What are the mechanisms by which Emu Oil stimulates hair growth? Studies have shown that Emu Oil *by itself* is an extremely penetrating anti-inflammatory agent that can rejuvenate skin cells and repair DNA. In essence it wakes up the inflamed and miniaturized hair follicles to the anagen (growth) phase. In addition, it also facilitates follicle regeneration and growth by increasing the synthesis of DNA in the epidermis. This results in the stimulation of skin regeneration and the proliferation of the cells around the hair follicle.
From Dr Holick’s patent:
Over 80% of hair follicles which were quiescent at the time of the initiation of the study, were stimulated by the application of the Emu Oil and began to produce a viable hair shaft. Typically, hair follicles go through stages from a quiescent phase, to an active hair-growth phase, and back to the quiescent phase again. The administration of Emu Oil was found to not only stimulate the hair follicles into the active phase, but it kept them in this phase during the entire period of administration, as well.”
Again-all this from the singular application of Emu Oil.
Virgin Coconut Oil also has properties that promote hair growth. 50% of coconut oil is comprised of lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid. Lauric acid has a strong anti-bacterial activity against propionbacterium. Propionbacterium plays a primary role in the pathogenesis of androgenetic alopecia. Propionbacterium exists in the sebaceous glands of the facial skin and scalp. Propionbacterium initiates an inflammatory response, resulting in the production of many pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to gradual catabolism of the affected hair follicles.
In a later finding, Holick and Kinney also reported that some of the cosmetic properties of the oil appear to be synergistically increased when used in combination with phospholipids from other oils used in cosmetics such as palm, borage and coconut. I have often wondered how combining Emu Oil with other oils, Virgin Coconut in particular, would impact its efficacy.
Why Virgin Coconut Oil?
Because Virgin Coconut Oil has antibacterial, anti-inflamatory, and antiandrogenic effects that directly address mechanisms associated with MPB.
Propionbacterium is also present in and primary in the development of acne. Lauric Acid from Coconut Oil is actually 15 times more potent at eradicating propionbacterium in acne than benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is commonly used to treat acne but has significant side effects such as redness and dry skin due to the toxicity. Lauric acid from Coconut Oil has no side effects, stimulates skin repair mechanisms, and will moisturize, not dry the skin. Topical application of lauric acid, has been shown to kill Propionbacterium and diminish inflammation. Coconut Oil is 50% lauric acid, topical application of Coconut Oil has therapeutic potential for the treatment of MPB and acne by killing propionbacterium , therefore, terminating the inflammatory response that propagates Androgenetic Alopecia and Acne Vulgaris.
Coconut Oil also down regulates the production of DHT, which is a major player in MPB and acne. As you likely already know, Testosterone is converted into DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. DHT increases sebum emission, creating a conducive environment for propionbacterium, thus inflammation, to proliferate. It is established that the activity of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is significantly more elevated in areas prone to acne and Androgenetic Alopecia.
Several studies have conclusively shown that lauric acid reduces 5-alpha reductase activity, and inhibits the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Another concluded that lauric acid inhibited the activity of 5-alpha reductase by 50%. One study in particular found that consumption of Coconut Oil in rats, like finasteride and saw palmetto, reduced enlarged prostate glands that had been experimentally enlarged with androgen administration.
As an inhibitor of 5 alpha reductase vis a vis its lauric acid content, Coconut Oil both internally and topically applied makes a plausible intervention for both hair loss and acne.
As reported by Holick and Kinney, the cosmetic properties of both Emu Oil AND Coconut Oil would be synergistically enhanced when used in combination with each other. In fact, Emu Oil is a naturally penetrating substance that even out performs liposomes in its ability to deliver its own and other therapeutic compounds into the deepest layers of the dermis, (skin).
How is Emu Oil able to penetrate so deeply?
Emu oil carries compounds piggyback style into cells. Unlike man-made liposomes which are substances that act like a bubble encasing compounds to penetrate into the skin, refined Emu Oil will carry substances much deeper than other methods, literally into the bloodstream, according to studies. Emu Oil, and DMSO, a byproduct of Pine Trees are the only known substances that can penetrate all 7 layers of skin and literally reach the cartilage, muscles and joints. Liposomes, as described above, typically carries compounds into the fourth and fifth layers but not all the way through to the muscles and joints. Mink Oil, traditionally considered an excellent penetrant, gets to the skin’s third layer. Emu Oil is rightfully referred to as the natural liposome and is used as a carrier for other treatment agents.
They are essentially refining a smart liposomal delivery system for Coconut Oil using nanoparticles. According to Holick and Kinney, you can accomplish the same thing and get additional anti-inflammatory benefits by mixing and simultaneously applying Emu Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil.
Emu Oil has established hair growth stimulating properties. Topical Coconut Oil is used as a hair growth stimulant and Coconut Oil consumed is considered a curative for Prostate disorders in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine. There now appears to be a plausible scientific basis for these claims.
Given the identified synergy of the combination of refined Emu Oil with other therapeutic phospholipids, (oils), it would appear likely that the topical combination of Coconut Oil and Emu Oil would make a good thing for hair growth even better. The best way to do this is to first aply a few drops of Emu Oil to affected areas,(hairline or crown). Follow up with a 50/50 mix of Emu Oil with Virgin Coconut Oil and leave on ideally overnight or at the very least 20 minutes prior to shampooing. You won’t need a conditioner, your hair will maintain a nice texture and sheen after shampooing and rinsing, and the oils will add extra volume by thickening the hair shaft diameter and preventing any SLS induced protein loss during the shampooing process.
It would also be prudent to consume 2-3 tablespoons of Virgin Coconut Oil a day, which in addition to myriad health benefits,(not the least of which are thyroid regulation and bodyfat reduction) inhibits DHT. Virgin Coconut Oil is available at any health food store.
The oral consumption of Emu Oil does provide many health benefits, and is used in several alternative Cancer treatment centers, but is generally cost prohibitive in significant dietary quantities.