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True Or False: Coconut Oil Can Help You Grow Out Your Hair

Women's Health logo Women's Health 9/3/2018 Korin Miller
a person looking at the camera: Coconut oil has moisturizing and antimicrobial properties that can benefit skin and hair. But can you really use it for hair growth? Here's what the experts say. © Piotr Marcinski / EyeEm - Getty Images Coconut oil has moisturizing and antimicrobial properties that can benefit skin and hair. But can you really use it for hair growth? Here's what the experts say.

When you’re ready to grow your hair out, you want it to be longer, like yesterday.

So when you hear influencers freaking out about how coconut oil can help hair grow faster, it seems worth a try. After all, coconut oil can basically do...anything?

PSA: Coconut oil does squat for hair growth.

Sorry to break it to you, but there's "no evidence" that coconut oil (or any other oil) will actually help your hair grow longer, says Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Yes, coconut oil has moisturizing and antimicrobial (bacteria and fungus-fighting) properties that make it beneficial for skin and hair, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City–based board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. But neither of those properties directly translate into faster hair growth.

If you’re struggling with thinning hair, Rogaine can help by encouraging healthy follicle growth, Zeichner says. Other derms have also previously recommended taking a hair growth supplement (such as Nutrafol or Viviscal).

Are there any benefits to using coconut oil in your hair?

Actually, yes. Coconut oil has tons of fatty acids, making it a great natural conditioner, says Zeichner. And coconut oil can help reduce levels of yeast on your scalp that can lead to dandruff, he adds. (Although if you have a serious case of scalp flake, Zeichner says you'll find better results with a dandruff shampoo.)

Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that help decrease local inflammation (which can mess with your hair’s ability to grow), says Goldenberg. It's also packed with lauric acid, which helps to strengthen and moisturize your hair, Goldenberg adds.

All of these properties can help hair become stronger and less prone to damage-which can promote healthier growth. But that's not quite the same as directly causing hair growth, obvz.

How to use coconut oil for hair

If you want to try it, make a DIY conditioning hair mask using plain yogurt, coconut oil, and honey. Let it sit in clean, wet hair, then rinse thoroughly after 10 minutes. You'll find hair that's extra-soft and smooth. You can also just apply some straight to your hair and let it sit overnight as you sleep for an intensely-hydrating experience.

One thing to keep in mind: Goldenberg says that people who use coconut oil on their scalps can develop acne or folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles) because the oil can clog the pores on your scalp. So if you already ar eprone to scalp zits, this isn't the hair treatment for you.

The bottom line: Coconut oil can certainly help promote a healthier scalp and hair (you know, hydrated, less dandruff-prone, that kind of thing), which can ultimately lead to hair growth. But it's not a guarantee.

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