Of all the hair and scalp problems that plague us, losing our hair is perhaps the hardest. Unfortunately, there is a serious stigma surrounding hair loss and hair loss that can not only affect our confidence, but can also affect our mental health. Even so, it’s far more common than we might think – in fact, 40 percent of us are likely to face visible hair loss by the time we reach our 40s.
There is a long list of causes of hair loss using factors like age, genetics, hormones, conditions like alopecia, cancer treatment, scalp infections, and stress. Given the current state of the world, it is not surprising that derms are seeing an increase in patients with persistent stress-related hair problems. So, if you’ve noticed excessive dandruff or thinning in the past 11 months, you know you are not alone
While there is no magic cure for getting lost hair back quickly, evidence has shown that certain essential oils can be of great benefit to anyone looking to reverse the effects of hair loss or promote growth in general. “Essential oils can be a great addition to your health and wellness routine,” says board-certified dermatologist and Harvard-trained Mohs surgeon, Dr. Michelle Henry. “You can both slow down hair loss and increase hair growth, depending on your individual needs.” By helping stimulate the scalp and follicles, as well as overall health, they can encourage new growth and prevent future breakdowns. This makes them an excellent addition for hair loss, excessive hair loss, and other scalp related issues.
We reached out to three hair and scalp experts – Dr. Henry, board certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King and board certified physician Dr. Sunitha Posina – to find out which essential oils are best for preventing hair loss so that we can get the healthy, full hair of our dreams back.
The 7 Best Essential Oils to Promote Hair Growth and Prevent Hair Loss
According to Dr. Henry, rosemary oil is one of the best essential oils for promoting new hair growth. “It stimulates hair growth by expanding blood vessels and promoting cell proliferation. Some studies have shown minoxidil to be as effective as 2 percent [the only FDA-approved OTC treatment for hair loss, otherwise known as Rogaine], “She says.“ It’s also used to thicken hair. ”Dr. King agrees, noting that the growth benefits of rosemary essential oil may be due to improvement in microcapillary perfusion, or blood flow through the network of tiny blood vessels in the skin are due.
You may already be familiar with the calming and cooling properties of peppermint. In the form of essential oils, it is believed to promote hair growth as it can promote blood flow and blood flow to the scalp. “It causes a tingling sensation when applied to the scalp because it contains menthol, which acts as a vasodilator and promotes blood flow and circulation in the areas it is applied to,” says Dr. Posina. “It can help those who are particularly affected by hair loss because blood flow to the hair follicles is reduced.”
While there is no official clinical evidence of effectiveness in humans, it has shown some promising results for our furry friends. In a 2014 mouse hair growth study, peppermint oil was compared to minoxidil, saline, and jojoba oil for its effectiveness. “The peppermint oil group showed more pronounced hair growth effects compared to others in terms of increase in follicles, film depth, and skin thickness,” she says.
Most of us are familiar with tea tree essential oil and its ability to fight pesky pimples, but it can also be extremely beneficial when applied to the scalp. “Tea tree has been used for centuries because it is believed to have great medicinal benefits,” says Dr. Posina. “It is clinically proven to have antimicrobial activity and is known to fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. Since it has been studied for these effects, it is used in seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) at a concentration of 5 percent, where it has been shown to be effective and well tolerated. “
In general, essential oils with antimicrobial properties like tea trees are considered excellent options for treating hair and scalp problems. While not all of them necessarily play a direct role in increasing growth or preventing loss, they all help create the conditions for a healthy environment necessary for your hair to thrive. “Antimicrobial essential oils can help maintain a healthy scalp and productive hair follicles, which are essential for the growth of longer, thicker hair,” says Dr. Henry. In order to prevent further failures, Dr. King suggests that they could potentially be helpful if infection is the cause, although she states that infection is not the number one cause of hair loss.
It turns out that lavender essential oil can do a lot more than just calm our minds and keep us in a relaxed, zen-like state. “Lavender has antimicrobial properties that can help promote a cleaner scalp, which is essential for proper hair growth,” says Dr. Posina. “Like peppermint oil, it has also been shown in mouse studies to promote hair growth and promote alopecia.”
Dr. In addition to promoting regrowth, Henry finds that its calming effects can also act as a preventative measure against future losses. That said, if you believe your hair and scalp problems are related to stress, regular lavender oil scalp massages are a useful ritual to add to your self-care routine.
Bergamot is another commonly used antimicrobial essential oil that is used in products to promote a healthy scalp. “There is evidence that bergamot has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity that is believed to promote healthier growth of the scalp and hair,” says Dr. Posina. In addition, another study found that bergamot can help reduce inflammation, which can also contribute to hair loss. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it smells delicious too.
If you notice dandruff and / or baldness in areas of the scalp, consider adding cedar essential oil to the mixture for a more preventative approach. “Cedarwood oil can prevent future hair loss and thinning,” says Dr. Henry. “This essential oil balances the oil-producing glands in the scalp. In addition, its antifungal properties can help reduce dryness and flaking, which can lead to hair loss. “And while it doesn’t necessarily have to be considered a regrowth-promoting oil, optimal scalp health is key for anyone looking to grow healthy, full hair.
If hair thinning is your concern, thyme is your essential oil hero. Dr. Henry notes that not only is it great for strengthening hair follicles, but it can also promote hair growth and thickness by stimulating the scalp. For this reason, it is widely used to treat hair loss and alopecia-related diseases. In fact, one study showed an improvement in patients with alopecia areata when massaged into the scalp with other essential oils.
Incorporating these oils into your hair care routine can offer many benefits. Note, however, that neither is a guaranteed panacea for hair loss. “Better and stronger hair growth also depends on a balanced diet, regular exercise, low stress and genetic factors,” says Dr. Henry. And how Dr. Posina points out, while there are some studies, there are not enough substantive clinical data to fully support these claims. That said, these are best used as complementary treatments and approached openly.
Also, don’t expect them to work overnight – results, if any, will take time. “Because of the hair growth cycle, it can take six months to show effects on hair growth,” says Dr. King. Dr. Posina adds that in order to gain benefits, these oils must become an integral part of your hair regimen, which is used both consistently and frequently.
How to Use Essential Oils Safely In Your Hair
Essential oils are strong and due to their high concentration should always be diluted before applying to the skin or scalp to avoid irritation and other negative reactions. The best way to do this is usually a carrier oil (also known as a botanical oil), which has a number of its own benefits that help promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. “They can help condition the hair shaft and cuticles and protect them from damage that can lead to breakage,” says Dr. King. Carrier oils are usually neutral or light in smell and include varieties such as castor, coconut, jojoba, avocado, olive, and grape seed, among others.
Not sure where to start? Dr. King considers castor oil a solid option for beginners due to its ability to increase sheen and shine. It’s also thought to help stimulate hair growth, but she says these claims should be made with a grain of salt. “There are a lot of anecdotal stories [that castor oil directly contributes to hair growth]but there is no scientific evidence. “She explains that castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which was believed to trigger receptors associated with promoting hair growth, but that, too, has not been scientifically proven.
Rather than making yourself a blend of essential oil and carrier oil, Dr. As an alternative, Henry suggests opting for gentle products that are already formulated with them. “Look for shampoos or hair products with natural, non-harsh ingredients that contain these essential oils as well as other beneficial vitamins and minerals for hair growth like vitamin A.”
According to the recommendations of Dr. Henry it is always best to proceed with caution and patch testing before applying any essential oil or essential oil bearing product to your entire scalp and never applying it to broken skin. Some may still be too sensitive to even handle essential oils. In this case, Dr. Posina, to forego the product altogether and focus on manually stimulating blood flow by simply massaging your scalp regularly.
If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate essential oils into your hair care routine, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorite oils, sprays, and treatments below to promote a healthy scalp and stimulate regrowth.