8 Incredible Ways To Use Tea Tree Oil for Hair Growth
There are many essential oils that are popular for beauty applications, but few are as lauded as tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil. This oil is derived from the leaves of a tree which grows in New South Wales and Southeast Queensland in Australia, called Melaleuca alternifolia.
Melaleuca alternifolia is colloquially known as the “tea tree” not because it is used to make black or green tea (that is an entirely different plant), but likely because Captain James Cook once used it to make an infusion to drink instead of regular tea.
The oil of tea tree is highly concentrated, and like other essential oils, it poses safety issues when used improperly or in the wrong concentrations. If it is swallowed, it is highly toxic and can cause a slew of nasty symptoms including vomiting, hallucinations, and even coma. It also should not get in your ears.
In low concentrations, however, tea tree oil is safe for topical applications, and is included as a common ingredient in numerous skin and hair care products—especially those for treating dry skin and dandruff. While a lot of tea tree oil’s applications are not yet supported by sufficient scientific evidence, there are at least a few areas where the research does back it up as an effective natural treatment, such as using tea tree oil for hair growth.
How Can Tea Tree Oil Boost Hair Growth?
Tea tree oil does not necessarily speed up hair growth directly, but it can help indirectly.
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Do you suffer from dandruff and hair loss? The two often occur separately, but a link between them is common. That link can go two different directions. Sometimes the treatments we use to try and control our dandruff end up leading to hair loss. Other times it is the dandruff itself which causes the hair loss. Dandruff by itself is not a serious problem, but it may lead to itching and inflammation. This in turn can cause hair to fall out.
If dandruff goes unchecked (or you make improper attempts to check it), you can see how this can turn into a vicious cycle of hair loss.
Well, tea tree oil is one natural treatment which actually can reduce dandruff, and by doing so, save your hair (not to mention give you some much needed relief!).
The Evidence - Why Use Tea Tree Oil for Hair Growth
As always, I want to turn to science to explain why tea tree oil works. There are so many natural hair growth treatments which are not backed by science. You have probably already wasted money and time on more than a few. So when I find a treatment that is backed by science, I get excited about it, and you should too.
Tea Tree Oil Combats Fungal Infections
First, take a look at this study which was published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology in 1992.
As the summary mentions, in the past, most of the evidence that backed up tea tree oil as a treatment for fungal infections was anecdotal. This research trial was one of the first to show that tea tree oil does appear to combat fungal infections, producing significant improvements over a placebo group in the treatment of tinea pedis.
While tinea pedis obviously refers to athlete’s foot and not to a scalp infection, it is a type of ringworm. Another type of ringworm is tinea capitis. This condition causes itching and scaly patches on your head (including dandruff), and may even lead to hair loss.
Because tea tree oil is effective in treating tinea pedis, it seems reasonable to assume that it would also be helpful in treating tinea capitis. If you have ringworm or another fungal infection causing hair loss, tea tree oil is well worth a try!
Tea Tree Oil Fights Dandruff
Here is another study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology which provides even more direct support.
In this 2002 study, 126 participants, both male and female, were assigned into two random groups. One group used a shampoo with a 5% concentration of tea tree oil for 4 weeks. The other group used a placebo. Patients were then asked to self-assess their dandruff, rating the severity of itching, scaling, and greasiness. The results were very promising. Only 11% of the participants in the placebo group reported an improvement in their dandruff, whereas 41% of the participants who used the tea tree oil reported their dandruff had declined.
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So the scientists found that tea tree oil does appear to be effective in fighting dandruff. Not only that, but the participants reported that there were no adverse effects. The tea tree oil only created improvements. Contrast this with commercial chemical hair care products you may have used in the past which were supposed to fight dandruff, but ended up spawning other issues.
How Can You Use Tea Tree Oil
So now you know that the science is there! The next question is how you can use tea tree oil to fight your own dandruff and restore healthy hair growth.
You have a number of options. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what you decide to do, you need to make sure you are using tea tree oil in a safe, low concentration. If you use too much of it, you risk irritating your scalp and causing a reaction. And remember, you need to keep it away from your ears, eyes and mouth.
Here are some ways you can apply tea tree oil to your hair and scalp. Try a few of these out and figure out what works best for you. Everyone has their own preferences based on their scalp condition, hair type, and convenience.
1. Use tea tree oil shampoo or conditioner
There are a lot of shampoos and conditioners on the market which include tea tree oil as a key ingredient. Many of these are marketed as shampoos and conditioners for dandruff or dry scalp or hair.
Here are some popular shampoos and conditioners that use tea tree oil for hair growth to consider:
- Tea Tree Oil Shampoo For Hair Growth – Pure and Natural for Women and Men – Anti-Dandruff Haircare
- Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo & Conditioner Duo
- OGX Shampoo, Hydrating Tea Tree Mint - Tea Tree Oil for Hair Growth
- Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner - Tea Tree Oil for Hair Growth
I am also a big fan of shampoo bars, which you probably already know if you have read a lot of my posts. In particular, I love Chagrin Valley, and recommend their Neem & Tea Tree Body & Hair Shampoo. If you are not used to shampoo bars, you may find the concept odd, but once you give them a try, you will discover they are easy to use and work great. As they are completely natural, they do not dry out your scalp like commercial shampoos. That is extra important if you are trying to fight dandruff.
Using tea tree oil shampoos and conditioners is easy. You apply them just like you would your regular shampoo; only after you do, I recommend leaving them in for a few minutes. That way the tea tree oil has time to work against any infections you have on your scalp. Work the shampoo or conditioner through your hair and rub it into your scalp. Once you are done, you can rinse it out. Use your shampoo or conditioner a couple of times each week.
Note that you do not necessarily need to buy a special shampoo or conditioner to use this method of application. Remember, you can always just purchase the essential oil itself and add it directly to any shampoo or conditioner that you choose. This allows you to keep on using your favorite products and also saves you money over the long run. A little bit of oil goes a long way, so you can buy one bottle of essential oil and use it for a really long time. Just make sure it is mixed in evenly.
2. Make a simple tea tree oil spray
Since you need to dilute tea tree oil in order to use it safely, it isn’t greasy. Can you leave tea tree oil in your hair? Yes. Get a spray bottle and fill it up with water, adding in a 5% concentration of tea tree oil. Even though this is a light concentration, it is enough to be effective, as demonstrated in the study that I shared with you earlier.
If your dandruff is bugging you, spray your hair with the tea tree oil-infused water. If you spray lightly enough, you can just leave this in throughout the day. It can work even better if you apply it at night (I know that is when dandruff gets extra itchy for me). Leave it in while you sleep, and wash it out in the morning in the shower. This gives the tea tree oil plenty of time to work!
3. Apply diluted tea tree oil directly to your scalp
There are all sorts of oils you can use as carrier oils. Common choices include olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, and baby oil. These all are great for your scalp and hair, and you can apply them safely in high concentrations without any unwanted side effects.
Once again, you can safely go with a 5% concentration. Get a bottle and use an eyedropper to get the right amounts mixed together, and store it for repeated use. When you are ready to use the oil, just rub it into your scalp and wrap your head with a towel. Wait ten minutes so that you can get the full benefit of the healthy oils, and then wash it out in the shower. Do this a couple of times a week and you should see excellent results. You’ll moisturize your hair and scalp, and you’ll fight the fungus and yeast which cause dandruff infections.
4. Combine tea tree oil with other essential oils for hair
There are other essential oils which are healthy for your hair as well you can combine into your treatments, such as rosemary and peppermint oil. Remember, like all other essential oils, these are quite potent since they are highly concentrated. For that reason, it is imperative that you dilute them, just as you are diluting the tea tree oil.
Using them is easy! Just go with the same idea that I talked about above, where you make a 5% tea tree oil concentration in a carrier oil of your choice. Just add a few drops of rosemary or peppermint essential oil to the mix, and you are good to go!
5. Try a hot oil treatment
Hot oil treatments are very popular for dandruff and hair loss, and that is another variation you can try with your tea tree oil. Once again, just add the tea tree oil to a carrier oil like olive oil. Infuse any other oils you want to add to the mix, and then warm up the oil on the stovetop. Check it quick to make sure that it is not so hot it is going to burn your scalp, and then work it into your scalp and hair. Cover your hair up quickly to hold in the heat, wait half an hour, and then wash it out. The heat will open up your cuticles and help the oils to penetrate your scalp and hair, maximizing the benefits.
6. Apply a combination tea tree oil spray plus mask
If you really want a deep treatment for your hair which uses tea tree oil, one idea is to do a combination of a tea tree oil spray and a hair mask.
Remember the spray from earlier that you learned how to make by adding a little tea tree oil into a bottle of water? You can use that mixture for this treatment, or you can make an even more powerful spray treatment by adding in a little apple cider vinegar. You don’t need a lot, but some recipes recommend that you add the ACV in a 1:1 ratio with the water. ACV has tremendous benefits for hair. Click on the link I just shared above to learn all about it!
Start this treatment by spraying your entire scalp. After you have done that, wait for 10-15 minutes. Then step into the shower and wash it out. You can even use tea tree oil shampoo for this if you want.
The next step is to make a hair mask. There are a ton of different recipes for hair masks, so you can pretty much take your pick of whatever you want. One that is really easy to make is an avocado coconut oil mask; just mash up a single avocado and add in a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. Rub the mask into your scalp and then cover up your hair and leave it in for half an hour. After you are done, you can wash it out in the shower with shampoo. You will seriously be amazed how awesome your hair looks and feels after this treatment!
7. Combine tea tree oil with aloe vera
Aloe vera is antimicrobial. That means that aloe vera and tea tree oil can deliver a one-two punch against infections! For this treatment, you will need to purchase aloe vera gel. Mix the gel and tea tree oil together so that you get a 5% concentration, as always. Rub this mixture into your scalp and cover your hair. Wait for as long as you can with the mixture in. Fifteen minutes is okay, but you will get even more of an effect if you aim for 45 minutes. Then wash the aloe vera out of your hair with tea tree oil shampoo.
As with the other methods here, this works best if you aim to do it a couple of times each week. You should notice huge improvements when it comes to moisture, and you should also see a serious decline in itching and dandruff.
8. Fight Acne While You Are Combating Dandruff
Another great benefit of tea tree oil is that it is great for treating acne. This study showed that a 5% concentration was effective with a somewhat slower onset than benzoyl peroxide lotion. While the slow onset may not sound all that great, consider that the tea tree oil had fewer unpleasant side-effects than the traditional lotion treatment.
A lot of people who suffer from dandruff also suffer from acne. So if you are looking for something which will help you to take care of both problems at once, you have found it. While you are rubbing the tea tree oil into your scalp, you will also be treating any acne you have that is on your forehead near your hairline. This will help to further reduce redness, irritation, and hair loss.
Final Tips on Using Tea Tree Oil for Hair Growth
- Tea tree oil works great on any hair type.
- There are people who are allergic to tea tree oil. It is always wise to start out by doing a patch test before you add tea tree oil to your shampoo or rub it directly into your scalp.
- If you notice that you are developing a rash, you may be using tea tree oil in too high a concentration. Try reducing the concentration and you should see improvement. If you are still having a problem, it could be an allergy.
- Note that if you use too high a concentration, not only can you irritate and (ironically) dry out your scalp, but you can also dry out your hair and turn it brittle.
- If you use a liquid soap on your face, remember that you can also mix tea tree oil into that and use it to get rid of acne. Do not overdo the concentration, and keep the oil away from your eyes, mouth and ears. If you do not want to make a tea tree oil soap from scratch, you can always buy one ready-made.
Tea tree oil can be a very effective treatment for dandruff and fungal infections responsible for causing hair loss or thinning hair. Always be careful to dilute it before you use it. Try a few different approaches, and eventually you will find the treatment which works best for you. Once you do, keep using it over an extended time period. You will get the best effect if you treat your scalp a couple of times a week for at least several months.
Hair Loss and Dandruff
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil For Hair Growth
Tea Tree Oil in the Treatment of Tinea Pedis
Antibacterial Activities and Antioxidant Capacity of Aloe Vera
Treatment of Dandruff With 5% Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
A Comparative Study of Tea Tree Oil Versus Benzoylperoxide in the Treatment of Acne