According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 80 million men and women in the United States have some degree of hair loss.
The most common cause of hair thinning or loss is a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. It can also happen as a side effect of some medications or because of hormonal changes.
One home remedy many people may not have heard of is onion juice.
- Onions contain certain minerals, which may be good for the hair.
- Anyone allergic to onions should not use onion juice on their hair.
- If the smell is too much to stand, adding a little lemon juice or rose water helps.
- Although a popular home remedy, more research is needed to conclude if onion juice works as a hair loss treatment.
Does it work?
Hair loss and hair thinning is a common problem, and many seek natural treatments to encourage hair growth. Onion juice is one possible treatment.
The use of onion juice for hair regrowth has not been extensively researched.
One 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.
How it may help
Onions have many potential health benefits. Onion juice may help to encourage the growth of thick, healthy hair.
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:
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.
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.
Cancelling out or decreasing free radicals may reduce damage to the hair follicles.
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.
It is also important to avoid getting onion juice in the eyes. Onion juice that drips into the eyes can lead to burning and redness.
If onion juice does get into the eyes, it is important to rinse it away with cool water.
Although it is not a harmful side effect, onion juice can have a very strong smell.
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.
Some people might have success using onion juice for hair regrowth or conditioning while others will not.
Also, the use of onion juice is not going to grow hair quickly. It takes a commitment to applying the onion juice twice daily over the course of several weeks to see if positive results can be achieved.
Studies are limited, so it is not clear that hair growth will continue or if the hair will return to its original state if the use of onion juice is stopped.
The bottom-line is that the use of onion juice, as a hair treatment, is probably not a miracle cure for hair loss. However, it does appear to be safe for most people if they are not allergic to onions.
Side effects also appear to be minimal. It is also fairly easy and not too costly to make an onion juice rinse for the hair.
Even if the use of onion juice does not produce a full head of hair, it probably will not damage existing hair.
So, for some people with hair loss, the use of onion juice may be a possible natural remedy that is worth a try.