Fish oil is extracted from the tissues of fatty fish, like mackerel, anchovies, trout, salmon, etc. Anecdotal evidence suggests that fish oil can make your hair shiny and strong. It is also used to soothe an irritated scalp and help prevent dandruff. Is fish oil the miracle hair care product that many make it out to be? In this article, we break down what science says about fish oil and how it really benefits your hair. Read on to know more!
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Fish Oil – How Is It Extracted?
Fish oil can be extracted through various methods like supercritical fluids, wet pressing, extraction using solvents, and fish silage employing enzymes (1). The two most common are wet pressing and extraction with solvents. Wet pressing requires cooking, pressing, decantation, and centrifugation. When extracting fish oil with solvents, the process depends on the solubility of lipids in organic solvents and the insolubility in water. This separates the carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals from water.
Let’s now look at the benefits of fish oil for the hair.
How Does Fish Oil Benefit The Hair?
- Research shows that fish oil derived from the mackerel helps stimulate hair growth. It prolongs the anagen phase of the hair follicle and shaft, increasing the hair shaft’s life period (2).
- Fish oil has antibacterial properties (3). It may help keep the scalp clean and improve hair and scalp health.
- Fish oil helps protect against aging, damage from heat, and dermatitis (4).
- According to researchers in Korea, consuming fermented fish oil can help hair growth. It increases the proliferation of dermal papilla cells, which stimulates hair growth (2). Fish oil contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids like DHA, which reduce atopic dermatitis and oxidative stress. This suggests that it might reduce hair loss caused by oxidative stress.
- Omega-3 can help reduce hair loss by increasing hair density and reducing the telogen phase of hair (5).
- It helps inhibit 5-alpha reductase, which produces the hormone that causes hair loss (6). It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce hair loss and improve hair health in terms of hair strength and volume. It also helps reduce the overproduction of grease.
- Fish oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids that affect the cell structure, lipid synthesis, and inflammation in the scalp and hair (7).
- Marine supplements were found to improve the skin and hair of women with self-perceived thinning hair (8).
Now that you know how fish oil can aid hair growth, here’s how you can use it to reap the benefits.
How To Use Fish Oil For Hair Growth
1. Include It In Your Diet
Fish is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein helps build and strengthen the hair, and omega-3 fatty acids help improve hair health. The oil extracted may help improve hair health when added to your diet. The recommended fish include mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, and lake trout. Try adding fish oil to your recipes and smoothies. Please check if you are allergic to fish oil before completely adding it to your diet.
2. Fish Oil Supplements
Another effective way to use fish oil for hair growth is in the form of various fish oil capsules, pills, and liquid supplements that are easily available on the market. A health professional can guide you properly about the correct dosage. This will give you visible results in a couple of weeks.
3. Fish Oil And Olive Oil Hair Mask
Fish oil is not often used topically. This is because it has a strong odor. Anecdotal evidence suggests that applying a blend of olive oil and fish oil to your hair helps nourish and moisturize it and also improves hair health. However, there are no scientific studies to back this up.
Fish oil and fish contain high amounts of mercury. Make sure the amount of fish and fish oil you eat is not more than the recommended amount. If you have any medical conditions, please check with your doctor before adding fish oil to your diet.
Whether or not you eat fish, trying out fish oil for your hair can actually help improve its health. It may be a little difficult at first to adjust to the smell, but once you move through that, be ready to flaunt healthy, shiny hair!
- Bonilla-Méndez, Jeimmy Rocío, and José Luis Hoyos-Concha. “Methods of extraction refining and concentration of fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids.” Ciencia y Tecnología Agropecuaria3 (2018): 645-668.
- Kang, Jung-Il et al. “Mackerel-Derived Fermented Fish Oil Promotes Hair Growth by Anagen-Stimulating Pathways.” International journal of molecular sciences 19,9 2770.
- Hashim, Ayat F et al. “Antioxidant and antibacterial activities of omega-3 rich oils/curcumin nanoemulsions loaded in chitosan and alginate-based microbeads.” International journal of biological macromolecules 140 (2019): 682-696.
- Huang, Tse-Hung et al. “Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin.” Marine drugs 16,8 256.
- Le Floc’h, Caroline et al. “Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology vol. 14,1 (2015): 76-82.
- Zanzottera, F., et al. “Efficacy of a Nutritional Supplement, Standardized in Fatty Acids and Phytosterols, on Hair Loss and Hair Health in both Women and Men.” J Cosmo Trichol121 (2017): 2.
- Hamel, A F et al. “Fatty acid supplements improve hair coat condition in rhesus macaques.” Journal of medical primatology 46,5 (2017): 248-251.
- Ablon, Glynis, and Steven Dayan. “A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Multi-center, Extension Trial Evaluating the Efficacy of a New Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology 8,12 (2015): 15-21.