is amla oil bad for natural hair
Amla is high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which can be good for hair health. Learn about the benefits and side effects of amla oil

Amla oil is derived from Indian gooseberry and has long been used in traditional medicine. High in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, amla oil is purported to stimulate hair growth, strengthen hair follicles, and add shine to hair.

However, it’s important to do a patch test before using any new product. Possible side effects of amla oil use on hair include the following:

  • Amla oil may cause the scalp to get greasy.
  • Topical application of amla oil has been shown to cause lichen planus pigmentosus, a rare condition that causes patches, macules and other lesions to appear on the skin, particularly in areas that rub against each other. Hence, people with sensitive scalps should exercise caution.
  • Low-quality amla oil can pose risks to hair health, such as scalp irritation, red bumps over the scalp (folliculitis), and inflammation.

6 benefits of amla oil for your hair

With a high concentration of healthy fatty acids, as well as flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and other active compounds, amla oil has several benefits when used on hair:

  1. Hair growth: The phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in amla promote healthy hair growth by increasing scalp circulation. Vitamin C in amla is responsible for the production of collagen, which helps stimulate hair growth, both in length and volume. Apply warm oil to the scalp for 15 minutes before washing it off.
  2. Prevent hair loss: According to some studies, amla oil is a potent inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase. This is especially important for those experiencing hormonal hair losses due to polycystic ovarian syndrome or thyroid imbalances.
  3. Treats dandruff: Studies have shown that the active ingredients in amla hair oil have anti-dandruff, antibacterial, and purifying properties. This oil is particularly beneficial for dry scalp and dermatitis because it deeply moisturizes the scalp, reduces inflammation, and relieves itching.
  4. Moisturizes hair: Amla can nourish, strengthen, and condition hair, making it shiny. Amla hair oil has a moisture content of up to 81.%. Because amla oil acts as a conditioner, those with dry hair may benefit.
  5. Improves pigmentation: Amla is commonly found in hair coloring products because it helps fight against discoloration. It may also help prevent premature graying.
  6. Antifungal and antimicrobial: Because amla oil has antifungal properties, it can kill dermatophytes, which are the main cause of hair loss. Antimicrobial properties also eliminate hair odor and bacteria.


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What are other health benefits of amla oil?

Amla has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over a thousand years. It is believed to have the following health benefits:

  • Skin health: Gives the skin a healthy glow and helps prevent skin infections.
  • Eye health: Reduces the risk of cataracts and protects the retina from oxidative stress, due to vitamin A and antioxidant content.
  • Lowers bad cholesterol: Lowers low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood, due to high concentrations of calcium, iron, anthocyanin, potassium, and flavonoids.
  • Boosts immunity: High in vitamin C and helps the body fight infections, such as the common cold and flu
  • Digestive health: Antibacterial properties help prevent or heal gastrointestinal infections.
  • Controls blood sugar: Contains the mineral chromium which regulates carb metabolism and makes the body more responsive to insulin.

Studies on amla are underway to determine if it can be used to make medications to lower blood pressure and prevent premature aging.

What to keep in mind before using amla oil

While there are many potential benefits of using amla oil on your hair, it’s important to understand that the majority of amla research is in the preliminary stage and has not yet been approved by the FDA. 

Hormonal levels, stress, and diet play a major role in hair health. Consult a dermatologist if you have severe hair loss or greying.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/2/2021
Image Source: mirzamlk / Getty Images

Yu JY, Gupta B, Park HG, et al. Preclinical and Clinical Studies Demonstrate That the Proprietary Herbal Extract DA-5512 Effectively Stimulates Hair Growth and Promotes Hair Health. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:4395638.

WebMD. Health Benefits of Amla (Indian Gooseberry).

Ebena. Amla Oil - The benefits for your hair and scalp.