Scalp inflammation can cause hair loss, says experts. These oils may help treat it.

Carla St. Louis
A woman with alopecia.The New York Times

Disclaimer: While the information shared in this article is substantiated through documented, public studies by credible institutions, it does not constitute as medical advice. Do not apply an EO directly into your scalp since it's very potent. Instead, dilute it with water before using it on your scalp. Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions prior to using essential oils (EOs).

Scalp inflammation can lead to a type of hair loss called psoriatic alopecia, says a 2015 review. The process attacks your hair follicles, making you lose your mane.

Many types of hair loss are caused by an inflammatory scalp, says New York Univeristy's Langone Health. You'll know when you're suffering from it. Your scalp may feel tender or sore to touch. It may also feel like there's heat coming from it. Psoriatic alopecia may look like psoriasis or telogen effluvium--e.g. a shiny, visible scalp marked by a white or gray coating of sebum build up. You may see damaged hair follicles and 'naked' hair shafts in the dermis that's surrounded by redness.

You may also also notice swelling. This happens when tissues are injured by trauma--like from wearing too-tight hairstyles; wigs, or a wig cap that applies too much pressure. Swelling can be caused by bacteria or irritant chemicals. Failing to keep a clean, healthy scalp can lead to bacteria, triggering the inflammatory cycle. According to the skincare brand, Eucerin, micro inflammations of the scalp are a leading factor of hair thinning and hair loss. Disorders that damage living tissues such as dermatitis, seborrhea, and eczema may spur alopecia areata, a 2020 case report says.

Using EOs to Treat Scalp Inflammation

When it comes to using EOs, the rule of thumb is to dilute it with water or a carrier oil before putting it on your skin. Do not apply it directly to your skin because of its potency. You may develop dermatitis or an allergic reaction due to its strong concentration of ingredients, a 2002 paper explains. EOs are beneficial at treating symptoms related to psoriasis such as soothing inflammation and getting rid of excess sebum that causes itchy, scaly patches.

Scroll below for a list of EOs that have anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and calm your scalp.

Bergamot - A 2019 study found that Citrus bergamia isso et poiteau, is beneficial at treating skin diseases.

Lemongrass - A 2017 study showed that Cymbopogon citratus reduced the condition in inflamed human dermal fibroblasts.

Peppermint - Mentha x piperita promotes hair growth without toxic signs, a 2014 study says.

Tea Tree - Melaleuca alternifolia helps remove sebum and product build up from your scalp. A 2006 study showed that 41.2 percent of 126 patients with mild to moderate dandruff saw an improvement after using a shampoo-infused with 5 percent tea tree oil.

Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis L. enhances microcapillary perfusion, working similarly to minoxidil when it comes to hair growth, a 2019 study shows.

Sage - A 2013 study showed that you can use Salvia officinalis L. to relieve inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Lemon - With its antiseptic properties, Citrus limonum can be used to remedy the effects of tissue damage, a 2013 study says.

Grapefruit - A 2017 study toots the benefits of this Citrus paradisi for inflammation.

Aspirin & EOs to Treat Scalp Inflammation

You can use an EO to make your own leave-in serum that promotes a clean, healthy scalp. Choose an EO that has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties to boost your hair care products. Next, you have two options: you can add a crushed aspirin into a spray bottle filled with water, or you can add it to a salicylic acid based scalp serum.

The reason behind this is simple: salicylic acid (also known as acetyl salicylic acid) is an ingredient that's found in aspirin that stops inflammation in so you can keep your tresses. Add 5 drops of the EO you selected to your mixture of choice. Shake the mixture before use. Spray it onto your scalp, and then massage it in for a calming treatment.

Aspirin in Shampoo to Dissolve Dead Skin Cells

Did you know that you can get rid of excess sebum and dry, itchy patches by adding a crushed aspirin to your shampoo? Aspirin contains salicylates, the active ingredient in salicyclic acid, that helps exfoliate skin. A salicylic acid shampoo can prevent patches from forming by adding moisture and dissolving them. You can also add an essential oil for a soothing effect.

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