Tea Tree oil is an essential oil derived from the leaves of the Australian tea tree. Also known as melaleuca oil, it has received much acclaim in the West thanks to its impressive anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties.
If you’ve heard of the oil before, you are probably aware that it is a potent, natural anti-bacterial agent often used topically to cure fungal infections, acne, athlete’s foot, scabies and more. What you may not know, however, is that you can also use Tea Tree oil for hair. Tea Tree oil is a natural beauty product that can help remedy scalp issues, promote healthy hair growth and even reduce the effects of hair loss.
Tea Tree Oil for Hair and Scalp Issues
If you have an itchy scalp or unhealthy hair, this essential oil can help soothe the inflammation and treat the underlying cause of the problem. It can also help reverse the negative effects caused by harmful, chemical-rich shampoos, which are often the cause of scalp issues.
The skin of the scalp is extremely sensitive, leaving it subject to a range of ailments. Dandruff, which is caused by a fungal infection, is an incredibly common skin ailment. It is recognized by the accumulation of dry, scaly skin, which can hinder the growth of hair if it is left without treatment.
Tea tree oil is an excellent way to rid your scalp of dead skin, calm irritation, and promote healthy hair growth moving forward.
Does it Really Work?
Let’s have a closer look at some of the more common conditions that might benefit from the use of Tea Tree oil for hair:
Tea Tree oil for Dandruff
Dandruff, or Seborrheic Dermatitis, is a pervasive scalp condition experienced by many. It isn’t harmful, but it can cause oily patches, scaly skin, redness, and flaking skin. While it’s typically considered more of a nuisance than a major problem, it can be damaging to a person’s self-confidence.
Scientists have not concluded what predisposes some people to dandruff and others, not at all. One theory is that those who experience it are more sensitive to the Malassezia fungus.
This fungus occurs naturally on your scalp and shouldn’t cause problems without instigation. For example, if you’re stressed out or if your scalp is undernourished, it’s easier for the fungus to grow faster and get out of hand.
To understand the treatment of dandruff, scientists studied the effectiveness of a tea tree shampoo containing a 5% concentration of the oil. Participants in the study used the shampoo daily for four weeks. After the experiment, most of those with mild to moderate dandruff had a 41% reduction in symptoms.
Psoriasis can also cause itchy skin on the scalp. It can result in scaly, red, and raised patches of skin and can be very uncomfortable. In severe cases, it could impede hair growth as well.
Little research has been done to determine whether Tea Tree oil would be an effective treatment for hair conditions like psoriasis. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support its use for this purpose.
The Psoriasis Foundation recommends using Tea Tree oil for hair treatment. It could help to reduce inflammation if diluted. The oil itself, though, can be quite drying, so never use it at full strength on conditions like Psoriasis.
How You Should Use Tea Tree Oil For Hair
Before dousing your scalp with oil, we would recommend doing a small patch test. Though it rarely causes an allergic reaction, it is always wise to do the patch test before using on the entire problem area. Apply a drop or two of oil on the inside of your arm to see if you react negatively.
If no irritation results after twenty-four hours, it should be okay to use on your scalp.
Now, while we suggest using 100% undiluted oil (or “neat” oil) for the patch test, we’d advise against using the oil neat on your scalp. Due to the oil’s potency, you should dilute it rather than using it at full strength. It is very astringent and will dry out the skin over time if used neat. Dilute it at a ratio of 5 ml of oil for every 100 ml of the carrier substance.
Another simple solution is to add it to your regular shampoo or mix it with half apple cider vinegar and half water. The apple cider vinegar helps to restore the pH balance of your skin and can be useful to relieve itching and restore the health of the scalp.
You can also use it in a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil. Both have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and deeply moisturizing properties. They make great treatments for the hair as a result. Alternatively, be on the lookout for tea tree oil shampoo – it will be listed as an active ingredient.
If you’re wondering where to buy Tea Tree oil, you can easily find it online, at a department store, or a health food store. Just do some research to ensure that the manufacturer is reputable.
What Are the Risks?
Tea tree oil is a relatively safe product to use, despite the potential skin irritation if used undiluted over a more extended period.
It should not be used on babies under the age of one year, even in diluted form. The oil has a strong detoxifying effect that may prove too strong for an infant.
In a study examining tea tree and lavender oils, it was found that the oils may be hormone disruptors in boys before they hit puberty. Both oils could cause breast tissue to grow in prepubescent boys.
While a one-time oil treatment is not going to do any harm, we don’t recommend using the oil for an extended period on a prepubescent boy.
Tea tree oil is a highly effective natural remedy that doesn’t produce harmful side effects. The key is to look for a high-quality source and to ensure that it is always adequately diluted before you apply it.
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