Dandruff, a chronic condition characterized by flaking scalp skin, is often itchy, and always no fun. And it’s a very real presence in many people’s lives that has been estimated to affect approximately 50 million Americans. So, with many of us fighting this flaky foe, which natural remedies should we trust to work? An article on Healthline reports on two essential oils that may have anti-dandruff effects in various populations:
Tea tree oil.
This oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree and may be effective when dandruff is caused by fungus. In one study, 126 participants were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo shampoo, or a 5% tea tree oil solution mixed with shampoo, to use daily for four weeks. The participants who used the tea tree oil shampoo reported a 41% improvement in dandruff scores based on scaliness, itchiness, and greasiness, compared with an 11% improvement reported by those using the placebo.
The essential oil extracted from eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) leaves is also used to treat fungal infections on the skin. One Indian study found that a solution containing eucalyptus essential oil plus Indian borage (Coleus amboinicus) essential oil, diluted with coconut oil, had anti-dandruff effects in people with dandruff caused by fungal infection. The study recommended that these essential oils be used in the production of anti-fungal products.
Of course, not all dandruff is caused by fungus. Other causes can include oily skin, dry skin, and allergic reactions. Before you decide on a treatment route, it’s important to consult with your healthcare practitioner to understand the root cause of your own dandruff so that you can come up with an effective strategy.