Dr. Holick, MD, PhD: Emu Oil Study on Skin Enhancement and Hair Growth

Dr. Michael Holick is a renowned endocrinologist, specializing in the field of vitamin D, and skin aging. He is a professor of medicine at Boston University and editor-in-chief of the journal Clinical Laboratory.

Dr. Holick has been awarded for his outstanding contributions to the field of vitamin D research with many prizes, including the Merit Award from the National Institute of Health,

In 1998 he received U.S. Pat. No.5,744,128 in 1998 for the topical Use of emu oil for stimulating skin and hair growth.

Holick detailed his findings regarding the hair growth stimulation and anti-aging skin effects of topically applied Emu Oil in an article, Study on Skin Enhancement and Hair Growth in Drug and Cosmetic Industry Magazine. Excerpts are in bold below:

We found that there was about a 20% increase in the proliferative activity, or the growth activity of the skin in the animals . . . . And when we looked at the hair follicles, and the thickness of the skin, it showed that the hair follicles were much more robust, and that the skin thickness was remarkably increased, suggesting . . . the stimulation of skin growth and hair growth in these animals. Also, we discovered in the same test that over 80% of hair follicles that had been asleep were woken up, and began growing hair.

 A hair follicle goes through a cycle. It goes from a resting stage into an active growth period, and then it goes back to sleep again. We woke up all the hair follicles by stimulating them, and then we wanted to see if we could further stimulate these hair follicles by topically applying emu oil. We found that there was an enhancement in the growth activity of the hair follicles. So it gives us a very good scientific indication that we were stimulating skin growth.

Dr Holick achieved these results using Emu Oil that was from Emus that were free range roaming as opposed to Oil from Emus that were given grain based feed, which is standard practice in the Emu ranching industry. Oil from free range roaming Emus produces a significantly more pronounced anti-inflammatory, and ultimately hair growth stimulating effect due to the plant lignans and anthocyanidins present in the oil.

Dr. Holick obtained these hair growth stimulation effects with Emu Oil at a 3 times daily application rate. A pilot study done in England showed a hair growth stimulation effects for humans with Androgenetic Alopecia on a once a day application.

34 participants took part in the study, during which they were asked to apply emu oil to their scalps on a daily basis. Each month the participants recorded the amount of hair on their heads using a visual analogue scale. The results were extremely encouraging with participants seeing an average regrowth of 8.1% of their hair per month, and an average 48.4% regrowth over the full study period of six months.

In this trial, in which participants saw an average of 8.1% regrowth per month, emu oil applications were made every day before going to sleep. A few drops were applied to the balding area and thoroughly massaged in.

These results are consistent with frequent anecdotal reports of Emu Oil stimulation of vellous hair growth (peach fuzz) within weeks of initial application.

Applying Emu Oil allows for flexibility, as long as you apply it at least once a day to affected areas. I personally apply it before retiring, and wash it out after my AM workout routine and shower. It has a preconditioning effect on the strands of my hair, and prevents any scalp/hair drying effect from Nizoral Shampoo, (which it is notorious for), which I use 3 times a week. It is not at all necessary, however, to wash it out of your hair, when using Emu Oil you can wash your hair as frequently or infrequently as you prefer.