Dandruff is a common scalp problem affecting millions of people, but the fact that it happens often doesn’t mean that it is any less embarrassing.
If you’re at all familiar with avoiding dark shirts and frantically changing shampoos to find one that relieves your itchy scalp, you’ll know how severe this problem can be.
If you want to avoid harsh dermatologist-prescribed shampoos that can damage your hair, there are natural alternatives that can help you manage your scalp condition. One of these is tea tree oil.
In the cosmetics industry, tea tree oil has developed a reputation as a super ingredient, leading many people to wonder, does tea tree oil help with dandruff?
If used properly, tea tree oil can help you fight dandruff and restore your scalp.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Dandruff?
- What Is Tea Tree Oil?
- Does Tea Tree Oil Help with Dandruff?
- How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Treat Dandruff
- Precautions When Using Tea Tree Oil
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a common scalp condition that causes itchiness and flaky skin. It most commonly affects the scalp, but you can also notice dandruff in your eyebrows, mustache, and beard. It is a form of seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that affects the scalp.
The most common symptom of dandruff is flakiness, which you may notice on your hair, face, or even falling on your shoulders. Other symptoms include itchiness and irritation.
There is no one cause of dandruff as several different factors can affect your scalp health. Sometimes, dandruff is caused by Malassezia, a type of fungus that leaves an oily residue on your scalp.
Other times, a hair care product could cause an allergic reaction in the form of contact dermatitis. Dandruff can also be caused by other skin conditions such as eczema, dry weather conditions, and even stress.
Dandruff is not dangerous to your health and often requires no treatment beyond regular shampooing. However, it can be annoying and embarrassing.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil comes from an Australian tree called the Melaleuca alternifolia, a type of myrtle plant. Sometimes called melaleuca oil, tea tree oil has been used by Australian Aboriginal people for centuries thanks to its unique properties.
Besides smelling nice, tea tree oil also has antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. It has many uses as a disinfectant, including in piercing aftercare.
Tea tree oil is a common active ingredient in many cosmetics products that help clarify skin and hair.
Does Tea Tree Oil Help with Dandruff?
Thanks to its unique properties, tea tree oil can help combat dandruff in several ways.
It helps improve the symptoms of dandruff, such as itchiness and irritation. In a clinical trial conducted in 2002, participants who used a shampoo that contained 5% tea tree oil experienced a 41% reduction in the severity of their dandruff treatments.
Tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help manage the redness, irritation, and even flaky skin that characterize dandruff.
Tea tree oil also helps rejuvenate dry skin, which is why some patients even use it to treat psoriasis and eczema (both conditions that can exacerbate dandruff).
One of the ways that tea tree oil helps combat dandruff is by targeting one of the most common underlying causes, the Malassezia fungus.
While trace amounts of Malassezia fungus are normal for everyone’s scalp, poor hygiene or certain health conditions can cause the fungus to grow rapidly and, in turn, produce dandruff.
Thanks to its antifungal properties, tea tree oil helps bring the presence of this fungus back to manageable levels.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Treat Dandruff
There are a few different ways that you can use tea tree oil to help manage your dandruff.
The first is to buy tea tree oil shampoo. The clinical study backing up the links between tea tree oil and decreased dandruff relied on shampoo, so you know that it is effective.
However, some shampoos that claim to have tea tree oil only use trace amounts. Check the label to ensure that tea tree oil is an active ingredient.
If you can’t find tea tree oil shampoo in the store, you can make your own at home. Order tea tree oil online and add 5 to 10 drops to your bottle of shampoo.
You can also use it in combination with oil for hair as a separate treatment. Use a natural oil as a carrier and mix tea tree oil into it. Use a ratio of 5 milliliters of tea tree oil for every 100 milliliters of the other oil.
Then, apply to your wet hair and leave it on for 30 to 60 minutes. This treatment can help target your hair follicles, relieve an itchy scalp, and even improve your overall hair health.
Some essential carrier oils, such as coconut or castor oil, can also help combat dandruff. Using them in combination with tea tree oil can help your scalp get back to normal faster.
Precautions When Using Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful disinfectant and an important ingredient in the cosmetics industry. However, the essential oil can be very intense.
To avoid irritation and adverse reactions, try not to touch tea tree oil with your bare hands. Under no circumstances should you apply tea tree oil directly to your scalp, as this could cause pain and skin damage. Always dilute it with another substance such as shampoo or another natural oil.
A small portion of the population is allergic to tea tree oil. It’s best to find out if you’re one of those people before applying it to your whole scalp.
Apply a few drops of the oil to a small patch of skin and observe it for any redness or irritation for 24 hours. If you don’t notice any reaction after a day, then you’re probably safe to continue.
Thanks to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, tea tree oil is growing in popularity beyond its native Australia.
It helps fight Malassezia, a fungus that is one of the most common causes of dandruff and manages dandruff symptoms thanks to its soothing anti-inflammatory properties.
Whether you choose a shampoo that lists tea tree oil as a key ingredient or make your own hair treatment using tea tree oil and another natural oil as a carrier, this natural wonder can help restore balance to your scalp.
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