For thousands of years, different civilizations have used plant extracts for their health benefits. Nowadays, essential oils serve as alternatives to Western medicine. Tea tree oil is no exception, offering myriad health benefits, especially for the hair and skin. It helps to clean the hair, keep it strong, reduce dandruff, and help get rid of skin infections, acne, and athlete’s foot.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil comes from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is native to Australia. It is commonly used as a pure essential oil in various skin and hair care products. Tea tree oil exhibits antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it has gained so much attention in the health and beauty world. It is an effective acne and dandruff fighter because many of the same bacteria that tea tree oil fights on the face exist on the scalp.
When it comes to using tea tree oil on the hair and scalp, make sure that you use an essential oil, not a fragrance oil. Fragrance oils do not offer the same health benefits as essential oils, which are obtained via hydrodistillation, steam distillation, pressing plants, or dry distillation. Fragrance oils are manufactured in a lab in most cases, so avoid those if you want to reap the following hair care benefits.
May Cleanse The Scalp
Looking to get your scalp extra clean? Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties may be able to fight harmful germs that live on the scalp, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Health experts say that these microorganisms can disrupt the normal function of the scalp’s glands. Additionally, an overgrowth of bacteria, including staphylococcus or strains of streptococcus can cause folliculitis, cellulitis, or impetigo, all of which increase the risk of hair loss.
Dandruff is usually caused by yeast that infects the scalp. The antibacterial and antifungal properties in tea tree oil have been proven to treat the source of dandruff. Participants in one study used a tea tree oil shampoo for one month. By the end of the month, the participants that used the tea tree oil shampoo showed a 41% improvement in dandruff symptoms. Researchers also noted that tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties were effective at relieving the itchiness associated with dandruff. This is because tea tree oil fights the flake-forming yeast.
May Stimulate Hair Growth
Inflammation of the scalp happens to be one of the leading causes of hair loss. Researchers attribute the anti-inflammatory properties in tea tree oil to the antioxidant content. By reducing inflammation in the scalp, tea tree oil helps foster a healthy environment for new hair to grow. Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct link between tea tree oil and new hair growth. However, there is evidence that by improving scalp health and reducing dandruff, new hair can be healthier and thicker. A 2013 study found that a mixture of tea tree oil and minoxidil (brand name Rogaine) was more effective at increasing hair thickness, count, and weight than minoxidil alone.
So Long To Head Lice
Tea tree oil contains terpinen-4 and 1,8-cineole, both of which exhibit insecticidal properties. In fact, these compounds have an ability to kill lice in the nymph and adult life stage. They also prevent lice eggs from hatching. Terpinen-4 and 1,8-cineole dissolve the gummy texture and loosen up existing eggs from the hair shaft. At that point, you can comb the lice out of your hair. One study found that tea tree oil was an effective holistic treatment for getting rid of lice.
How To Use Tea Tree Oil For Hair
You can use tea tree oil in a couple ways on your hair and scalp. You can use it in its pure essential oil form, or as an active ingredient in shampoo or conditioner. Because tea tree oil is highly potent, you have to minimize the risk of irritation by diluting it with a carrier oil before topical application. As with any other new ingredient in your skin care, test a small skin patch before applying to your whole head. You can also add a couple drops of tea tree oil to your palm before dispensing your favorite shampoo into your hand. Massage into your scalp and feel the tingle that stimulates the scalp.