Contrary to the widely known usage of onions as vegetables or as part of a prepared savoury dish, scientists have shown that the juice of onions could be used as remedy for hair loss.
Hair loss also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head, this is very common and may involve bald patches, complete baldness or gradual thinning.
According to a dermatologist from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Prof. Adebola Ogunbiyi, Nigerians do not have adequate knowledge about their hair as a result of this, they have some degree of hair loss.
Studies have also disclosed that the most common cause of hair thinning or loss is a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. It could also happen as a side effect of some medications or because of hormonal changes.
A very good remedy a lot of people may not have heard of is the extract from onion which is also known as onion juice, which contains certain minerals, which may be good for the hair.
A small study published in the Journal of Dermatology indicated that applying onion juice to the scalp might help hair regrow in some people.
The study, involved participants who had alopecia areata, which is a non-scarring, patchy form of hair loss. Researchers found that hair growth started after 2 weeks of using onion juice, which was applied to the scalp twice daily.
Almost 74 percent of participants had some hair regrowth after 4 weeks, and at 6 weeks about 87 percent experienced hair regrowth. Both males and females participated in the study and the hair regrowth was higher among males.
Although the study did indicate positive results, it was small with only 38 participants.
Nutrients in the onion juice applied to the hair may nourish the hair follicles, which might increase volume, shine, and improve hair strength. The extra nutrition may also minimize breakages and thinning as well as conditioning, using onion juice may also promote new hair growth in some people.
The reason onion juice may help improve the health of the hair may be due to the following:
Onions have anti-bacterial properties, which may help fight scalp infections. In some cases, a scalp infection can contribute to hair loss. A healthy scalp is more likely to have strong hair follicles.
Onions contain antioxidants, such as flavonoids. Antioxidants are believed to protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are thought to contribute to the aging process. For example, free radicals may destroy the hair follicles and lead to thinning and loss of the hair. Thus, decreasing the activities of free radicals may reduce damage to the hair follicles.
One theory on how onion juice can help hair regrowth is that onions contain dietary sulfur. Sulfur is one of the most common minerals in the body. It is needed for adequate production of enzymes and proteins. Sulfur is also found in keratin, which is one of the components of hair.
The sulfur in onion juice may provide the hair with the nourishment it needs to grow. It may also increase the growing phase of the hair.
For those who want to try using onion juice to improve hair health or promote regrowth, the process is simple.
To make onion juice, people should follow these steps:
Peel about four onions and chop them into small pieces.
Extract the juice out of the onion by either squeezing it or using a juicer.
Another option is placing the onion pieces into a blender and blending into a paste. Place the paste in cheesecloth and squeeze all the juice out.
Apply the juice to the scalp or the hair roots.
A few drops of essential oil may also help decrease the potent odor of the juice. Peppermint, lavender, and rosemary essential oils can be good options to dilute the smell.
Currently, there are no commercial products, such as shampoos, that contain onion juice.
However, commercially prepared onion juice and onion liquid extract are available for those who do not want to make their own.
Test the onion juice on a small patch of skin before applying it to the scalp, to ensure that an allergic reaction does not occur.
Even though the onions are not being eaten, contact with the skin can cause symptoms in people who are allergic.
Onion juice can also be irritating to the skin among people who are not allergic, causing redness and itching.
To be sure that onion juice does not cause significant irritation, doing a patch test before applying the liquid to the whole scalp may be useful.
To do this, a person can apply a small amount of onion juice to the inner elbow or back of the ear and wait a few minutes. If irritation develops, it is best not to apply the juice to the scalp.
The odor may dissuade some people from continuing with onion juice treatment, as it must be applied every day to have the best chance of being effective.
Onion is a safe, natural, and affordable home remedy that can be great for your hair. Many people have reported that it improves thickness, stimulates growth, and even regenerates new growth when dealing with hair loss.
Still, onion juice is not a cure for pattern baldness, alopecia, or other hair loss-related disorders.
Using onion juice for hair is mostly safe. If you have an allergy to onions, you shouldn’t use onion juice on your hair.
Even among those who are not allergic, onions can be quite caustic to the skin. Side effects may include redness and itching, depending on how potent a concoction you make. Mixing onion juice with an emollient like aloe vera or coconut oil may prevent this.