Australia, the land of the kangaroo, the wallaby, the emu, and several trees which have for thousands of years held a special purpose in the cosmetic and medicinal traditions of local aborigines. Extracted from leaves of a member of the melaleuca tree family in Queensland and New South Wales, tea tree oil has been used to help heal sores, cuts, and burns by Australia’s aborigines for thousands of years.
A potent natural remedy that should be included in anyone’s beauty or hair care routine, tea tree oil has become very popular in the United States. Tea tree oil promotes hair growth, scalp health, and helps to fight against hair loss.
Hair loss affects millions of men and women throughout the United States, especially men over 30 and women over 45.
It can be the completely genetic condition called androgenic alopecia, inherited from ancestors, but it can also be caused, accelerated, and extenuated by poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, or other choices such as smoking and drinking too much.
Hair loss can be damaging to one’s confidence, and society puts tremendous pressure, especially on women, to maintain a beautiful head of hair all throughout their life.
For men, hair loss is more accepted, but can be deeply damaging to their confidence, especially if they are single in their 30s or 40s.
Tea tree oil is one of several ‘essential oils’ that can help your hair stay beautiful and growing long into your elder years. Here are some ways you can incorporate this oil into your routine.
• Adding a few drops to your shampoo before applying it to your hair is easy, and can be massaged into your scalp without any extra steps or effort. This will help repair damaged skin cells, remove dead ones, and encourage the healing of scabs and wounds while also decreasing the quantity of oils that could be clogging the pores on your scalp!
• If you’re suffering from dry scalp or dandruff, mix some into Jojoba oil or coconut oil and massage the mixture into your scalp for about 10-15 minutes. This will moisturize and clear out dead skin cells and dandruff in your scalp while also cleaning deep into your pores. You’ll also feel a cold tingling sensation that’s very pleasurable, and a sign it’s working!
• The same strategy works for hair loss. If you’re experiencing hair loss, and you’re not certain if it’s genetic or not, tea tree oil can clear the pores and the space around the hair follicles of grease and dead skin which can clog your pores and cause your hair to fall out and grow slower.
• While you may not realize it, microscopic fungus and bacteria may exist in your hair that can cause dandruff, hair loss, and inflammation of the hair follicles and skin cells. Australia’s aborigines used tea tree oil for millennia to help combat microscopic ailments and germs of all kind, and you can too! Simply add 10 drops for every 8 ounces of shampoo in a bottle, and leave the shampoo in your hair for 3-5 minutes.
Pure tea leaf extract oil can cause redness, dryness, and irritation in some people when applied directly onto the skin. It’s a very potent substance and should generally be diluted before use.
It’s worth doing an exposure test to see how your skin reacts to it by placing a few drops onto a cotton ball or something like it and rubbing it on a patch of skin. Wait 10 or 15 minutes to see what happens before using it on your face or scalp.
Some people are allergic to tea tree oil, so if you’ve had allergic reactions to plant oils like those in Vic’s Vapor Rub, peppermint oil products, or poison ivy, any exposure tests done should use diluted tea tree oil.
No matter which carrier oil you use (coconut, jojoba, or a shampoo) the addition of tea tree oil should be limited to about 10 drops. Too much and it will have the opposite affect – leaving your skin dry and brittle.
Tea tree oil is not safe for use on children.
Far more than just a common flavor of gum and candy, peppermint and the essential oil that comes from distilling the natural oils in the plant, have been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy.
Peppermint is roughly 40% menthol which gives it the cooling, tingling, soothing taste, smell, and sensation when rubbed on the skin.
PICTURED: Wild peppermint plants.
In 2014, a mouse study found that applying essential peppermint oil caused their fur to grew faster and fuller than those given placebo oil.
This could be because topically applying peppermint oil causes an effect in the skin cells known as vasodilation. A vasodilator means that compound increase blood flow to a particular area.
According to Healthline, female or male pattern baldness sometimes results form a constriction of blood long term to the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
Here are some ways you can use peppermint oil to promote hair growth and hair health.
• Add a few drops to your shampoo or massage oil before applying it to your hair. Massage it into your scalp and you should feel like cooling tingling sensation. If it becomes too intense, add more of the carrier oil or wash your hair with shampoo immediately. Otherwise leave it in for 15-20 minutes.
• You can also put peppermint oil straight into your shampoo or conditioner. A little less intense than tea tree oil, you can add five drops per ounce of shampoo or conditioner. However long you leave in your regular shampoo or conditioner is fine, even after adding the oil.
Other mouse studies have shown that peppermint oil can have a vasoconstriction effort – meaning the reduction in blood flow to exposed areas. This is detrimental to hair health, but this effect only seemed to occur when the area the peppermint oil was applied to was inflamed.
If your scalp is inflamed for whatever reason, considering not using peppermint oil.
Avoid getting essential oils of any kind in your eyes, and avoid ingesting them, as they’re poisonous.
Make sure when you purchase essential oils that they’re meant for skin contact. Don’t use oils meant for oil lamps, warming oil, or extract not made for skin. The labels should have this information.
Don’t use essential oils on the scalps of children.
Tea tree oil and peppermint oil have been used by indigenous communities for thousands of years for hair and skin health, as well as topical remedies for fungal, viral, and bacterial infections.
Take advantage of their knowledge and utilize these powerful plant medicines in your hair health routine.