Tea Tree Oil and Dandruff

Can you use tea tree oils to treat uncomplicated dandruff?

If you're looking for an alternative to anti-dandruff shampoos, you may be able to use natural tree oils to fight the root cause of dry flaking itchy scalps. Latest research shows the active ingredients in some tea tree oils may be an effective method to fight the fungus responsible for dandruff.

The Battle against Flaky Scalp

If you have dandruff, you know how bothersome it can get. Flaking, itching and burning are hallmark symptoms of this scalp condition.

Many people think dandruff is caused by having a dry scalp, but the most common cause is a fungus called Pityrosporum ovale.

The most popular way to stop dandruff is with chemically-treated shampoos and scalp treatments. You can use specially formulated shampoos like Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo and Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo. Many of these products contain 1% Pyrithione Zinc, a common anti-fungal drug used to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

I've used Head & Shoulders shampoo in the past but found it wasn't consistent in controlling my dandruff. It worked really well at controlling my dandruff but after a few weeks of use I found it wasn't very effective. However, this product may work for you depending on your individual type of dandruff.

Discover this Alternative to Traditional Dandruff Treatments:

Studies indicate you may be able to use tea tree oil on dandruff to control the flaking and itching.

Plant researchers have known for decades that the oils of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant (also known as tea tree oils) have anti-fungal properties. These properties may allow you to use the oils to help control and manage certain scalp and hair conditions, including dandruff.

Some scalp conditions may also be exacerbated by exposure to petrochemicals and chemical solvents found in many commerically available shampoos and body care products. Using a natural substance that has anti-microbial properties may be an effective alternative to achieving a clean and healthy head of hair.

5% Tea Tree Oil an Effective Dandruff Treatment

Camperdown, Australia - Researchers compared 5% tea tree oil shampoo with a placebo to determine the dandruff and scalp health.

One hundred and twenty-six (126) male and female patients were given a 5% tea tree oil shampoo or placebo shampoo to use every day for 4 weeks. The dandruff was measured for amount of itchiness, scaliness and greasiness.

  • People using tea tree oils experienced a 41% improvement, compared to only 11% in the placebo group.

  • Tea tree oils showed a reduction in severity a symptoms.

  • Tea tree oils also reduced greasiness of the hair and scalp.

  • Participants using the oils experienced no adverse side effects

How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Treat Dandruff:

  1. Pour a small amount of shampoo in your palm.

  2. Add a few drops of organic tea tree oil to the shampoo before massaging the mixture into your head and scalp. If you use too much oil, it'll reduce the amount of suds from your shampoo. Try using only a couple of drops and adjust accordingly.

  3. Leave the shampoo mixture in your hair for about 5 minutes before rinsing.

Here's what you may experience:
  • A cool and tingling sensation on your scalp while tea tree oil/shampoo mixture soaks in.

  • The oil may leave your hair shinier.

  • You may experience a really deep clean feeling in your hair after rinsing out.

  • Decreased amount of dandruff and less itchy scalp.

You can use the above treatment whenever you need to give your hair and scalp a thorough deep cleansing.

girl with long hair;

Tea tree oil is a
natural scalp cleanser

You may have to follow this routine for about 2 weeks before seeing consistent results. I find it really gives me clean, shiny, dandruff-free hair. I like that "tingly-feeling" I get from using the tea tree oils.

You can also try using specially formulated shampoos and conditioners that already contain the tea tree oils mixed into their formulas. Many of these products are organic, sodium lauryl sulphate-free and don't contain any harsh detergents that may cause scalp irritation.

Using organic hair care products may also help balance your scalp pH and improve your hair's strength, shine and body.

If you have dandruff and itchy scalp problems that haven't responded to traditional treatments, you could try using a natural product containing tea tree oils. One of the benefits of using 100% organic hair products is they may reduce the risk for allergic reactions to some petrochemicals and solvents found in many hair care products.

Research References:

Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2002 Dec;47(6):852-5, Tea tree oil and Dandruff Study

Tea tree oil and dandruff scalp photo courtesy of Carlos Gustavo Curado

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