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How to use Essential Oils to Treat Thinning Hair

Aromatherapy dates back to the Egyptians and has been used for centuries to treat a variety of bodily conditions. Losing hair causes both women and men anxiety and has generated a multi-million dollar industry. But studies show that inexpensive, home-grown remedies might just be the best answer. Aromatherapy consists of concentrated flower extracts, leaves and roots from different plants that aid regeneration.

This kind of hair loss is referred to in medical terms as Alopecia Areata. It’s a patchy kind of baldness thought to be related to an autoimmune disorder. Scottish dermatologists, including Isabelle Hay and colleagues from the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, ran a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on 86 people with alopecia using the following essential oils:

  • Thyme vulgaris, Thyme (2 drops, 88 mg)
  • Lavandula angustifolia, Lavender (3 drops, 108 mg)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary (3 drops, 114 mg)
  • Cedrus atlantica, Atlas Cedar Wood (2 drops, 94 mg)

These oils were mixed in a carrier oil which was a combination of 3 ml of jojoba and 20 ml of grapeseed oil. The control group received unscented carrier oils alone with no essential oils added.

The oils were massaged into the scalp for a minimum of 2 minutes and a warm towel was wrapped around the head to aid absorption of the oils. Patients were advised to use this technique every night.

Professional photographs of each patient’s scalp were taken at baseline, three and seven months. Observed changes over this time period served as the primary outcome measure. Outcomes were also measured by mapping bald patches and severity of alopecia with a four-point scale.

At the end of 7 months the results were impressive: 44% (16 of the 35 patients) had noticeable improvement compared to 15% (6 of 28 patients) in the control or placebo group. The average hair regrowth with the essential oils was 104 square cm compared with nearly zero for those in the control group. (see Hay, Isabelle C., et al. ?Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy: Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata.? Arch. Dermatol. 1998; 134:1349)

Is 44% response rate worth the effort to try these essential oils? It’s important to note that according to the authors of this experiment, this percentage is approximately the same response rate dermatologists expect with standard medical therapies.

The results indicate that aromatherapy is a safe and effective treatment for this kind of hair loss. Trying this alternative treatment is a lot less expensive, requires fewer or no doctor visits and has a lower risk of side effects. So what have you got to lose?

The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.