Photo: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
Sure, the idea of glopping mayonnaise straight from the jar onto your scalp doesn't exactly say "Try me." However, this old-fashioned home remedy for a dry scalp makes excellent medical sense; numerous clinical studies have supported the skin-hydrating effects of constituents in mayonnaise. If you hesitate at treating your scalp like a B.L.T., consider the fact that mayonnaise contains eggs, which are rich in beneficial vitamins and amino acids. Soybean oil, another primary ingredient in many commercial brands, has skin-moisturizing effects as well. Check with your dermatologist before using mayonnaise.
What's In It
One half-cup of mayonnaise -- or four ounces -- contains a whopping 6.25 milligrams of alpha-tocopherol, the natural form of vitamin E. It also contains essential B-complex vitamins, including .242 milligrams of vitamin B-5 -- or pantothenic acid -- along with essential monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Whole eggs used in the manufacture of mayonnaise contribute generous amounts of protein and amino acids, including .029 grams of cystine.
Why You Should Use It
Vvitamin E, topically applied, is a sort of cosmetic superhero, battling harmful free radicals in skin, according to a scientific review published in 2007 in "Molecular Aspects of Medicine." It also works as a humectant to attract moisture and reduce fine lines and dryness caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. But mayonnaise isn't just a one-trick pony with a single beneficial ingredient. It also contains pantothenic acid, essential for the health of skin and hair, along with the sulfur-containing amino acid cystine. Dubbed the "beauty mineral," sulfur is essential for the production of skin-smoothing collagen and keratin. However, mayonnaise's most beneficial ingredients may be its isoflavones and protease inhibitors, courtesy of its soybean oil. According to Soy Connection, placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that a soy-based skin moisturizer significantly improved skin elasticity, an indication that it can combat dryness.
Dry Scalp Causes
The culprits behind your dry scalp are usually cold temperatures and low humidity -- which can dissolve protective scalp oils -- and harsh chemicals, which can cause inflammation and itching. Dr. Robert Rietschel, a dermatologist in New Orleans, points out that home hair dyes contain para-phenylenadiamine, which can cause severe itching; the perm activator glyceryl thioglycolate won't do your scalp any favors either. Consider holding a moratorium on hair dyeing, highlighting, perming and heat styling tools during the time you are dealing with a dry, itchy scalp. If you're still scratching after a week of self-care and pampering your scalp, consult your dermatologist to rule out fungal infections or seborrheic dermatitis.
Application couldn't be much simpler. According to "Readers Digest," you should simply massage mayonnaise into your hair and scalp, cover it with a towel and shampoo out in 20 minutes or so. Don't stress about keeping the mayonnaise away from your hair. Steven Docherty, senior art director at New York City's Vidal Sassoon, advises mayonnaise as a natural hair moisturizer, so you may as well go all in and coat each strand of hair as well. Depending on your patience and commitment, you can leave the mayonnaise in for as short a time as five minutes or as long as an hour. If you have an extra avocado on hand, Scalp and Hair Clinic advises blending 125 milliters -- about half a cup of mayonnaise -- with half of a mashed avocado for extra moisturizing. Like mayonnaise, avocados are rich in beneficial fats and vitamins.