3 oils that won’t make dandruff worse
The three best oils you can use for dandruff are Mineral oil, MCT oil, Squalane oil. (Essential oils are different but, are great too!)
Why are these oils the best?
They don’t make dandruff worse. Many other oils do. In fact, most vegetable oils can cause more flakes. And that’s because of Malassezia.
I’m not going to get into too much detail about Malassezia right now but, here are the basics
- It’s thought to cause dandruff
- Specific oils make Malassezia grow like vegetable oils
These three oils (Squalane, MCT, and Mineral) are the ones that do not feed Malassezia, the yeast that is thought to contribute to dandruff on an oily scalp.
Malassezia feeds on specific fatty acids like lauric acid (found in coconut oil). Not just coconut oil either. Most, if not all vegetable oils have the potential to make flakes worse.
The fatty acids in Mineral, MCT, and Squalane oil fall outside of the 11-24 carbon chain length that increases the growth rate of Malassezia furfur.
So naturally, it seems like they are the best choice.
If you want to use an oil treatment to combat dandruff I’d recommend using one of those three.
Mineral oil is different from vegetable oils. It is petroleum based rather than plant-based. And it’s inert. Mineral oil doesn’t react with other chemicals very easily.
As a result, the type of fungus thought to cause dandruff cannot “eat” this type of oil. You won’t be further feeding your dandruff problems if you use mineral oil.
I mentioned that mineral oil doesn’t react with chemicals easily. This stuff doesn’t get absorbed by the skin very easily either. It’s occlusive. Which means it sits on top of the skin and acts as a barrier. It can both help you by protecting your skin from the elements but, can trap in sweat and natural oils from your skin that could make things worse.
Like a dual edged sword.
Is mineral oil bad to use even though it doesn’t grow M
Many people think of mineral oil as a bad product because of how it’s produced. I mentioned it’s petroleum-based because it’s made as a by-product of refining crude oil. That doesn’t make it bad.
Untreated or lightly treated mineral oil can cause a lot of problems from clogging pores to cancer.
Sounds pretty horrible right? But, the mineral oil used in cosmetics is highly refined to get rid of any impurities. It’s thought to be non-carcinogenic but, there isn’t enough evidence to show it’s 100% harmless.
Mineral oil is very inexpensive but, because it doesn’t get absorbed by your scalp it can feel a bit greasy. So I recommend if you’re going for mineral oil, you go for a lightweight version.
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. They essentially come from coconut oil. It’s a great source to extract specific MCTs from.
But, coconut oil is bad for dandruff right? Yes, that’s why MCT oil must not have lauric acid in it.
If you choose to get MCT oil you need to look at the label for the specific fatty acids in coconut oil that Malassezia eats (like lauric acid). We don’t want that in our oil.
Caprylic and Capric acid are the two fatty acids most commonly found in MCT oil but, lauric acid is sometimes in it as well. Caprylic and capric acid both have carbon chain lengths below 11. Which means Malassezia should not be worsened by it.
Why is MCT oil one of the best oils for countering dandruff?
This study mentions that Caprylic acid (or octanoic acid) was found to be the most effective of the medium and short chain fatty acids as far as antimicrobial activity goes. It might be useful for treatment against the yeast in the future.
Squalane comes from squalene. It’s basically a more stable form of squalene that won’t cause damage to your skin from auto-oxidation.
It’s used in a lot of skin care products as a moisturizer and emollient (softens skin).
It has a high carbon chain length: 30. Again, Malassezia won’t get worse!
Squalane is reported to have anticancer, skin hydrating, and emollient properties.
If you have dandruff and you feel that your scalp is very dry, squalane oil may be the way to go. And it has a very long shelf life.