,

Spotlight On Omegas!

7:17 PM


I'm sure you've heard over, and over, and over again that omegas (3, 6 and 9) are great for your health and can help alleviate, cure, or ease any number of ailments. But did you know that they are also great for the health of your hair? Let's explore.

I'm about to get a little science-y for a second...just hang with me. Omega 3, 6 and 9 are all fatty acids -- two of which are considered essential to human body functioning (3 and 6). All three are molecular chains of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon.
key
The differences between the three and how they perform in our bodies are at the molecular level. All fats have COOH (Butyric acid) at the beginning of the chain (known as the alpha end). Omegas get their name because they are the carbons furthest (omega = end/last letter of Greek alphabet) away from the Butyric acid in the chain.
butyric acid
Their number (3, 6, 9) indicates the number of carbons from the omega carbon to the first double bond. Let's take a quick look:

Still with me? Good. Now that you have a feel for what omegas are, let's talk about what they do for our bodies and our hair.
Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acid is considered one of the essential fatty acids, because our bodies cannot make it. It is chiefly famous for being an anti-inflammatory agent, which can ease any number of medical conditions. Additionally, it counteracts the pro-inflammatory properties of omega-6. In terms of hair benefits, omega-3:


  • Increases hair elasticity (less breakage)
  • Nourishes hair follicles
  • Can help re-start hair growth
  • Increases hair strength and thickness
  • Prevent or reverse hair loss
  • Improve flaky/dry scalp
  • Improve scalp circulation

  • Get omega-3 in your diet with: seafood (salmon, sardines, halibut, tuna, herring, mackerel, cod), seeds & nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds), and fruits & veggies (strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens, spinach).

    Omega-6
    Omega-6 is another essential fatty acid that our bodies cannot produce. It supports brain development, the immune system, and helps regulate blood pressure. When it comes to hair, omega-6:



  • Controls water loss in hair
  • Stimulates hair growth
  • Controls/helps improve eczema and similar skin/scalp conditions

  • Get omega-6 in your diet with: vegetable oils (you really can't go wrong, as long as your cooking oil is vegetable-based).
    Omega-9
    Omega-9 is a non-essential fatty acid, because our bodies are able to generate it from unsaturated fats. Omega-9 helps regulate bad cholesterol and supports immune function. Omega-9 in the hair:


  • Controls water loss in hair
  • Makes hair softer and more pliable

  • It's not difficult to get omega-9 in your diet. Chances are, something you're eating is getting you enough already!

    Getting omegas in your body is one thing, getting them on your hair is another. If you're in the market for a new oil, and you want some omega benefits, maybe this chart will help you. Or, if you already have a favorite oil, see how it stacks up!

    Oil
    Omega-3
    Omega-6
    Omega-9
    Almond
    (X)
    X
    Avocado
    (X)
    X
    Coconut
    (X)
    X
    Evening Primrose
    X
    (X)
    Flax Seed
    X
    (X)
    (X)
    Grapeseed
    X
    (X)
    Hemp Seed 
    (X)
    X
    (X)
    Kukui Nut
    (X)
    X
    Macadamia Nut
    (X)
    X
    Neem
    (X)
    X
    Olive
    (X)
    X
    Palm Kernel
    X
    Safflower
    X
    (X)
    Soybean
    (X)
    X
    (X)
    Sunflower
    X
    (X)

    X = highest fatty acid content
    (X) = contains this fatty acid, but less than 20%

    Isn't it amazing what a little omega can do for your hair? When the fatty acids in oils come together, they help serve three wonderful purposes:
    1. Cement: They shape the substance that seal scales of the hair cuticle, in the same way that cement keeps together the bricks in a wall. Because the scales are "cemented" together, they make for a smooth surface, which enables the hair to protect itself against external aggressions, and to reflect light (shiny hair).
    2. Barrier: Also known as sealing. They prevent the water that was absorbed by the hair from evaporating.
    3. Sponge: Fatty acids are also mild humectants. They are able to absorb small amounts of water from the air's humidity in order to help maintain hair hydration.
    Lastly, it's important to understand that all oils are not created equally. You and your hair will reap the most benefit from oils that are:



  • Virgin or Pure: Meaning that the oil was obtained by mechanical processes, without industrial refinement or chemical additives.
  • Cold Pressed: Meaning that the seeds, nuts, or kernels are pressed to release their oils without heat. Cold pressed oils best retain the nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids that provide the benefits you seek. Heat diminishes their presence and effectiveness.
  • Organic: Which guarantees that there is has been no fertilizer, no herbicides or chemical pesticides in the environment where the product source is cultivated. Because those elements are soluble in greasy substances, they end up in the raw product (unrefined/cold pressed). Only industrial refinement can then eliminate the impurities...then the oil itself loses its effectiveness. Talk about a vicious cycle.
  • For a rundown on some of the best natural hair oils, click here.

    You Might Also Like

    0 comments