Hair Growth - Growing Back Edges with Emu Oil

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I live downunder, in the land of Emus. Being the hair junkie that I am, was surprised that I'd never tried to use Emu oil! So off I went, scouring hairboards for anectodal evidence that this oil did something for hair. I came across a few posts claiming improvements mainly in hair lines/ edges. Exactly what I needed. I then headed to journal articles to see if there was a scientific basis for this. This was what I found:

  • One study found emu oil has the ability to penetrate the skin barrier and largely has an anti-inflamatory effect. It was also found to suppress the inflammatory disease, arthritis. However, the study also found that the quality of emu oil that can be found in the market is greatly variable and is often mixed with other oil such as chicken fat or linseed oil (i.e. it's important to make sure you're getting a pure as possible product). (Whitehouse, M.W., Turner, A.G., Davis, C.K.C., Roberts, M.S. (1998). Emu Oil(s): A source of non-toxic transdermal anti-inflammatory agent in Aboriginal medicine. Inflammopharmacology, 6, 1-8).

  • In a pilot double-blind study (i.e. neither the researcher or the participant knows what treatment the particpant is getting, it just eliminates bias) participants were given mineral oil and emu oil, then asked to use and rank each (again without knowing which was which) on permeability and moisturizing properties. Emu oil ranked higher in both properties, on average. (Although, for the more technical readers, the difference for moisturizing properties was not found to be statistically significant, probably due to the small sample size, n= 11). (Zemstov, A., Gaddis, M., Montalvo-Lugo, V.M. (1996) Moisturizing and cosmetic properties of emu oil: a pilot double blind study. Australian Journal of Dermatology, 37, 169-152).

  • So what does inflammation have to do with edges, I hear you ask. Well, other studies have found that physical stress, caused by hairstyles such as braids, will result in mechanical damage to hair follicles. This in turn results in inflammation on the affected ares. (Khumalo, N.P., Jessop S., Gumedze F., Ehrlich., R. (2008) Determinants of marginal traction alopecia in African girls and women. J Am Acad Dermatol, 59, 432-438).

  • Relaxers in certain circumstances can result in inflammation, resulting in particular forms of alopecia (Khumalo, N.P., Pillay, K., Ngwanya, R.M. (2007)Acute 'relaxer'-associated scarring alopecia: a report of five cases. British Journal of Dermatology, 156, 1395-1396).

  • Here's an article by a UK based scientist on Emu oil. It's a great blog too!!

It's all well and good to have the scientific backing on the properties, but does this stuff actually work in the real world. Do the anti-inflammorty properties of emu oil help to alleviate the inflammatory effects of some of our styling practices? Unfortunately there are currently no studies directly linking emu oil and hair growth, so for now us hair junkies will have to rely on correlations with current studies, anectodes from forums, website, blogs and personal experience.

Looking around for any success stories, I found this website that has a page dedicated to growing back edges with Emu oil. At the bottom, she has pictures of her progress over 12 weeks, and there is quite a bit of improvement. She does also go into a bit of detail on factors that may have affected her results, which helps a little.

It does sound promising. We know it's definately not toxic, so I'm open to trying it. Regimen:

  • As simple as applying it on my edges every 2-3 nights for the next month. Depending on how my scalp feels, I may and probably will extend this little challenge to 3 months. I'll be taking a photo every week to keep tabs on the progress. I won't be applying anything else to my edges while I do this.

Anyhoo, let me know what you think. Do you have any experience with Emu oil?

Out With the Curly Weave, In With Mission Edges.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I took out the curly weave. It was matting and frizzing, so it was like a mini civil war every morning to try and get it looking right. Even then:

It behaved for as long as it could, I suppose. I had this hair in for 3 weeks total(when I put it back in after the first round, I used the same batch of hair). I use Amla oil to maintain my extensions. It's not the authentic kind, it's very runny, green and makes my real hair dry and hard. I'm sure it's laden with mineral oil. I'd bought about 4 or 5 bottles, so I'm glad I've found a use for it. I apply it everyday if I can, but I don't put much. It leaves extensions soft and shiney. Because it's fragranced, it doesn't end up smelling rancid, thank goodness.

I also felt my edges weren't protected enough in the weave. I could feel them being tugged at as I slept :(. Yes I used a scarf, in fact, I use 2 scarves. 1 satin, 1 silk. Not surprisingly, when I'd finished taking everything out, my edges looked worse!!! They'd been doing much better before this.

I'm in the process of coming up with a plan to get my edges back. I'll post it up soon :)

Wash Day in a Curly Weave

Saturday, May 2, 2009

So I weaved up again on the 17th/18th of April, which means it's been about 2 weeks. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't had a single wash day in those 2 weeks! I know, I know, but school's been really busy and I just haven't had the chance. I guess another reason is that I was too scared as I didn't know what this synthetic hair would look like after a wash. Didn't want to have to go around looking like a scarecrow because I simply don't have the time to re-do the weave if it all went haywire. So I braved up today. Washed a bit differently, mixing:

1) Shikakai powder with a little bit of shampoo and lots of water. I know, you're not meant to mix shikakai and shampoo as it can be extra drying, but I had a LOT of build up and just wanted to make sure that I cleaned properly. I poured the mixture onto my scalp. It was quite difficult with a curly weave, but I did what I could. Better than nothing. I then left it for 5-10 minutes, then rinsed for 5 minutes.

2) Conditioner with water which I poured between as many lines as I could, squeezed excess water out of the weave hair, baggied for about 20 minutes then rinsed thoroughly.

I don't know what I was scared about, the weave still looks fine, probably even a little better than before : ). It's about 80% dry now and I'm about to apply one of my new found loves, an oil, that I'm using as a growth aid. I've been using it for about 1 and a half weeks and I see little hairs sprouting on my edges : ) nothing major, but it's something! I'll post more details in the next few posts.

I've been really bad and neglecting my hair (*lowers head in shame*), but hey, school comes first. Always. After washing today, I noticed 2 braids that were hanging on for dear life and my hair was twisting! : ( I immediately took them out and redid them ... but if I want my edges back, I've gotta do better than that. Edges need to be re-done. Hopefully I get the chance at the end of this week.

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