Essential oils have certainly made their mark in the hair care industry of late. options likeBeaver oilmiRosemary oilthey are promoted all over social media as tricks to make your hair fuller and thicker. Tea tree oil is another popular type used to improve scalp and hair health, and should be added to your routine if you don't already have it in some of your shampoos and scalp treatments.
To understand the potential hair benefits of the ingredient and the best way to use it, we spoke with two dermatologists,Dra. Rachel West Baymidr By Rodneyas well as a trichologistShab Casparaabout what you need to know.
What is tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil, also known as tea tree oil, is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, native to southeastern Australia. It has been used in the country for centuries to heal wounds, and isthink it's a drugfor acne, fungal infections, dry scalp, and more, thanks to its "powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties," explains Dr. West Bay. Today, tea tree oil is widely used in its pure form and It has appeared not only in a variety of skin care and makeup products, but also in hair care formulations.
What are the benefits of tea tree oil for hair and scalp?
Fight dandruff and psoriasis:"Tea tree oil has antifungal properties that can prevent the production of the yeast (Malassezia furfur) that underlies dandruff," says Dr. West Bay. And because tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory, it can help Help relieve redness, itching, and pain associated with dandruff and other inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis.
It can help prevent hair loss and promote hair growth.: By reducing inflammation of the scalp, a common cause of hair loss, tea tree oil can help limit hair loss and promote regrowth.A studyfound that using a combination of tea tree oil, minoxidil (an FDA-approved ingredient used to treat hair loss), and the anti-inflammatory diclofenac can stimulate hair growth even more effectively than using of minoxidil alone.
Plus, "tea tree oil has potent antioxidant activity," says Dr. West Bay. As such, it can eliminateoxidative stresson the scalp that can damage hair follicles and lead to hair loss.
Caspara also notes that tea tree oil is great for removing product buildup on the scalp. "This can stop slow hair growth and ensure you have a healthy foundation for new locks to thrive on," she says.
Cleans scalp bacteria:Tea tree oil is also antibacterial, so it can keep the scalp free of harmful bacteria responsible for painful skin infections, such as:ImpetigomiFolliculitis. Additionally, the ingredient may help fight certain strains of bacteria.restricted searchIt has been shown to contribute to dandruff.
Regulates oil production.: "Yeast is often the source of an overproduction of scalp oil," shares Dr. Westbay adding that the yeast-fighting effectiveness of tea tree oil could help regulate excessive oiliness.
Is tea tree oil safe?
"Tea tree oil is generally safe for all hair types and textures, but it does pose some risks for those with sensitive skin, eczema, and rosacea," says Dr. Rodney. "It can cause skin irritation, scalp irritation, or an allergic reaction in some cases, so always try a patch test first." Westbay, is to apply a small amount of tea tree oil to the inside of your arm and wait two to three days. If no irritation occurs during this time, it should be safe to apply to the scalp.
Note: “The tea tree belongs to the same Myrtaceae family of plants as cloves, allspice, guava, and myrtle; So if you're allergic to any of these, you're probably also allergic to tea tree and should avoid it," explains Dr. Rodney.
Anyone who has a rash or open sore on their scalp should refrain from using tea tree oil, says Caspara, as the ingredient can further aggravate these conditions.
What is the best way to use tea tree oil?
Since tea tree oil's immediate benefits are for the skin, it's best to apply it directly to the scalp, ideally after shampooing, says Dr. Rodney. Applying tree oil to your hair can also weigh it down and make it look greasy if your hair is naturally straight or thin, he warns.
Pure tea tree oil is often very concentrated and potent, so dilute the formula with a carrier oil such as almond, coconut, orjojoba oil- or add the shampoo of your choice. Rodney advises not using more than 5 to 10 drops of tea tree oil in your mix, as "too much product can build up on the skin and make flaking and flaking worse," he says.
Avoid adding tea tree oil to the entire shampoo bottle in case irritation occurs and you decide to discontinue use. And remember, if your shampoo already contains a dandruff-reducing ingredient, adding tea tree oil to the mix can increase your sensitivity.
Alternatively, you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to your favorite deep conditioner.hair maskFor anti-flaking and hydration-boosting benefits, Dr. West Bay "Luckily, there aren't any known ingredients to interfere with tea tree oil, so you have quite a bit of flexibility with that," she says.
If playing Mix Master seems too strenuous for you, you should look for products that are already formulated with tea tree oil.
How often should you use tea tree oil on your hair?
When used with a carrier oil as a leave-in treatment, our experts agree that tea tree oil should not be used on the scalp more than three times per week. Shampoos and conditioners that contain tea tree oil can be used daily or as part of your normal washing program. For any scalp serum or oil you purchase, read the specific product instructions for guidelines on frequency of use.
Speaking of which, scroll down to shop some of the best tea tree oil products, recommended by our experts and thousands of customers.
Tea Tree Special Shampoo
"This popular tea tree oil shampoo works great for dandruff and inflamed scalps," says Dr. West Bay "It's also formulated with peppermint oil and lavender oil, which work synergistically to provide a "Lots of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. The added bonus is that it has a tingling, spa-scented sensation that mimics a salon wash," she adds.
Tea tree and jojoba oil for hair and scalp
Both Dr. West Bay and Dr. "It's an easy-to-use, non-drip formula that's safe for all hair types, including hairstyles with highlights and colors with wefts, extensions, and braids," says Dr. Bay. west
Balancing washing shampoo
For those with oily scalps, Dr. Westbay recommends Kevyn Murphy's Balancing Wash. In addition to tea tree oil, it contains "sage leaves and ylang-ylang flowers, as well as repairing amino acids that increase softness, shine, and volume," according to Dr. West Bay says.
Australian tea tree oil for skin
Now 44% discount
If you're looking for pure tea tree oil, "this highly-rated option can be used with shampoo, conditioner, or carrier oils and on other parts of the body, too," says Dr. Rodney.
Moisturizers + Mint Tea Tree Shampoo
Now 30% discount
With a blend of tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and milk proteins, this affordable shampoo soothes the scalp while strengthening and moisturizing. Customers say it provides a cooling tingle and lathers well, without the harsh sulfates.
Combat itchy, flaky scalp with Briogeo's targeted serum. Along with soothing tea tree oil, it contains witch hazel and charcoal to further balance oil production and remove buildup.
tea tree essential oil
Dr. Rodney recommends this like other solid option pure tea tree oil, since it "contains no fillers or additives," she says.
Dr. Rachel Westbay is a board-certified dermatologist practicing inmarble medicineIn New York.
Ife Rodney, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist practicing in the Baltimore-Washington area. She is the founding director ofEternal Dermatology + Aestheticsand Fulton, Maryland.
Shab Caspara is a New York-based trichologist and founder ofleona, a hair health website dedicated to connecting women with hair growth solutions.
Sam Peters is a veteran professional writer and editor with over five years of experience in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. For this article, he interviewed two experts on the benefits of tea tree oil for hair and the best way to use it. He also rounded up his picks for the best tea tree oil hair products, highlighting a handful of well-reviewed options, which he ranked based on ingredients offered and customer feedback.
sam peterscommercial editorSam Peters is Hearst's business editor, covering fashion, beauty and more.