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Everyone experiences some degree of hair fall every day, that generally goes unnoticed. It is a normal part of the hair cycle where new hair strands are formed continuously, and old ones are shed daily.
The first stage of the hair cycle is anagen or the growth phase, during which hair length increases by approximately 1 cm per month. This phase is the longest part of the hair cycle that persists for 2-3 years.
The next phase is catagen or the transition phase, wherein active hair growth stops, leading to the onset of hair follicle deterioration. This is accompanied by the shrinking of the follicular sheath, which then attaches to the hair shaft.
While 90% of your hair falls off during the growth phase, the rest of the 10% enters the last phase of the cycle known as telogen, where hair growth stops completely.
The fully-grown hair enters an inactive state, which lasts for 3-4 months before falling out. The shedding of the matured strands marks the end of the hair cycle, after which the hair follicle starts growing a new strand of hair.
Hair fall becomes a problem when it is more than what your hair cycle can make up for. Large clumps of hair stuck in your comb or falling out in the shower are just a few of the nuisances that can make hair loss a daily struggle.
Over time, excessive hair loss may lead to bald patches, or alopecia, in people of all age groups and gender.
Hair breakage reflects poorly on your health, and aside from being a cosmetic concern, it can also lead to mental stress by adversely affecting your self-image.
Several specific or general factors contribute to hair loss, which includes:
- Improper nutrition
- Unhealthy diet
- Hormonal imbalance
- Excessive stress
- Exposure to environmental pollutants or radiation
- Use of certain medications
The first step is to identify the root cause of the hair shedding problem to correct it.
For some people, increased hair fall can be a side effect of a preexisting medical condition or its prescribed drug treatment that may inhibit the activity of hair follicles, thereby preventing the formation of new hair strands.
Some people may face aggravated hair loss in the wake of certain hormonal fluctuations. Also, less specific causes, such as infection or inflammation, can make your hair fall out in a bunch.
Hair fall may not last forever but is an annoyance for as long as it does. A lot of people splurge on expensive hair care products that may or may not yield the desired results.
Some of these products may slow down the rate of hair shedding, but for only as long as you continue the treatment. Thus, you are stuck using these overpriced, often chemical-containing products that do not offer any long-term solution to hair thinning.
Therefore, an alternate, cheaper idea is to try some home remedies that have ingredients shown to aid in hair growth. This can help reduce hair fall without burning a hole in your pocket.
Onion and Honey for Hair Growth
Hair strands are made up of keratin, which is a fibrous protein composed of sulfur-containing amino acids. (1) Sulfur is important for the production and maintenance of essential hair proteins such as collagen and keratin.
While keratin gives structural strength to the hair strand, collagen makes hair more elastic and less prone to breakage. Since onions are a rich source of sulfur, a logical suggestion is to use onion juice to treat hair loss.
In addition to sulfur, onions also contain good amounts of nutrients, including vitamins C and B6, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients may collectively improve your hair health by: (2)
- Reducing scalp inflammation
- Boosting blood circulation in the scalp
- Invigorating hair follicles
- Regenerating hair growth
In a 2002 preliminary clinical research study, onion juice was found to be more effective in treating alopecia areata in comparison with tap water when used twice a day for 8 weeks. (3)
However, the medicinal effectiveness of onion in treating alopecia does not have sufficient scientific proof. More comprehensive studies involving a larger population of human subjects are needed.
Bee honey has more than one therapeutic property to its credit and is often used in various beauty products for skin and hair.
Raw honey is an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant and has long been used in different schools of medicine all over the world.
Raw honey is a common ingredient of various home remedies, and using it with onion juice can solve the problem of dry, brittle, and dull hair by providing it with deep nourishment. (4)
Honey and onion can be found in almost everyone’s kitchen and are used regularly. However, at times, their dermal application may trigger adverse reactions in some people.
If you have sensitive skin, direct contact with onion may lead to an allergic breakout or even eczema.
Cutting onion releases sharp, pungent fumes that cause tearing and redness in the eyes. This irritation usually subsides in a few minutes, but if the problem persists for a long time, you should avoid further exposure to an onion.
Although honey is said to be very gentle on the skin, raw honey can trigger allergies in some people as it contains pollen. If you experience any health issue after applying honey, avoid using it in the future. (5)
Caution: Before applying honey and onion directly to your scalp, do a patch test first to rule out any allergic reactions.
Onion for Hair Loss
1. Direct Application
Applying onion juice directly to the scalp is the best way to derive its benefits.
- Peel the onion and cut it into small pieces.
- Add these pieces to a juicer or use a garlic press to extract their juice.
- Apply the juice to your hair using your fingers, and massage it gently onto the scalp in circular movements. Massaging your scalp improves blood circulation and stimulates the hair follicles.
- Leave the onion juice in your hair for a minimum of 15 minutes or overnight and wash it off in the morning.
- Wash your hair with a shampoo of your choice. If you want to save the labor, you can add onion juice directly into your shampoo and make it a part of your hair wash routine.
Note: Onion juice has a watery consistency and can run into your eyes if applied directly to the hairline. To avoid irritating your eyes, apply the juice to the crown of your head and massage it outward into the surrounding scalp area covering your hairline.
2. Onion Juice and Honey Mask Treatment
Follow this easy recipe to make your own natural hair loss mask treatment at home.
- One onion
- 1-2 tbsp raw honey
- Essential oil of your choice (optional)
How to Make
- After peeling the onion skin, cut the onion into small pieces and blend them to a paste-like texture.
- Strain the onion pulp or simply press it with a spoon and collect its juice in a bowl.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey to the onion juice.
- If you want, you can add any essential oil of your choice to this mixture. Different essential oils may provide additional benefits to your hair health in different ways.
- Combine the ingredients well.
How to Use
- Apply the mask all over your scalp, paying special attention to the bald areas and receding hairline.
- Use a shower cap to cover your head and allow the treatment to work.
- Leave this mask in your hair for 30 minutes to overnight.
- Rinse it out with your regular shampoo.
Note: This treatment may take some time to provide any noticeable improvement. Multiple applications for a few months may be needed.
- Chopping onion is a hassle as it releases pungent fumes that sting the eye and trigger the tear glands. To prevent eyes watering, keep the onion in the freezer for a good 15 minutes before chopping it.
- You can grate the onion instead of blending or pressing it. Grated onion can be passed through a cheesecloth or a cotton cloth to separate its juice. You can also use an electric juicer for this purpose.
- Raw onions are known for their pungent and strong odor that can linger in your hair even after you shampoo them.This can be avoided by adding a few drops of fragrant oils, such as rosemary, lavender, or peppermint oil, to the mask. Doing so will not only promote better hair growth but also diminish the strong onion stink.
- Adding lemon juice and rose water to your hair mask can also reduce the onion smell to some extent.
Tips if You Have Increased Hair Loss
- Factors leading to abnormal hair loss may range from nutritional deficiency to an underlying health disorder.If your dietary measures and hair care routine fail to curb excessive hair loss, you should see a dermatologist who will rule out the exact reason for your hair fall and recommend the best course of treatment.
- Excessive hair shedding can lead to bald patches if not treated in time. In fact, you should take proper hair care measures to address the problem as soon as you notice it. Failing to do so may result in alopecia, which is much harder to reverse.
- A lot of shampoos contain harsh chemicals that can strip away the moisture from your scalp and make your hair dry, brittle, and susceptible to breakage. So, if you are struggling with hair fall, use a mild shampoo that can clean the scalp without drying it out.
- Always use a hair conditioner after shampooing to keep your tresses smooth, soft, and well hydrated.
- To prevent knots in your hair, use a detangler or a leave-in conditioner that can make your hair smooth and easy to manage.
- Use a microfiber towel to dry your hair. Its softness reduces friction against the hair strands.
- Avoid using hair colors, perms, and straightening and relaxing agents as these chemical treatments can weaken your hair and increase their shedding.
- Hairstyling tools such as curlers, hairdryers, and hot irons should not be used frequently as they can make your hair increasingly dry, frizzy, and prone to breakage.
- Avoid hairstyles that pull at your hair and create stress on the hairline.
- If your hair loss is due to genetic reasons, there is hardly anything you can do to stop it. While this kind of hair shedding has no cure, some treatments may slow down the rate of hair fall and also trigger some degree of hair regrowth.
- If nothing else works to treat your bald patches, consider getting a hair transplant.
Among all the home remedies recommended for hair loss, onion juice has emerged as one of the most popular. Its high content of sulfur, flavonoids, and antioxidants is believed to work for the reversal of hair loss by revitalizing hair growth.
Moreover, onions are easily available and economical, and their juice can be applied in a fairly simple way. Although a lot of people do swear by the benefits of onion juice for hair health, its exact role in controlling hair fall needs further scientific validation.