp with its antifungal properties
Additionally, phenolic properties have shown tremendous results against the spread of scalp ringworms. since ringworms are fungal infections, they are responsible for alopecia in children but with the right symptoms like redness, itchiness and inflammation, the oil showed superiority against these fungal infections.
Other scalp conditions have also benefitted from the use of this oil including, yeast causing dandruff, flaky scalp and even scalp psoriasis.
3. May promote hair growth
A research study conducted in 2009 aimed at proving the possibility of almond oil assisting in the hair regrowth process. In the study, 30 rats with a shaven dorsal of about 3 square centimeters with the help of a hair removal cream for a thorough removal was carried out.
After dividing the rats in groups of six, daily application of different extracts including minoxidil was done, it was discovered that the petroleum ether extract from almond oil worked to transform hair from the telogen phase (which is typically the resting phase) to the anagen phase (the active one) just as effectively as minoxidil if not more.
Although comprehensive studies on humans have yet to be carried out, the study on rats was a great start as both are of the mammalian class and their hair growth cycles are similar.
Furthermore, both species experience telogen, anagen and catagen (resting) phases of hair growth meaning that the scientific study on rats could at least be assumed to have similar effects on humans.
4. Inhibits production of 5-alpha reductase
Sweet almond oil contains oleic and linoleic acids which help in the inhibition of the 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme known to transform testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is an androgen and a sex hormone that gives men their male characteristics like body hair. However, it is also responsible for making them lose hair earlier and faster.
People with AGA are also hereditary sensitive to DHT leading to hair thinning and even loss as is common in male pattern baldness. The presence of oleic and linoleic acid has shown to greatly inhibit 5-alpha reductase leading to less hair thinning and damage.
In spite of lack of conclusive human studies, it is a great supplementation for anyone with DHT and thinning out hair.
How to Use Sweet Almond Oil for Maximum Results
1. As a pre-poo
This oil is a great emollient and it smooths out hair making it easy to detangle. Apply a generous amount to hair, cover with a plastic cap before washing and let it sit for about an hour. Pre-poos help in avoiding swelling of hair from too much water absorption.
2. As a hot oil treatment
Hot oil treatments are a great way to maximize on all the goodness that this oil has to offer. You can mix with any oils you want according to what your hair needs for your desired results.
Because of how light this oil is, it does well to penetrate the hair shaft with ease.
Oils are naturally sealants and this one is no exception. It aids in sealing all the moisture in the natural hair after moisturizing.
Can Anyone Use Sweet Almond Oil?
Well, this oil is for the most part safe to use on anyone for any hair type. However, too much of anything is noxious and should be used in moderation.
Anyone with any sort of allergy of almonds should steer from it as it can cause even more severe reactions and even damage to both hair and scalp. Pregnant women and infants should seek medical advice from a qualified physician before any kind of use.
Although extensive human research has not been conducted fully, it is safe to say that almonds are a superfood on their own. That said, it is not a surprise to see just how much almond oil adds nutritional and healthy benefits to our everyday life.
Try it out with a patch test and if you find yourself on the sweet almond oil lane, enjoy a graceful and healthy natural hair journey. Good luck!