Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has been used for thousands of years but has gained increasing popularity only in recent years. Tea tree oil for hair is known to offer antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits, helping with conditions like acne, athlete’s foot, contact dermatitis, cradle cap, and more. The oil is also known for treating head lice and dandruff.
Read on to know more about tea tree oil and its many benefits for hair and scalp health.
1. What is tea tree oil for Hair?
2. How is tea tree oil useful for scalp and hair?
3. How to use tea tree oil for scalp and hair?
4. FAQs For Tea Tree Oil for Hair
What is tea tree oil for Hair?
While the name ‘tea tree’ is used for several plants indigenous to Australia and New Zealand and belonging to the family Myrtaceae, related to the myrtle, tea tree oil is derived from the tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, that is native to Southeast Queensland and the Northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia. Also known as melaleuca oil or ti tree oil, this essential oil is pale yellow to nearly colourless and clear and has a fresh camphoraceous odour.
The Melaleuca alternifolia species remains the most important commercially, but since the 1970s and 80s, other species like the Melaleuca quinquenervia in the United States; Melaleuca acuminata in Tunisia; Melaleuca ericifolia in Egypt; Melaleuca armillaris and Melaleuca styphelioides in Tunisia and Egypt; Melaleuca leucadendra in Egypt, Malaysia, and Vietnam have also been used to extract the essential oil. Melaleuca linariifolia and Melaleuca dissitiflora are other two species that can be used to produce similar oil through water distillation.
Check out this video on the different uses of tea tree oil:
Tip: Tea tree oil is derived from Melaleuca alternifolia, a tree native to Australia.
How is tea tree oil useful for scalp and hair?
Tea tree oil benefits scalp and hair health in following ways:
– Treats dry scalp
According to research, tea tree oil can improve symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition in which scaly patches appear on the scalp. Research also indicates improvement in itchiness and greasiness after using tea tree oil shampoo. Further to this, as tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is useful in soothing skin irritation and wounds. This essential oil acts as a natural conditioner for the scalp and eliminates agents that cause skin to flake.
– Treats dandruff
Dandruff is a condition in which the scalp develops dry, white flakes of dead skin, sometimes accompanied by itching. Dry scalp and hair aren’t the only causes for dandruff, it can also be the result of oily, irritated skin, poor hygiene, skin conditions like contact dermatitis, or infection by a fungus called malassezia.
Tea tree oil is known for its antifungal properties, meaning it can help treat dandruff. It is also a potent cleanser, so regular use can keep your scalp clean from grime and dead skin cells, keeping hair follicles free of build-up and dandruff. Tea tree oil can also help control excess oil production by the sebaceous glands, keeping the scalp moisturised and free of dandruff.
– Prevents hair loss
Dandruff is a common cause for hair loss as hair that grows on a dandruff-infected scalp suffers a great amount of cuticle and protein damage. Inflammation and scratching the scalp also leads to breakage and hair loss. As tea tree oil is effective in soothing the scalp and treating dandruff, it can also prevent excessive hair fall.
Dandruff and excess sebum can block hair follicles, making hair roots weak and resulting in hair fall. As tea tree oil addresses both these concerns and keeps the scalp clean, it is Effective in Preventing Hair Fall.
Here’s a video on the causes of hair fall:
– Boosts hair growth
Research shows that tea tree oil is conducive to faster hair growth. The essential oil nourishes hair follicles and roots, producing strong and thick hair. Apart from soothing an itchy scalp, reducing dandruff and flaking, and preventing excess oil production, tea tree oil improves blood flow and allows nutrients to reach hair follicles, balances the pH level of the scalp, and stimulates the hair growth cycle to give you a head full of strong healthy hair.
– Treats head lice
Tea tree oil also has insecticidal effects and as such, it can be used to treat head lice, parasitic insects that feed on blood. According to a study, it has been found that a 30-minute tea tree oil treatment results in 100 per cent mortality and that a treatment with higher concentration of tea tree oil can induce failure of 50 per cent of existing lice eggs to hatch.
Tip: Tea tree oil can promote overall health of scalp and hair!
How to use tea tree oil for scalp and hair?
Here’s how you can use this essential oil for complete scalp and hair health:
– To treat dry scalp and dandruff
Simply add tea tree oil to your shampoo; add around 8-10 drops for every 250 ml of shampoo. Massage the shampoo-oil mixture into your scalp and let it sit for 3-5 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly. You can also use a shampoo formulated with tea tree oil that’s effective against dandruff and keeps your scalp and hair moisturised.
You can also use an overnight treatment – take a mix of carrier oils like almond, olive, and jojoba in a small 250 ml bottle and add in 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. Mix well and apply evenly onto scalp. Massage for several minutes and leave on overnight. Shampoo as normal in the morning.
For itchy scalp, mix 8-10 drops of tea tree oil with 1-2 tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil. Apply onto scalp and massage well. Leave on for 30-60 minutes or overnight, and shampoo as normal. You can also mix a tablespoon of olive oil and three drops each of tea tree and peppermint oil to a cup of warm water. Massage this concoction into scalp after shampooing, allow to sit for 30-60 minutes, and rinse with water or shampoo as normal.
– To prevent hair loss and boost hair growth
Tea tree oil can help hair grow longer and thicker. The best way to use it is to massage it into the scalp along with a carrier oil. Take about 2-5 drops of tea tree oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil like olive, almond, or coconut oil. Mix well and massage into scalp. Wrap hair in a warm towel and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes before rinsing out. Use this treatment a couple of times a week.
For an extra-nourishing treatment, use hot oils. Simply warm the tea tree oil and carrier oil mixture a bit. Be cautious to not heat the oils too much as it can lead to nutrient loss and you could also end up scalding your skin. Massage into the scalp and wrap with a warm towel to open up hair follicles, enabling oils to penetrate. Rinse after 30 minutes.
Use tea tree oil diluted in water as a final hair rinse – take about 4-5 drops of the essential oil for every 30 ml of water. You can also fill this diluted mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on your scalp in the morning to fight dandruff and boost hair growth.
– To treat lice
To treat head lice, mix three tablespoons of coconut oil with a teaspoon each of tea tree oil and ylang ylang oil. Alternatively, mix about 8-10 drops of tea tree oil in 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil. Apply the mixture all over your scalp and massage it in thoroughly. Comb hair using a fine-toothed comb or nit comb. Cover head with a shower cap and let sit for about two hours. Comb hair again using the nit comb and rinse.
Next, make a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in the ratio of 2:1 and fill it in a spray bottle. Spray onto scalp and hair, saturating completely. Comb through hair and rinse. You can also dip the nit comb in this mixture while combing through hair. Repeat this treatment every 5-10 days for 3-4 weeks.
Tip: Tea tree oil can be used with any carrier oil to improve scalp and hair health.
FAQs For Tea Tree Oil for Hair
Q. Does tea tree oil have any side-effects?
A. It is important to note that while tea tree oil is safe to be used topically, it can be toxic when ingested. Also, if you’re new to using tea tree oil, always test it out on a small patch of skin before using. This is because some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin, might experience irritation on using undiluted tea tree oil. Tea tree oil might also be unsafe for use on young children and pregnant women when used undiluted. If you’re unsure, dilute the essential oil in water or carrier oils before using.
Side-effects of using tea tree oil range from mild to serious health implications. Application of tea tree oil to dry or damaged skin can cause burning and irritation. The oil can cause allergic reactions that can manifest in the form of skin inflammation, diarrhoea, nausea, etc. Avoid using undiluted tea tree oil on the scalp as it can irritate the scalp, making follicles swell and leading to hair loss.
Q. What are some home remedies using tea tree oil for hair and scalp?
A. Use these easy home remedies:
– To spot treat dandruff or a scaly, itchy spot on your scalp, take a cotton ball and apply a little bit of tea tree oil to it. Dip the cotton ball in a carrier oil like olive or coconut. Apply onto affected area. Rinse the areas with warm water after 15-30 minutes. Use this remedy every day or a couple of times a week if you have sensitive skin.
– Take two tablespoons each of honey and olive oil, a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and five drops of tea tree oil in a bowl and mix well. Apply to the scalp and rinse after 30 minutes. Repeat twice a week to treat dandruff.
– Take a small glass dropper bottle and fill with about 30 ml of jojoba oil. Add 3-4 drops each of tea tree oil, lavender oil, and geranium oil. Cap the bottle and mix well. Spread 3-4 drops of this mixture on hair length evenly for shiny luscious locks.
– Take a tablespoon each of castor and olive oil and add a teaspoon of tea tree oil to it. Mix well and apply evenly to the scalp; rinse after 30 minutes. Use this remedy twice a week boost hair growth.
– Make a hair mask using one egg, two tablespoons of onion juice, and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Apply this mask from roots to tips of hair, put on a shower cap, and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
– Take 4-5 onions, chop and boil in a litre of water for a while. Keep aside and allow to cool. Strain the water and add in a few drops of tea tree oil. Use this as a final rinse after you shampoo.
– Take a cup each of water and apple cider vinegar. Add in five drops of tea tree oil and mix well. Use this as a final rinse for shiny, healthy hair.
– Take half a cup each of water and aloe vera gel. Add in five drops of tea tree oil and mix well. Apply to scalp and rinse after 30-40 minutes. Use this remedy regularly to enhance hair growth and keep hair smooth and silky soft.
– Steep two chamomile tea bags in 250 ml of water and allow to cool. Add in a few drops of tea tree oil and mix well. Fill the concoction in a spray bottle, spray onto scalp and hair, and rinse after 10-15 minutes. Use this remedy twice a week to boost hair growth.
– Take a cup of yoghurt and mix in a tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of tea tree oil. In a jug, combine two cups of water and a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Apply the yoghurt mask evenly to the scalp and hair and rinse off after 20-30 minutes. Use the lemon juice-water mix as a final rinse. Use this treatment twice a week to keep hair healthy and conditioned.
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