What is milk thistle oil?Milk thistle is known as the Marian thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, as well as the Scotch thistle. Once native to southern Europe and certain parts of Asia, it is now naturalized in many places throughout the world including North America. A member of the Asteraceae family like sunflowers and daisies, it thrives in dry, sunny areas. Spiny stems branch at the top and reach heights of 5 to even 10 ft. tall. With wide leaves with white blotches or veins, it gets its name from the white sap that comes from the leaves when crushed. Considered a weed, it spreads quickly and matures in less than a year. With a fatty acid profile similar to sunflower oil, milk thistle oil is a good choice for use in cosmetics and skin and hair creams. It has been used in its extensive history for all kinds of medicinal remedies from chronic inflammatory disease and cirrhosis of the liver to depression.
Who should use it?
Anyone who wants to protect their hair from UV rays and pollutants, as well as people suffering from:
- irritated or dry scalp
- hair loss
How to use it
DIY natural sunscreen
Add one drop of milk thistle oil to ten drops of your favorite carrier oil and massage it into your hair. Apply this to your hair as a sealer, the last step in your hair styling routine. If your roots are prone to looking oily or greasy, then focus the oil from the mid-length to the ends of your hair. Leave this in your hair and head out for the day.
As a pre-poo for scalp issues
This is similar to the sunscreen, but instead you apply this 10 minutes before you shampoo your hair as a pre-poo. If your scalp is inflamed or irritated add one drop of milk thistle oil to ten drops of your favorite carrier oil and massage into scalp and hair. After 10 minutes just cleanse and style as usual.
Add one drop of milk thistle oil to ten drops of your favorite carrier oil and massage into scalp and hair
If you are not team DIY, then you can find milk thistle oil as an ingredient in hair products such as:
- AVEDA Invati Exfoliating Shampoo
- Nature's Gate Nourishing Shampoo for Dry or Frizzy Hair with Hemp
- Nature's Gate Hemp + Argan Oil Nourishing Conditioner
- Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco Conditioner
What makes it special?
Silymarin, main active ingredient in milk thistle, is both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound, and according to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, silymarin is a group of the flavonoids silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin. They are all thought to repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances. It also reduces inflammation and acts as a rather strong antioxidant. Lastly, milk thistle extract contains high concentrations of fatty acids and omega 3s which are vital for maintaining a healthy heart.
The benefits of milk thistle on hair
Milk thistle’s main active ingredient, silymarin, has those amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which protect the scalp and hair from sun damage and environmental pollutants. It also works to improve cell regeneration and that in turn may assist in hair growth.
Just as it can reverse damage to the liver (at a slow pace), it does so with the scalp and hair as well but it is not a quick fix. Milk thistle is rich in phytosterols which are not just great for anti-aging but superb as moisturizing agents that will hydrate and add moisture to the scalp and hair. Milk thistle has a healthy amount of vitamin E, which also acts as a natural sunscreen for your hair and skin as it protects them from UV rays and pollutants. Those moisturizing properties coupled with anti-inflammatory components help calm dry, cracking skin problems like eczema, acne, rosacea or just an irritated scalp.