Mineral oil, an odorless and colorless liquid, is often added to skin and hair care products as a moisturizing agent. While it is a by-product in the production of gasoline, the type used in cosmetics is highly purified and FDA-approved for topical use.
Today, we look at mineral oil’s potential hair health benefits and explore other types of oils also commonly used in a variety of hair care products.
Reduce Hair Damage – Mineral oil is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. Adding mineral oil to your hair care routine once or twice a week may reduce the amount of water your hair absorbs, which limits swelling. Hair that repeatedly swells and dries can be more prone to damage.
Tames Tangles and Frizz – Some claim that applying mineral oil to hair helps reduce tangles and prevent frizz by serving as a lubricant.
Dandruff Treatment – Because it acts as a moisturizer, mineral oil can reduce dandruff by keeping the scalp moist. If you suffer from dandruff, try applying a little mineral oil to your scalp, leave it on for an hour, brush it through, and wash it out with your favorite shampoo.
Head Lice Treatment – Mineral oil may be as effective in treating lice as traditional pesticide-based products, and with fewer side effects. Simply saturate the hair with mineral oil and wrap it in a towel overnight or for approximately 8 hours. Then wash it out with shampoo.
Potential Side Effects
While generally considered safe, mineral oil does come with these potential side effects:
- Allergic reaction, redness, itching, swelling, and rash
- Acne breakouts
- Eye irritation
- Scalp irritation
Alternatives to Mineral Oil
- Coconut Oil – Contains lauric acid which may be beneficial to hair health
- Olive Oil – Contains oleic acid, palmitic acid, and squalene (believed to soften hair)
- Argan Oil – Contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E, that are linked to hair health.
DiStefano is dedicated to helping you maintain a healthy head of hair for life. If you’re starting to lose some where it has become noticeable to yourself and others, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Our medical team can make you look you’re your former self.