Although used for a long time in nutrition as well as complementary health routine, flaxseed has been in use for your hair.
Whether you apply flaxseed as an oil, or eat more ground flaxseed regularly, there is a strong belief that doing it would make hair stronger for better growth and manageability.
While research is limited, there is no doubt that flaxseed and flaxseed oil has several health benefits.
How flaxseed may help hair
When applied to the hair, any plant-based oil might help seal the cuticle, which in turn helps prevent breakage for optimal growth. Flaxseed oil offers more specific benefits depending on its nutritional profile.
To get the nutritional benefits of flaxseed, you should eat ground-up seeds or oil. Topical applications may help on a temporary basis.
Flaxseed benefits for hair
The following ingredients could offer benefits for the hair:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: It has a fatty acid also found in fish, but it is a different form known as alpha-linolenic acid. Fish is a source of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. Plant-based ALA has many heart health benefits. It could also reduce inflammation which contributes to diseases in the body that may also affect hair growth.
- B vitamin. Flaxseed is a rich source of B vitamin, which are known for making the hair grow healthier and stronger at a rapid rate.
- Vitamin E. This antioxidant is also available in nuts and plant-based oil. For hair health, vitamin E lowers the impacts of free radicals on the scalp, so promoting hair growth. Sufficient vitamin E intake might also promote strong hair follicles.
How to use flaxseed for your hair
There are many ways you could reap the hair benefits of flaxseed. When using flaxseed in your hair, you do not simply add crushed or whole seeds — instead, you will want to use the oil.
You can get flaxseed oil in the grocery store, and in specialty wellness stores.
You can use flaxseed as the hair mask. For this, pour some amount of oil in the hands and massage into the hair. Leave it there for about 15 minutes, and then rinse out and shampoo.
You could also use flaxseed as a pre-conditioning option after shampooing. Rinse the oil out of the hair before using a conditioner.
You can also prepare flaxseed gel. Instead of rinsing it out, flaxseed hair gel can stay in the hair for the whole day until the next shampoo session.
Flaxseed oil is used in capsules to take as a supplement. Consult your doctor before taking supplements. Supplements could have adverse health effects.
While the dose depends on the manufacturer, some brands suggest that you can consume six flaxseed capsules in a day.
You can get the benefits of flaxseed by consuming crushed seeds. You can also add flaxseed for a sweet flavor to meals like salads, oatmeal, and grains.
With time, your hair might become stronger and smoother due fatty acids and antioxidant content in flaxseed. Like any other superfood, flaxseed can be best enjoyed as part of a diet.
Flaxseed oil and flaxseed has healthy plant-based supplements which you can add to daily meals. In few cases, you might not be able to have flaxseed internally. Consult your doctor if it is safe for you to take.
You could also apply flaxseed oil to your hair for smoothness and conditioning.
If you take your flaxseed, know that it is necessary to practice other healthy hair care processes too, including regular trims or cuts, shampooing, and conditioning.
Risks of flaxseed oil
Though flaxseed oil is a natural food source, it could still have some risks.
- gastrointestinal conditions, like bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps, gas, diarrhea
- toxicity from eating unripe seeds
- low blood pressure
- increased risk of prostate cancer
- increased level of estrogens, which might adversely impact a fetus during pregnancy
- drug interactions, mainly with blood thinners, insulin, cholesterol medications
- skin sensitivity to some topical oils
While flaxseed oil is a good supplement to provide much-needed omega-3 fatty acids, this is not the most abundant form.
Omega-3s from flaxseed should be converted into EPA and DHA before the body can absorb them, which means you can get a fraction of omega 3s.
If you want to have more omega-3s in the diet, you should avoid fatty fish or consuming fish oil. Trying flaxseed oil alone simply is not enough.