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Does oiling really help to grow your hair?

By Dr Apoorva Shah
Last updated on: May 08, 2019 11:32 IST
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While oiling conditions the scalp, it will not stop hair from falling nor will it accelerate the rate of hair re-growth, says Dr Apoorva Shah.

Does oiling help your hair grow longer?

Image published for representational purposes only. Photograph: Kind courtesy Parachute Oil India

With the wonders of science and technology, most of us continue to look to age old wisdom for advice on how to maintain a healthy mane.

A lot of women have learned about their hair from their mothers and grandmothers down the ages, and still continue to do so.

While of course, many of these home truths that we cling to do have a grain of truth in them, in the context of modern living, they need to be firmly qualified.

Since hair is an important part of our personality and confidence, it is important to follow the right approach to maintain healthy and lustrous tresses.

Here are a few common beliefs that need to be considered before they are blindly believed.

Myth 1: A woman should brush her hair one hundred strokes everyday to keep it healthy and shiny.


This was true at a time when conditioners weren’t invented.

Brushing does help distribute the natural hair oils but more than 8 to 9 strokes of the hairbrush a day, can damage your hair.

Excessive brushing can tear the hair, pull it out and damage the cuticle layer causing split ends, especially in people with dry and colour-treated hair.

Over-brushing does no good for oily hair either; it merely stimulates the sebaceous glands and thus, increases the level of sebum in the hair.

Myth 2: Shampoo is harmful to the hair and causes hair loss.


Women in India seem to have an unfounded fear of shampoo.

It is indeed harmful to the hair to have a continuous supply of moisture applied to it, but shampooing is not the culprit.

Rather it is advisable not to wash your hair more than thrice a week (with or without shampoo), unless you find it distinctly greasy or dirty.

If you are a sports-person, or travel a lot and thus your hair gets dirty, don’t hesitate to use a shampoo while washing your hair -- only make sure it is formulated for daily use.

Shampoo is merely a cleansing agent and whether you use it in the form of soap or a liquid makes no difference, as long it is suited to your hair type.

Moreover, shampoo has no effect on hair loss; neither does it cause an increase in the production of sebum (oil).

The hair that fall out during shampooing are already in the Telogen phase.

We notice the hair fall more during shampooing because the hair in the Telogen phase become agitated.

People with oily hair should, in fact, shampoo their hair more frequently. But excessive hair fall is a cause for worry and should not be ignored. Consult your Trichologist if you notice excessive hair fall.

Myth 3: Shaving hair will make it grow thicker


Despite the fact that it has become almost mandatory to shave a baby’s head at least twice in the hope of promoting good hair growth, there is no evidence to suggest that shaving thickens your hair.

The quality of our hair is determined by a number of factors like diet, lifestyle, state of our health and hereditary factors.

It is very important to have a protein-rich and balanced diet.

Our hair also requires minerals like iron, copper and zinc in the right proportions. Deficiency of these will affect the condition and quality of hair.

Many women shy away from using the razor to get rid of body hair fearing it would make their hair grow thicker. Truth be told, it is one of the most convenient and safe modes of hair removal.

Myth 4: Cutting hair frequently will cause it to grow long faster


Many girls have cut their hair in the hope of making it grow longer, only to discover that new hair is taking a long time to grow.

Fact is that we cannot really hurry our hair in its growth process.

Instead we can keep it healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, washing and brushing it correctly.

Trimming the ends of the hair will only help you get rid of split ends.

If split ends are allowed to remain, they will continue to split higher causing hair to break off and thus shortening your length.

Myth 5: Oiling hair will rejuvenate hair re-growth


Despite the fact that oiling performs the essential function of conditioning of the scalp, it will not stop hair from falling if you are already suffering from hair loss. Nor will it accelerate the rate of hair re-growth.

Oiling acts as a scalp conditioner.

Make sure that when you oil your scalp, it should remain in the scalp for a minimum of four hours and maximum eight hours before you wash it away.

Myth 6: It is normal to lose 50 to 100 hair a day


Our hair does go through a natural cycle of growth and fall and as part of this process we lose a certain amount of hair after our hair has completed its period of growth.

The fact is that there is no fixed numbers of hair lost that can be considered abnormal.

Excessive hair loss simply means losing more hair than you naturally lose.

A trichologist can best check this by calculating your A/T ratio (ratio of growth to ratio of fall).

The A/T ratio in normal hair is 80:20; any deviation in this will lead to hair loss or excessive hair growth.

Dr Apoorva Shah is pioneer of trichology in India and founder Of RichFeel, a beauty and personal care company.

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Dr Apoorva Shah