There are a lot of essential oils that are beneficial to dandruff sufferers. Dandruff has a few causes, from a fungal infection, (eczema and psoriasis can also cause a dry, flaky scalp), to improper scalp care and conditions like dermatitis. While it is healthy to shed skin cells, the cells dying too rapidly, or not washed away are problematic. To tackle common scalp problems there are a few strategies to focus on:
-Anti-fungal oils- Oils that tackle the fungus itself include patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus ), and tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia ). Patchouli is hydrating, unlike many anti-fungal oils, so it will help soothe the irritation and give the skin much needed hydration. Lemongrass is pain-relieving, as well as anti-microbial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Not only will it kill the fungus, but it will reduce the pain and inflammation. Tea tree is anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiviral, and is beneficial for killing skin fungi of all kinds, including nail fungus and ringworm. If working with a child under 12 years of age, the 1.8 cineole content makes tea tree unsuitable for children, and thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalol ) should be used instead as it is also a potent anti-fungal, but won’t cause the breathing problems in children that tea tree can.
-Soothing oils- Oils like lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rose (Rosa various species), vetiver (Vetyveria zizanoides ) and sandalwood (Santalum album) are perfect for this kind of work. Lavender is great for soothing all skin conditions; it has vulnerary, or wound healing properties. It’s an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory. The properties of lavender were discovered after an explosion and subsequent fire at a perfume oil distillery. Those burned in the rescue attempt were coated with lavender oil from the vat that was distilling. Rose is an anti-inflammatory, it contains a high level of Vitamin C which reduces redness and irritation, it is also an astringent and the scent is uplifting when treatments for dandruff can be upsetting and often smell unpleasant. Vetiver oil softens the skin, as does sandalwood, its emollient properties make it a must-have for any dry, flaky skin condition.
-Stimulating oils- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) chemotype Verbenon is best for stimulating the blood flow of the scalp after irritation, and inflammation. Blood flow will also help get nutrients to irritated hair follicles and help stimulate growth. Rosemary promotes circulation for post-surgical wound healing and prevents scarring. The itching and irritation of the skin can cause micro-cuts and permanent scarring if left untreated. Lemon (Citrus limon) is antiseptic, and stimulating to the skin, and should be used in a dilution of no higher than 1% to avoid sensitization. The distilled lemon essential oil should be used, rather than expressed to avoid phototoxic burns. If the label doesn’t specify, look under the cap. Expressed lemon can stain the plastic yellow, expressed is clear in color.
The carrier oils for these essential oils cannot be understated. Lavender is the only one that is gentle enough to be applied without a carrier. Tea tree is often listed as the other exception to the rule, but only in very small applications, like the head of a pimple, rather than the whole face.
-Castor oil- nourishing and emollient, helps regrow hair.
– Olive oil- contains polyphenols to aid the skin.
-Sesame oil- warming and increases circulation, without the irritation of essential oils like cinnamon or black pepper.
-Jojoba- when in doubt, grab this ‘oil’. Jojoba is called an oil, but the incredibly long shelf life of this oil comes from the fact that it is truly a wax, it just happens to be liquid at room temperature. It’ll ensure your treatment stays shelf-stable and viable for a long time.
Hope this has been of interest and helpful.