I’m glad that herbal medical oils like tea tree oil are finally getting the recognition they deserve. This oil has been the key ingredient in many beauty and hair products for centuries. But nobody really cared about its incredible benefits on hair and scalp until now. I guess the credit for this goes to the internet, especially social media.
We should also thank the Australian aborigines who introduced this oil to the world. They mainly used it for curing cuts, infections, and burns due to its antiseptic properties. Later, people from around the globe started using it on their scalp to lessen the symptoms of seborrheic psoriasis. It also rehydrates and nourishes your scalp, thus eliminating the root cause of dandruff.
These days many people are curious over its ability to regrow hair. Does it really regrow hair, though? Modern science doesn’t have any definitive answer. However, it indirectly promotes hair growth and prevents hair loss by restoring the health of your scalp. That’s for sure.
I also decided to try out this oil just out of curiosity. After joining a new office in a new city, I started noticing receding hairline. It was followed by dry hair and split ends. Minions of Satan! If you are wondering whether it worked or not, keep reading this article till the end.
I sincerely hope at the end of this page, you get answers to all your possible questions related to tea tree oil.
What Makes Tea Tree Oil So Effective?
Tea tree oil has a long and traceable history. In the 18th century, the plant grew prolifically in Australia. When British explorers arrived on the continent they discovered that the aboriginals brewed the leaves of the plant for use as an antiseptic and antibiotic for cuts. The leaves were also made into tea blends to be given to sick people. The explorers collected cuttings of the tea tree plant and brought it back to the western world.
In World War II, bottles of the oil were placed into medical kits for soldiers heading into battle. It was perfect for first aid and could be used to clean cuts and abrasions.
The commercial history of tea tree oil dates back to the 1920s when Arthur Penhold, chemist, first considered the business potential of the plant, and wrote several papers on it. The business thrived in the 1970s and 80s, with large commercial plants being set up. Today, there are many more species of Myrtle plants used for the extraction of the oil.
Tea tree oil is actually poisonous when taken internally. It should only be used topically on skin or hair. It contains over 98 different compounds which can all be beneficial for health and beauty care. Its main component is terpinen-4-ol.
It also contains natural chemical compounds like cineole, nerolidol, eucalyptol, etc. These particular compounds are believed to be the main reason behind this oil’s hair, scalp, and skin benefits.
It is used in shampoos and skin care essentials due to its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.
If your scalp is itchy and flaky due to a fungal infection, tea tree oil can be a great solution. Dry and itchy scalp due to fungal infection is a common cause of hair loss.
How is Tea Tree Oil Made?
Tea tree essential oil is made by steam water distilling the leafy parts of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant or other strains. The oil is then bottled up and distributed for sale. Depending on which part of the world it’s from will depend on which type of Myrtle plant that it’s been made from.
Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Your Hair Health
Tea tree oil has many beneficial properties that can specifically benefit your scalp and hair. Here are 7 to help you get started.
1. Encourages longer, lusher hair growth.
Tea tree oil will help to encourage hair growth by healing up damaged or clogged hair follicles. Dandruff can also play a factor in clogged hair follicles, so the oil will help to clean out hair roots and prevent any itching or inflammation that will cause your hair to prematurely fall out. The compounds in the oil will restore hair follicles to a healthy state, which naturally encourages hair to grow in lusher and fuller.
2. Effective dandruff control.
Many people don’t want to wash their hair with a dandruff shampoo that’s going to make their hair and scalp dry. Tea tree oil is an effective way to treat the scalp, as its antiseptic and antibiotic properties can kill the fungus that causes dandruff. Using tea tree oil is a perfect solution, as it can be directly applied to the scalp, while avoiding the hair. It also has minor moisturizing properties that will leave the skin in a healthy balance.
Ailments like Seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff cap is one of the most common causes of dry and flaky scalp. If left untreated, it can also lead to rashes, redness, greasy patches and inflammation.
In a recent study, a group of people was given a shampoo containing 5% tea tree oil. 41% of people in that group reported a significant reduction in dandruff after four weeks of use.
3. Effective treatment for itchy scalp conditions.
It’s not just dandruff that can cause scalp itchiness. Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, folliculitis, and even allergies can all cause itchy skin conditions. There may be rashes, hives, or inflammation on the skin. Tea tree oil can help to calm and soothe these itchy skin conditions.
The National Psoriasis Foundation has some evidence that tea tree oil might cure Psoriasis due to its anti-fungal and antimicrobial nature.
Like most essential oils, it hydrates and replenishes the skin surface. It unclogs the scalp pores, thus making it easy for the skin to soak up nutrients.
For the same reason, harmful bacteria can’t grow on your scalp. All these factors directly promote thick and beautiful hair and prevent hair loss.
4. Banish head lice.
In a study published in Parasitology Research in 2012, tea tree oil could possibly kill mice in the nymph and adult life stage. Moreover, it can also prevent lice eggs from hatching.
In 2010, there was an experiment conducted on a group of children battling with lice. Almost every kid who was given tea tree treatment got rid of lice.
The lice treating ability comes from terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole present in tea tree oil. These two compounds are known to possess insecticidal properties.
The two components also loosen up the existing eggs from your hair shaft by dissolving their gummy texture. Once loosened up, you can remove the lice just by combing.
Of course, more large-scale research is needed before we can call it a fail-safe treatment for lice.
5. Use to clean scalp and hair.
Over time the hair and scalp can accumulate a build-up of products. Silicone is one of the worst culprits of shampoos and conditioners that can plug your hair follicles over time. Hair styling products, gels, and even hair sprays can also build up in your hair and on your scalp, and are hard to wash out of the hair with regular shampoo. Pouring a few drops of the oil into your shampoo will increase its cleansing power so your hair will become bouncier and look thicker.
6. Fights acne.
People can get acne on every part of their body, and that includes the scalp and neck region. Tea tree oil can be used to help clear up this annoying skin condition. The antibiotic properties of tea tree oil will help to kill the bacteria that causes acne. Your scalp will feel much better, and not have the small itchy sores that can result from acne. And once your scalp condition has cleared up, future use of the oil can help prevent further breakouts.
7. Promotes overall healthy hair & scalp.
Even if you have none of the above hair or scalp conditions, tea tree oil is still beneficial for everyone. It will help to maintain a healthy balance of natural organisms on your skin. It can prevent fungal or bacterial infections from starting. It’s a good way to prevent the loss of hair that can result as we age. Tea tree oil will help to make your hair look shinier and fuller.
Tea tree oil is also gaining popularity as a treatment for male baldness. Here’s why:
This oil is packed with anti-androgenic properties. This helps to lower the risk factors associated with androgenic baldness common in males.
Androgenic baldness is common among women too. Anti-androgens are used as a medication for female baldness and hair thinning for years. By counteracting the balding effects of Androgens, tea tree oil can also prevent hair loss among women.
However, if the cause of hair loss is heredity, aging or weak immune system, tea tree oil will probably not work at all.
How to Apply Tea Tree Oil to Hair
There are a few different methods when using tea tree oil on your hair. You can pour a 5% proportion of oil to shampoo in your shampoo bottle. Let it naturally mix together, but never shake. You can then wash your hair as you would normally. Ensure that you rinse out your hair thoroughly after use. You can can use a good conditioner after your treatment.
Another way to use tea tree oil is as a massage oil on your scalp. You need to dilute it first in a carrier oil to avoid causing irritation. The best carrier oils to use are almond, olive, or coconut oil. Place a small amount in your hand, then pour a few drops of the oil on top. Massage it in the palms of your hands, then apply directly to your scalp. Focus on the problematic regions of your head.
Wrap your head in a towel to keep the oil in place, and to keep your eyes from watering. Wait ten minutes for the oil to absorb into your scalp. Then wash your hair normally, and use conditioner if you wish.
Begin by doing these treatments about two or three times a week. Once you start seeing results, you can cut back to once per week.
1. Use of Tea Tree Oil for Dry and Itchy Scalp
This is a powerful home treatment for itchy scalp. Using it once a week should be enough.
Things You’ll Need:
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- 3 drops of peppermint oil.
- 3 drops of tea tree oil.
- Add the oils into a pan or microwave safe cup.
- Warm it up. It should be really warm but not piping hot.
- Thoroughly massage your scalp with it.
- Let it soak overnight.
- Rinse it off with plain water or a mild shampoo in the morning.
2. Use of Tea Tree Oil for Treating Dandruff
This is another quick fix for dry hair, dandruff, and other scalp problems. You will only need a handful of easily available ingredients to make this.
Things You’ll Need:
- One mashed avocado or 1 cup plain yogurt.
- 2 tablespoons of honey.
- 10 drops of argan oil.
- A few drops of tea tree oil.
- Combine yogurt/mashed avocado with honey and argan oil to make a thick paste.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to it and stir well.
- Use a glove to apply it on your hair and scalp.
- Let it dry for 10 minutes.
- Rinse it off with plain water.
3. Use of Tea Tree Oil to Kill Lice
This is shampoo blend will not only stop the breeding of lice in your scalp but will also suffocate the existing insects till they die.
Things You’ll Need:
- A quarter of any mild shampoo of your choice.
- 4 drops of tea tree oil.
- 4 drops of lavender oil.
- 3 drops of extra virgin olive oil.
- A mixing bowl.
- Combine all the ingredients thoroughly.
- Blend until smooth.
- Give your scalp a good massage with the help of your fingertips.
- Wear a shower cap for 30 minutes.
- Rinse it out with warm water.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner.
- When the hair is completely dry, comb your hair with a lice-comb to eliminate the remaining lice from your hair shafts.
Can You Leave Tea Tree Oil in Your Hair Overnight?
You can try an overnight treatment of tea tree oil on your hair. You’ll need to use a carrier oil and keep a wrap on your head though. Use a small travel-sized bottle of around 100 ml, and fill it 3/4 full with a carrier oil. Choose jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or melted coconut oil. Pour in 15 drops of the tea tree oil and shake well. Take several minutes to apply the tea tree oil directly to hair and scalp. Ensure that your entire scalp is covered with the oil, as well as your hair.
Cover your head with a plastic shower cap or a thin towel. You need to avoid getting the oil on your pillowcase. Sleep on it, then in the morning, remove your cap, and shampoo and condition your hair as you would normally.
Other Beauty or Health Benefits of Using Tea Tree Oil
- Tea tree oil can be used for more than hair and scalp, it can be used for other parts of your body too. It’s a good item to keep in your first aid kit for using as an antiseptic if you have small cuts or abrasions. The oiliness of it will provide a barrier from allowing bacteria to get under the surface of your skin.
- The oil can be applied directly to pimples, and can also be used as a preventative for acne. The antibiotic properties of the oil will help to kill the bacteria that cause acne. The oil can even be used as a preventative, keeping the skin clear by preventing the bacteria from growing on the skin. The oil is also beneficial in helping old acne scars to heal up, and to prevent new ones from occurring. Tea tree oil can be used to treat every part of skin for acne.
- You can also add a drop or two to your mouthwash for those times when you have canker sores or tooth pain. It can promote overall good gum health and combat the bacteria that cause gum disease.
- The oil is also beneficial for other types of skin infections, including Candida and athlete’s foot. Besides killing lice, it can also kill mites. It’s also good for all viruses that cause herpes sores on the mouth or skin.
- The compounds contained in tea tree oil can also be beneficial for healing. They’ll help provide a boost to the body’s immune system in healing up eczema, psoriasis, and other annoying skin conditions.
- The tea tree oil can generally be used for an all-purpose healthy skin oil and moisturizers when diluted with a bit of carrier oil.
Tea Tree Oil Safety Risks and Tips
When used properly, tea tree oil can be extremely effective for treating scalp and skin conditions, but there are some precautions you need to know before using it.
- Never ingest the oil as it’s highly toxic.
- Do not use tea tree oil on children under aged 5.
- Avoid contact with sensitive areas like eyes.
- Do not use if you’re pregnant.
- The oil is highly toxic to pets. Ensure you wash your hands after handling the oil. If you’ve done a hair treatment, keep your pets away until done.
- Do not use the oil directly out of the bottle. The only instance is if you want to use a q-tip and apply a small drop to a spot of acne or a cut. You don’t want to pour the oil liberally from the bottle and onto your skin. For most hair and scalp treatments, the oil needs to be diluted in shampoo or a carrier oil.
- Keep the oil stored safely out of reach of children and pets.
- Pay attention to the expiry date on the bottle and discard when expired.
- For better results, try to get a steam bath after a tea tree oil massage. It will allow for deep action by quickly unclogging the follicles.
My Tryst With Tea Tree Oil – How Did It Go, You Ask?
Since my roommate already uses this, I also decided to give it a try one fine day. Due to constant exposure to heat and city pollution, my hair was getting dry and rough. The situation got uglier when I started getting split ends. I was also losing more hair than I usually do.
I read everything I could about tea tree oil before using it. I had to be sure that it won’t cause any further damage.
I wasn’t hoping for any miracle when I first started applying it on my scalp. However, after the first 2 weeks, the roughness and ugly split ends were definitely gone. My hair looked much better, it felt softer when I touched them. It wasn’t perfect but still much healthier than it was 2 weeks ago.
About the hair loss and regrowth, it is still quite early to pass judgment. But I can definitely see fewer hair strands on my comb. Earlier, I would lose a thick bunch of hair after shampooing.
I can’t praise tea tree oil alone for this. I have also changed my shampoo and conditioner. Instead of blow drying, I towel dry them unless I’m in a hurry.
I am also eating lots of berries, nuts, eggs, and avocado for breakfast. I have read that vitamin and protein-rich foods like these promote good hair and scalp health. Maybe my improved hair is the combined effort of all these factors.
Final Thoughts on Using Tea Tree Oil for Hair
The bottom line is, you can definitely give tea tree oil a chance. Even if can’t grow thick and luscious hair, it will at least make whatever is left on your head look better.
Moreover, it benefits your hair and scalp in plenty of other ways. From removing dandruff to removing lice, from healing itchy scalp to treating split ends- tea tree oil does it all. If used with caution, you don’t have to worry about any side effects.