Tea Tree Oil For Hair: Benefits, Uses & More!

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The tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, is native to Australia and has been used by the locals for centuries. The essential oil which the tree yields is one of the most famous of the 100 or so essential oils out there. The Aboriginal people have been using tea tree oil as a medicine for many generations. Early in the 20th century, the oil made its way to other areas of the world through commercialization and the rest is history. 

The leaves of the tree are used in the production of this oil, usually through the process of steam distillation. This type of extraction is considered to be the best way to produce high-grade essential oil. In fact, there are a lot of other essential oils created by using the very same method. However, there are manufacturers and companies that sell blends. So, if you are looking for 100% pure tea tree essential oil, make sure it is the only ingredient on the label.

Blends are well and good, but there are times when only 100% pure essential oil will do. It has many uses both inside and outside of the home. We will be outlining tea tree oil’s effects on the hair and scalp. Research on this oil is still ongoing. However, regardless of any clinical findings or lack thereof, the FDA does not currently consider essential oils (of any kind) to be a viable drug intended to treat medical conditions.

What Is Tea Tree Oil Good For?

peppermint

Tea tree oil for healthy hair.

The oil of the tea tree has many supposed benefits and attributes, some of which have been researched and properly demonstrated. The effect that tea tree oil has on pimples and acne, for instance, has been documented. This oil can be used for everything from cleaning the house to eliminating skin infections. It can be used as a supplementary treatment for certain fungi or athlete’s foot. You can add it to a facial mask (to provide it with an extra kick). You can also dilute it and apply it topically to combat cold and flu symptoms, or drip into a hot bath to soothe various aches and pains.

Tea tree is good for many applications, but it’s a highly potent substance. Whether you use it topically or add it to an existing lotion, cream, etc. the oil must be handled with all due caution. The wide range of benefits could turn on you if the oil is misused or overused. You don’t want your skin, scalp, or hair to sustain damage as a result of mishandling this concentrated wonder from Down Under.

Tea Tree Oil Benefits For Hair Explained

Side view of woman next to leaves with long curly hair.

Woman with healthy hair.

As an antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial agent, tea tree oil holds some serious benefits for the hair and scalp. The main chemical component in tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol, which is considered a powerful anti-inflammatory substance. Gamma-terpinene and alpha-terpinene are also the main constituents of this oil, and they are very efficient antioxidants that also provide tea tree oil with its unique scent.

Your hair is essentially dead strands of protein. It’s the roots and follicles that you want to maintain, perhaps more than anything. This is because they are the part of the hair that is alive and in greater need of care. When the roots of the hair are healthy, when there are no clogged pores, and when the production of sebum (the body’s natural oil) is being properly regulated, the result will often be healthy, manageable hair. Likewise, when the scalp itself is clean and nourished and nothing stands in the way of proper growth, this will have a dramatic effect on your hair and on the skin from which it sprouts.

How To Use Tea Tree Oil

Womans hands pouring essential oil on cotton pad.

DIY tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil itself can be used in a number of ways. It can be burned in an oil diffuser or added to a warm bath; it can be inhaled directly from the vial or added to a humidifier. You can also dilute it and apply it topically to the skin. Each of those methods has its indications and contraindications. Either way, one should not apply tea tree oil directly onto the skin without a carrier oil. Ingesting the oil is also not recommended, as it can prove to be toxic and damaging under certain circumstances.

Whether the application of tea tree oil will be beneficial for you depends on your skin, your genes, your condition, and your sensitivity in general. You can mix it with other oils, essential and carrier alike. Try adding drops of it to shampoos and lotions, cleaning products, and other cosmetics and household products. You should store the oil in a glass vial, ideally a dark-colored one. Keep tabs on it so it doesn’t turn rancid on you. Using rancid tea tree oil is not recommended under any circumstances since it could potentially do more harm than good.

Using tea tree for hair can be done by using commercial tea tree shampoos and conditioners. You can also use it as a part of many DIY hair care solutions. Homemade shampoos, rinses, and sprays can help this oil get into your system and into your hair follicles. A little of this oil goes a long way. In fact, this is partly why it is so very popular with cosmetics companies. It’s also why using essential oils can be dangerous for some. Those who should proceed with caution include the overly-sensitive or allergic, those who are pregnant or nursing, and others. 

Tea Tree Oil For Hair Growth

Man checking his hair line in the mirror.

Man looking at hair in mirror.

No oil will magically make your hair grow, period. What it can do is clear the follicles from any dirt or build-up, nourish the roots, and stimulate the circulation of blood to the scalp. All of this translates into ideal conditions for proper hair growth and development. Tea tree oil helps your scalp and hair remain clean and moisturized. This means less breakage and less damage to the hair strands. In other words, you’re assisting the body in doing what it does naturally. That is, growing your hair and maintaining your scalp’s health. 

Healthy hair often grows in the best way when it’s left to its own devices. That said, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t intervene, especially when it’s necessary. Sometimes the body needs a boost of care, nourishment, and special attention. Using tea tree oil, within measure, of course, can help the hair to grow in healthier, faster, and stronger than before. It’s not that the hair grows faster necessarily, but it may seem that way because the scalp and roots are functioning in a better way, causing less hair to fall out.

Tea Tree Oil For Ingrown Hair

An ingrown hair is exactly that – a hair which grows inwards, instead of outwards. It can be painful and irritating, or it can be near-unnoticeable. What you need to watch out for are ingrown hair infections. When the hair turns and begins to grow inwards, it could cause the area to become inflamed or infected. This can manifest itself as a bump, a pus-filled spot, or a very local irritation. Also, this could develop into a chronic condition for those who shave or wax regularly, so prevention and attention are key. 

The oil of the tea tree can help to soothe the affected area, clean the spot, and also prevent the infection or condition from returning. Using warm water or olive oil, along with a few drops of pure tea tree oil, can help the itching or pain subside. Once the area is calmer and less inflamed, it is easier to endure and quicker to heal. The oil helps clean the pores and loosen any ingrown hairs, by giving the hair room to breathe and move around. This can help it become dislodged and aid in the healing process.

Ingrown hairs don’t always occur, and even when they do they don’t always become infected. Possibility of infection notwithstanding, taking care of ingrown hairs with tea tree is a viable solution. If the ingrown hair becomes infected, there are many ways besides essential oil to treat the infection, but tea tree oil is one of the most natural ways to go about it.

Tea Tree Oil For Scalp Breakdown

Top view of woman with gray hair.

Tea tree oil for scalp.

There are hair care products that place tea tree oil on their respective lists of ingredients. Whether it is in a shampoo, conditioner, or mask, tea tree can add a lot to your hair care routine. The scalp can be especially sensitive, which is why things like dandruff or greasy hair are so common. By the way, some dandruff and grease are well and good, and they can keep the scalp functioning properly. The point of hair care is not to wipe the hair clean of any and all oils or debris. It’s to maintain it and help the hair and scalp behave in a way that is manageable and at least somewhat predictable and presentable.

Do not apply pure tea tree oil to your scalp. This has the potential to end up drying your skin out and cause you to never want to touch that substance again, let alone have it on your scalp. Use a carrier oil or add the tea tree oil to a hair care product of your choice. Then use the result to calibrate your progress, guide your routine, and get the scalp nice and clean without experiencing adverse effects. 

Tea Tree Oil For Dry Scalp

Hair and scalp have a lot to do with genetics. However, a dry scalp could also be an indication that you are not treating it properly. If your scalp is dry, one way to nourish and moisturize it is with the help of tea tree oil. Add a few drops to your shampoo bottle, mix it up, and then apply it as you ordinarily would. Once you apply the shampoo to the scalp, let it sit for a few minutes if possible, massage it into the skin, and then rinse out.

Tea tree is great for reducing dryness and providing moisture, and this can be done before or after the shower. You don’t have to use a shampoo necessarily. You can apply a few drops of serum or lotion to your fingertips, add some oil, and massage it into the hair. This can be done after you are already out of the shower. A dry scalp may also cause pain or irritation. This is a clear warning that your scalp and hair are in need of something more.

Tea Tree Oil For Itchy Scalp 

An itchy scalp could be the result of a number of things: lice, excessive dirt, product buildup, dandruff, sunburns, and other conditions. Tea tree helps to restore proper pH levels of your scalp, manages flakes and buildup, and regulates the production of sebum. If your itchy scalp is the result of an allergic reaction or a secondary complication from an existing condition, there is a chance that tea tree won’t be the solution to your issue.

Dry scalp can be an underlying cause of an itchy scalp. Many times, these two conditions go hand-in-hand. A dry scalp can become a group of red, irritated, inflamed areas a lot more easily than a well-hydrated scalp could. This will often be accompanied by a noticeable itch. It is part of the body’s natural reaction to the situation, but it can be helped with essential oil of the tea tree. Again, whether in a separate hair care product or with a carrier oil, it is worth applying tea tree oil to your hair and monitoring the development.

Should the issue be lice, get yourself checked out and undergo the appropriate treatments to rid yourself of them. Once you deal with the lice and nits, you can use the essential oil from tea tree leaves to keep bugs away from your hair. Tea tree and peppermint oil, along with a couple of others, have shown a lot of potential in the area of combating and preventing lice, because – parasitic or not – bugs don’t care for those substances very much.

Tea Tree Oil Shampoo Explained

Woman in shower washing brunette hair.

Woman washing hair.

When you’re suffering from a specific hair concern, it can be important to use the right hair care products for your needs. For example, if your strands are dry and damaged, you should be focusing on a shampoo and conditioner that contain hydrating ingredients. Examples of naturally moisturizing ingredients include Moroccan argan oil or shea butter.

Similarly, if you suffer from a dry, itchy scalp, visible dandruff flakes, or any other scalp concern, you should be using a shampoo and conditioner to suit those needs. With this in mind, tea tree shampoo is specially formulated to help your hair and scalp resolve specific concerns. Alongside other nourishing and balancing ingredients such as rosemary oil or lavender oil, tea tree can be harnessed in your very own shower experience.

The truth is that before you even get into using a specific hair care product for a particular need, you first need to know your way around ingredients labels. The conscious consumer needs to know more than just the key ingredient that they want to find in their products. Many shampoos contain tea tree oil and other natural ingredients alongside a whole host of harmful chemical ingredients.

Using natural ingredients is about more than just the one-off ingredient. It’s about knowing that the natural path is the one that’s not only going to nourish your skin and hair, but also your body. Avoiding ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, and silicones should be a priority. When you’re cleansing and caring for your hair, you want to make sure that you’re making the right choices. And that starts with proper ingredient-label reading. It sounds boring, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health!

Conclusion

Treating your scalp and hair with tea tree essential oil is a great move. This is true even if there is no specific condition you are dealing with. It’s a natural and powerful substance, which is able to help manage all kinds of concerns, as well as prevent issues from presenting themselves or returning. The chemicals in the oil of the tea tree are potent and strong. However, even they are not a guarantee for anything. You’ll need to play an active role in your hair’s health, even with the incorporation of essential oils into your routine.

Using tea tree has never been easier, I am happy to say. With so many commercial products readily available online and offline, you don’t need to go the DIY route if that’s not your thing. Conversely, if it is your thing, you can prepare your own tea tree oil hair care products which are tailored precisely to your needs, and often see quicker and more personalized results from the process.

The Australian Aboriginals knew what they were doing, that’s for sure. It took tea tree oil a long time to gain momentum in the West, but when it finally broke through it really stuck. Even those who are not into holistic living or aromatherapy will be able to appreciate the greatness of this natural substance. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best things to ever come out of Australia.