Essential oils have become more popular in the past few years to fix a variety of ailments without side effects. The holistic hair regrowth community is next to reap the benefits of these natural aids. A number of recent studies on essential oils and DHT have demonstrated an ability to reignite hair follicles. This has inspired holistic hair growth advocates to use a variety of essential oils in their hair regrowth regimen. It’s really easy, proven effective, and it won’t make affect your sex drive like certain pharmaceuticals can.
Why Essential Oils for Hair Loss
Let’s face it, we know that pharmaceuticals are in the game for one reason. Cash. If they find something that works to regrow hair like Rogaine or Propecia then they don’t seem to care about the side effects—even if they include severe skin rashes and impotence.
Unfortunately for pharmaceutical companies, nature created some powerful drugs in plants like rosemary and peppermint, and for centuries humans have extracted the essential oils from those plants for the most concentrated versions of their active ingredients. Only recently have scientists put some of them to the test in actual studies and the results are astounding.
Check out this 2014 hair growth study wherein a group of Korean Scientists tested the effectiveness of various hair growth products. Peppermint oil clearly worked wonders, even better than Rogaine!
Essential Oils That Block DHT
Rosemary oil is one of the most popular plants in the world and has been used in folk medicine across cultures for eons. Its essential oil has been used to improve memory, combat stress, increase blood circulation, and reverse hair loss.
Why It Works:
Rosemary oil was put to the test in 2015 when scientists studied its effectivity in reducing DHT compared with Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine). The results astounded pretty much everyone when the bald mice treated with rosemary oil grew their hair back faster than those treated with Minoxidil. An earlier 2013 study showed conclusively that Rosemary oil prevents DHT from binding to hair follicles, freeing them up for hair growth.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is derived from an Australian native plant and has been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of skin conditions. Just crushing up the leaves of the tea tree and inhaling the aroma was thought to cure coughs and colds, and Aboriginal peoples even make poultices from the pulp of the plant and apply it to wounds.
Why It Works:
Tea tree oil is found in many hair growth shampoos for good reason. Thanks to its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil can eradicate Athlete’s Foot, acne, and even yeast infections.
We have good reason to think it blocks DHT as it has been proven to increase follicle activity. It may not regrow hair like Rosemary does, but there’s no doubt that healthy skin corresponds to healthy hair and tea tree oil will take care of any nasty bacteria, fungus, viruses, or even the dandruff that ails your follicles.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil comes in capsule form and is a dietary supplement touted by many to relieve all number of medical issues. From heart health to prostate health, the combination of fatty acids in the oil has enamored the people of Central Europe for centuries who use it in soups, salads, and even on ice cream.
Why It Works:
Pumpkin seed oil blocks 5-alpha reductase which is an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. In this study, men who were given 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil a day had a forty percent increase in hair growth than men taking a placebo.
Lavender oil is one of the world’s favorite essential oils, and it’s no wonder—the aroma alone helps combat stress and promote sleep. Applied topically, it is said to relieve skin conditions and heal burns and muscle pain.
Why It Works:
In a study on mice treated with topically applied lavender oil, the treatment was shown to increase hair follicle count and depth which resulted in more hair growth. When compared with the effects of Minoxidil, lavender oil provided comparable results. Because lavender oil is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, it promotes scalp health starting with the follicle.
Mint has been used across cultures and time to fight a variety of ailments. Recent studies on the ancient oil have proved its effectiveness fighting headaches, muscle aches, and even IBS. Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties have proven surprisingly effective against hair loss.
Why It Works:
Trials on mice showed that peppermint oil works almost as well as Rogaine in treating hair loss, and doesn’t cause the same awful side effects as minoxidil. Peppermint oil prompted hair follicles to enlarge and the anagen (hair growth) phase to elongate. Of all the essential oils on this list, peppermint oil is one of the major powerhouses.
Saw Palmetto Oil
Saw palmetto oil is derived from the berries of a palm tree found in Florida, and has been used for generations by the native people there to treat a number of androgenic issues. In addition to its hair-promoting properties, saw palmetto oil can assist with prostate function as well as urinary and reproductive health.
Why It Works:
Saw palmetto oil (SPO) has a direct affect on the levels of testosterone in the body, and has been shown to reduce levels of DHT and testosterone. This is because it limits the enzyme alpha-5 reductase which converts testosterone to the DHT, which binds to and inhibits your hair follicles.
Methods of treatment
Add ten drops of the essential oil of choice to one ounce of jojoba oil, or scale up if you want to make a large batch. Massage it into your scalp using your fingertips for four minutes before you shampoo. Remember to use a sulfate and paraben free variety so you don’t strip the oils out of your hair again.
Add 30 drops of essential oil to 3 oz coconut oil. Massage the mixture into your roots and leave on for thirty minutes or so—perfect for a Netflix break—and then shampoo it out with a non-toxic shampoo.
Shampoo with oil
If you have a healthy, nutrient-rich shampoo, you may add essential oils to your wash routine by simply adding the oil to your shampoo. Please don’t do this with a shampoo listing sulfates as an ingredient, or you’ll just waste your money on oils that will be stripped away. To figure out how many drops of essential oil you should add to your shampoo, some recommend to multiply the number of ounces in the shampoo bottle by ten, and add that many drops of essential oil.
Blend oils for maximum effect
Blending oils can be very personal as each smell combination could please or offend individual noses. We recommend the following combinations, but feel free to mix and match and see what oils work for your hair follicles. Try to stick with just two or three essential oils per mix or the smells may become overwhelming.
Peppermint Oil and Rosemary Oil
This whole hair tonic smells great and feels fresh on your scalp. These two oils are the most studied and most often cited as natural DHT blockers so this would be perfect to blend with coconut oil and leave on as a mask.
Lavender Oil and Saw Palmetto
Lavender punches you in the face with that purple smell and helps the saw palmetto work its magic on that alpha-5 reductase. Massage it into your scalp with a little jojoba oil for some follicle invigoration.
Pumpkin Seed Oil and Tea Tree Oil
Spicy tea tree oil adds an anti-fungal kick to a milder pumpkin seed oil making this blend a great punchy tonic for your morning shampoo.
Essential Oils’ Many Properties That Assist Hair Growth
All of these essential oils have a number of other healthful properties that can benefit hair growth beyond just blocking DHT. Some of these oils have anti-fungal and anti-septic properties which can clear up infections that may be contributing to your hair loss. while others help with stress, another cause of hair loss.
There are a number of infections that can stifle hair follicles, and many of them are fungal infections. Ringworm, just one of these funguses, is caused by the same organism as Athletes Foot and can cause brittle hair and bald spots on your head. The anti-fungal properties in many of these essential oils can wipe out any fungus that may be ailing your roots.
Essential oils with anti-septic properties can be helpful alternatives to antibiotics that might take care of any microorganisms on the scalp. Essential oils with this property, such as peppermint oil, work the same as hydrogen peroxide, without the bleaching or drying effects, and makes sure your hair follicles are given a clean slate so they can do their best hair growing work.
Many of the essential oils mentioned here have anti-bacterial properties that can counter the effects of some scalp diseases like Folliculitis. Folliculitis is a staph infection of the hair follicles that can cause hair loss. It looks a bit like acne, but if untreated will spread and result in more hair loss.
Doctors will recommend a topical antibacterial ointment, but an essential oil like peppermint will have the same results with fewer side effects, and you’ll smell minty fresh!
When hair follicles become inflamed they don’t produce healthy hair, or in some cases, any hair at all. When DHT binds to hair follicles, the follicles at first become inflamed before miniaturizing and shutting down.
Inflammation can play a huge factor in hair loss, and some doctors believe it’s inflammation and not DHT that should be addressed. This is true especially in women for whom hair loss may not be caused by 5-alpha reductase and DHT.
Fatty Acid Properties
Some of these essential oils such as saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil are oral supplements that contain a variety of fatty acids that can assist with hair regrowth. The body can’t create its own fatty acids so they have to be ingested through your diet. Fatty acid deficiencies have been shown to cause hair loss, so a supplement like pumpkin seed or saw palmetto oils can make a difference in overall hair growth.
Stress Relieving Properties
Essential oils are used in aromatherapy which has been shown to reduce stress and aid in promoting sleep. Stress has been shown to prevent hair from growing, and sleep deprivation can contribute to hair thinning.
By adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your scalp massage you may be tackling two issues in one: increasing your follicle count, and, after a few deep breaths, reducing your stress.
Use Essential Oils with Other Hair Growth Tactics for Maximum Effect
Essential oils may seem like a quick fix, but they’re just one part of a larger hair growth plan. From nutrition to gut health, hair loss can be affected by a number of factors and should be treated in a number of ways. However, if it’s combined with a daily supplement and/or low level laser therapy, these DHT-blocking essential oils can be a cornerstone in your treatment plan.
Hair Growth Tactics to Try with Essential Oils:
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been shown by studies time and again to prevent hair loss and regrow hair. LLLT can stimulate the hair follicles and produce thicker longer hair. It can also increase blood flow to the scalp that can bring vital nutrients to the follicle.
Hair growth is a whole body affair. If you are chronically stressed or are otherwise in poor health, hair growth can be compromised. Exercise not only keeps your body fit and stress free, it can get your blood pumping to the scalp which brings protein and oxygen where you want it most. Some people swear by Yogic inversions because they simply bring additional blood to the scalp, where it promotes hair growth.
It’s important to remember that what you eat becomes your hair, skin, and nails. A poor diet can result in acne, and diminutive hair follicles. Hair is made up of protein, water, fat, and carbs, so make sure you don’t skimp on any one food group. A protein deficiency can cause hair loss, and likewise protein powder can help grow hair.
Stressing out is one of the worst things you can do for your hair. When you are stressed, you’re telling your body you’re in a state of emergency, and your body will focus on keeping the vital parts of you moving. Growing hair is non-essential, so is one of the first functions to be pushed to the wayside. Prioritize your hair and your health by staying stress free.
There are a variety of supplements that have been shown to promote hair growth. From biotin to iron, a great hair growth supplement can provide a shot of nutrients you can’t get from a normal diet. A daily supplement for hair growth can give follicles what they need. Check out our article on ingredients to look for in a hair growth supplement for more information.
Essential oils seem like a quick fix, but they’re just one part of a larger holistic hair growth plan. From nutrition to gut health, hair loss can be affected by a number of factors and should be treated in a number of ways. However, if it’s combined with a daily supplement and/or low level laser therapy, these DHT blocking essential oils can be a cornerstone in your treatment plan.