Garlic Oil May Treat Alopecia & Acne, Studies Say

Carla St. Louis
Aged garlic extract and a bulb of garlic.Deposit Photos

Disclaimer: Although this article is cited by credited, scientific publications, do not incorporate garlic oil or garlic supplements into your diet or skincare routine until you get a consultation from your physician. Diallyl disulfide may irritate your skin. You may develop dermatitis, a rash, or a second degree skin burn, says a 2015 case report.

Garlic (scientifically known as Allium sativum L. fam. Alliaceae) is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family which includes other vegetables such as onion, rakkyo (an onion that's grown in Asia), chive, leek, and shallot.

When it comes to garlic, it's potential health benefits are well-documented, says a 2020 overview. The Egyptian Codex Ebers (also known as Ebers Papyrus) and the Greek "magical papyra" both mention the use of garlic extract for medicinal reasons. According to a 2014 review, garlic extract has a positive biological effect on your immune system and liver, and treating cardiovascular diseases and cancer. One of the reasons why garlic has a noted reputation for having therapeutic effects is because of one of its active ingredients, allicin, is a bioactive compound. According to a 2014 article, allicin has a bunch of helpful benefits, such as it may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. A 2020 abstract has also shown evidence that garlic may reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Research has shown that garlic is a juggernaut--it can treat many skin issues and encourage hair growth for people with alopecia areata. The benefits of garlic are rooted in the bioactive compounds its made up of which works wonders on your skin's health, says a 2021 review. There are many studies that highlight garlic's role in hair gorwth; combating acne; treating psoriasis, and protecting your skin from the Sun.

What is a Bioactive Compound?

The reason why garlic is such a powerhouse is due to its active ingredients. Garlic is made up of bioactive compounds. A bioactive compound is a chemical found in small amounts in certain foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils, and whole grains. Tooted for causing actions in the body that may promote good health, bioactive compounds are being studied in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.

Bioactive Compounds & Their Benefits:

Allicin - Dubbed the heart of garlic by author Peter Josling, this compound helps ease inflammation and block free radicals that harm cells and tissues in your body. It's such a necessary component of garlic that if allicin is removed, the extract loses its antimicrobial properties, says a 1991 study. Allicin starts cell-death and prevents cancer cells from spreading, says a 2014 article. The article also details how allicin slows down the spread of bacteria and fungi, including antibiotic-resistant strains such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A 1960 study found that mice that were incubated in allicin and later had a tumor transferred into their body didn't experience more growth compared to the control group.

Alliin - One of the major sulfur containing components in garlic (and onion), this compound is a main source of the many health effects of garlic, according to a 2021 paper.

Diallyl disulfide - This compound works in many ways: it has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. The compound has anti-inflammatory properties that control immune cells, according to a 2021 study. It also acts as an antioxidant in repairing and preventing tissue damage.

Diallyl trisulfide - This compound is currently being studied for its ability to stop the spread of cancer and its treatment, according to a 2017 review.

Ajoene - This compound prevents fungal from forming while also having antiparasitic properties, according to the National Library of Medicine.

S-allylcysteine - Classified as the most abundant source of sulfur found in garlic, this compound gives antioxidant properties since it protects against oxidative stress, says a 2010 abstract.

For Alopecia Areata (And Hair Loss):

Garlic extract may be used to treat hair loss. Participants with alopecia areata saw an increase in hair growth when they used garlic extract alone or with another ingredient. For example, patients with alopecia areata saw hair growth by the second week of the study after using garlic extract on their scalp, says a 2009 article. A 2007 study showed that a gel made of 5% garlic (and betamethasone valerate) can stimulate hair growth. Garlic oil or extract can treat another scalp issue that affects women--namely scalp psoriasis by controlling the inflammation process and itching associated with it, says The Independent Pharmacy.

Garlic Extract For Acne Free Skin

Applying garlic extract topically to your face may give you smooth, blemish free skin. (Essential oils may also help treat stubborn acne.) Studying the benefits of garlic in dermatology has highlighted its many uses in skincare, shows a 2011 article. Due to its active ingredient, allicin--which has antibacterial effects--garlic extract can reduce swelling and inflammation associated by acne, and even kill the bacteria that causes it, says a 2011 study. Those same properties makes it a suitable treatment for reducing the appearance and inflammation associated with ingrown hairs. It's also an effective solution for getting rid of a stubborn, cutaneous corn on your toe.

Despite its odor, studies have shown that garlic extract can do wonders for resolving various skin issues. When it comes to rejuvenation, garlic oil may help you with the following:
Studies have shown that garlic extract can reduce acne.Deposit Photos

For acne:

Acne is a common skin condition experienced by men and women, both young and old. There are many different treatment options for acne, such as essential oils and herbal remedies. According to a 2009 study, sulfur, an acne remedy since the time of Cleopatra, can be found in garlic. Due to garlic's chemistry containing sulfur-rich ingredients, it is an affordable, at-home option for zapping a stubborn pimple. Sulfur-based acne products are safe for sensitive skin. A 2017 study explored garlic juice as an acne treatment, creating a 7.5% remedy for getting rid of acne, and a 3% version with the gel of carboxymethyl cellulose.
Garlic extract and garlic oil have both shown promising results for achieving clear, smooth skin.Deposit Photos

The popular spice with medicinal purposes is made up of an array of nutritional ingredients, phytochemicals, and fiber. It also contains high levels of potassium and phosphorus zinc. Garlic has moderate amounts of selenium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Low levels of sodium, vitamins A and C, and B-complex can also be found in garlic. Many of these ingredients--such as vitamin C, vitamin B-6, selenium, copper, cysteine, and zinc--are used to treat acne.
Photo aging caused by ultraviolet rays that result to skin aging may be corrected with garlic extract.Deposit Photos

For skin aging (or repairing sun damage or sun protection):

When it comes to photo-aging, the tell-tale signs are pretty much written all over your face: wrinkles; pigmentation changes such as age spots; a decrease in skin elasticity; uneven skin texture, and redness. These skin aging symptoms occur after prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays (UV) which causes oxidative stress, the primary factor of photo-aging.
This model did not use garlic extract; however, it is showing you the difference between photo aging and sun protection.Deposit Photos

Garlic protects your skin against type B ultraviolet (UVB) rays. For a bit of clarity, think of the ultraviolet spectrum that runs from 320 to 400 nanometers in wavelength. UVB rays lie in the middle energy between a germicidal UVC light to sanitize your cellphone and the type A ultraviolet (UVA) rays used for tanning. A 2016 study showed that photo-aging caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays were corrected by the antioxidative effects of garlic (in mice participants). The study also concluded that regularly taking a garlic supplement improved wrinkles and lessened damage caused by oxidative stress.
Sunscreen and garlic extract offer sun protection.Deposit Photos

Wrinkles are caused by oxidative stress. Two bioactive compounds, S-allylcysteine (SAC) and S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC), help prevent oxidant damage so you don't develop wrinkles on your face.

For free radicals:

Garlic defends your skin against UV-induced damage. Allicin protects your skin from free radicals and inflammation by reducing the production of cytokines and nitric oxide, says a 2013 study. When oxygen undergoes the metabolization process, it creates unstable molecules called free radicals--that take electrons from other molecules, causing damage to DNA and other cells. Antioxidants get rid of free radicals from the body cells and reduce the damage caused by oxidation. Free radicals are linked to many diseases (including cardiovascular disease and types of cancers such as oral, oesophageal, stomach, and bowel).

For keloid scar:

A 2021 study discovered that allicin and caffeine inhibit the overactive wound healing process that happens with keloid scars. Both chemicals stopped the inflammatory abnormalities associated with the keloid fibroblast cell line.

For wound healing:

A 2018 abstract showed that the allicin found in garlic helps create more fibroblasts in wound biopsies compared to Vaseline. Fibroblast growth factors play a role in repairing the dermis during the skin anti-aging process, says a 2019 article. Topical garlic extract increased the rate of wound healing while decreasing the rate of infection.

For cholesterol:

Garlic's ability to lower cholesterol levels in experiments are well documented, according to Oxford Academic. A 1996 study found that garlic reduces the synthesis of cholesterol.

For cancer (prevention and treatment):

Garlic has in effect on carcinogen metabolism. A 2001 review (involving animal models) gave insight into how garlic can be used to prevent or stop the spread of cancer. It showed that garlic inhibits the enzymes involved in metabolic activation of carcinogens.

For blood pressure:

A 2016 study showed that garlic can significantly reduce systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo. A 2009 review revealed that garlic lowered blood pressure just as well as prescribed medication used to treat high blood pressure.

For immune health:

A 2015 study suggests that taking an oral supplement of garlic extract benefits your immune health and aids with circulation of blood in the smallest blood vessels.

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