Use of Essential Oils For Hair Loss in Women

In this paper, Ginny Yong, recent graduate of Aroma Hut Institute discusses the use of essential oils for hair loss in women. She has included several recipes to try at home. For more information, please obtain a copy of Organic Beauty With Essential Oil or Therapeutic Blending With Essential Oil for more guidance on blending techniques.

Hair is viewed as an important feature to a woman’s beauty since time immemorial, as it is perceived to be her “crowning glory.” For it is mentioned in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 11:15 “but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.” (1)

Lustrous hair has played an important factor to a woman’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Good healthy hair is critical as it serves as a reflection of a woman’s notion of identity and self. However, hair loss problem is prevalent in current modern society. The hectic pace of life in the modern world has burdened women with added factors which lead to hair loss such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Juggling work pressure and family obligations have further exacerbated the problems of hair loss among women.

Societal norms dictate that hair is an essential part of a woman’s sexuality and gender identity, and any hair loss generates feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety from a perception of diminished attractiveness. Women are more likely than men to have a lowered quality of life and to restrict social contact as a result of hair loss. While men do consider androgenetic alopecia an unwanted and stressful event that diminishes their body image satisfaction (studies indicate 50% of men with mild hair loss and 75% with moderate to severe hair loss report concern), society tends to regard hair loss in men as expected and normal due to the greater visibility of hair loss within men. (2)

Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body. (3) There are many commonly known causes of alopecia in women. Factors such as hormonal imbalances (pregnancy or menopause), excessive stress (physical and emotional) and environmental exposure (chronic use of harsh hair products) all contribute to alopecia.

There are a range of medical treatments for alopecia, but they are not without side effects. The most common treatment involves the use of Minoxidil which is approved by the FDA for female pattern hair loss. It can reduce or stop the rate of alopecia in some women and can even help hair grow back in certain cases. However such treatment requires constant application of the hair loss tonic and alopecia will resume once the treatment is stopped. Corticosteroids can also help regrow hair for women with alopecia areata as they are known to prevent the immune system from attacking hair follicles. However, there are potentially serious side effects if corticosteroids are used for prolonged periods of time.



The prevalence of alopecia and the absence of safe treatments with long-term effectiveness have brought forth the question of whether aromatherapy can be used as a sustainable solution to combat hair loss in women.

Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years as natural and traditional remedies. It is a holistic therapy which involves the use of pure essential oils extracted from various parts of plant and trees. The essential oils in holistic aromatherapy treatments offer many physical, mental, and emotional benefits, helping to achieve better health, greater beauty, and improved hygiene. Aromatherapy helps by stimulating the blood vessels that supply hair follicles, nourishing them and encouraging hair regrowth. (4) The natural essential oils used in aromatherapy are also non- invasive and can be used suitably for longer periods of time.

However, scientific studies to evaluate the effectiveness of aromatherapy are few until in recent times. A ground-breaking randomized trial of aromatherapy used in the successful treatment of alopecia areata was recently published in the Archives of Dermatology (5). The researchers conducted a seven month study proving that aromatherapy is a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata.

The essential oils used in this trial were oils with hair-growth promoting properties namely:

  1. Cedarwood (Cedrus Atlantica)
  2. Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)
  3. Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)
  4. Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris)

The trial involves eighty-six patients diagnosed with alopecia areata condition. Half of them massaged a blend of essential oils into their scalp daily. The blend is made up of Cedarwood (2 drops), Lavender (3 drops), Rosemary (3 drops) and Thyme (2 drops) mixed in a carrier oil, which is a combination of jojoba oil (3ml) and grapeseed oil (20mil). The control group used only carrier oils for their daily massage. An impressive 44% of the group using the essential oils showed improvement compared to only 15% in the control group. The degree of improvement on photographic assessment was found to be highly significant.

Another research study done in Asia recently in 2012 also showed that Rosmarinus Officinalis leaf extract (R-O ext) is a promising drug for hair growth (6). Topical administration of R-O ext improved hair regrowth in mice that experienced hair growth interruption induced by testosterone treatment. The efficacy for the treatment of androgenic alopecia was also studied. R-O ext was found to be effective in inhibiting the binding of dihydrotestosterone to androgen receptor for treating androgenic alopecia.

It is indeed gratifying to learn that the use of aromatherapy is successful in improving the common hair loss problem faced by women. Among the variety of essential oils available, the following oils prove to be the most effective in targeting alopecia. It is of particular importance to use only therapeutic grade oils manufactured by a reputable company.


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

One of the earliest plants to be used for food and medicine. It has been used for a broad range of complaints including respiratory and circulatory disorders, liver congestion, rheumatic digestive pain, skin, and hair problem. It has been used extensively to promote hair growth and to stimulate the scalp.(7) It is also used in the treatment of depression, migraine, headaches, anxiety, and stress.(8) This is critical as Rosemary oil plays an influential role in targeting one of the common causes of hair loss which is excessive stress.

Precautions: Avoid during pregnancy; not to be used with epilepsy


Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

Lavender has a well-established tradition as a folk remedy and is considered as the most versatile essence therapeutically. (7) It is the mother of all essential oils which acts as a powerful mood tonic that brings calm, relaxation and stress relief. Lavender oil is a natural antiseptic, antibiotic and slightly anti-fungal agent that is also a sedative and anti-depressant. (8) It is useful in all skin care due to its powers of healing and balancing properties.

Precautions: Not to be used with low blood pressure; avoid use during first and second trimester of pregnancy


Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)

Cedarwood oil is possibly the first to be extracted and used widely for its therapeutic properties in hair care. It is effective for scalp disorders like dandruff, greasy hair and hair loss. (7)

Precautions: Best avoided during pregnancy


 

The following are recommended hair blends by Rebecca Park Totilo. (9)

 

Basic Hair Oil Blend Recipe

Essential Oils works best with a massage as they can penetrate deeply into your scalp, nourishing the hair follicle, stimulating growth while at the same time inhibiting hair loss.

The recipe is as follows:

  • 1 cup Almond Oil
  • 30 drops Top Note Essential Oil Rosemary oil recommended)
  • 20 drops Middle Note Essential Oil (Lavender oil recommended)
  • 10 drops Base Note Essential Oil (Cedarwood oil recommended)
  • Plastic or Glass Bottle

Add and mix well the essential oils starting with the base note, followed by the middle note then the top note in a bottle. Then add the carrier oil to the bottle and shake well. Massage hair oil into the scalp and let it sit in for 10-15 minutes before washing hair.

 

Basic Hair Shampoo Blend Recipe

The recipe is as follows:

  • 250mil Shampoo (unscented recommended)
  • 30 drops Top Note Essential Oil (Rosemary oil recommended)
  • 20 drops Middle Note Essential Oil (Lavender oil recommended)
  • 10 drops Base Note Essential Oil (Cedarwood oil recommended)

Add and mix well the essential oils starting with the base note, followed by the middle note then the top note in the shampoo bottle. Mix well. To use, massage hair shampoo into the scalp and wash hair as normal.


It is encouraging to discover that aromatherapy can indeed help to combat hair loss in women as evidenced by research studies. Essential oils can assist to alleviate stress and depression, which are one of the leading causes of hair loss. In addition, essential oils can enhance one’s emotional, physical and mental health equilibrium. Aromatherapy offers a way to treat hair loss by getting to the root of the problem.

This paper provides a holistic yet natural alternative for women who are experiencing the detrimental effects of hair loss.

For “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12 (1)

 

Works Cited

  • Life Application Study Bible, New International Version, Carol Stream, Illinois and Grand Rapids, Michigan: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. and Zondervan
  • Dinh and Sinclair (2007), Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts: 189
  • Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5804021_Female_pattern_hair_loss_Current_treatme nt_concepts
  • Wikipedia “Hair Loss,” NHS Choices, 2013 Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_loss
  • Anne Kennedy (2016), Aromatherapy for Natural Living: The A-Z Reference of Essential Oils Remedies for Health, Beauty and The Home, Berkeley, California, Althea Press:
  • Hay Isabelle, et al. (1998), Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy – Successful Treatment of Alopecia Areata, Arch Dermatol 134: 1349-1352
  • Murata K, et al. (2012), Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinalis Leaf Extract, Phytotherapy Research Res. 27: 212–217
  • Lawless, Julia (2013), The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-Being, San Francisco, Conari Press
  • Worwood, Valerie Ann (1991), The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, California, New World Library
  • Totilo, Rebecca Park (2013), Therapeutic Blending with Essential Oil: Decoding the Healing Matrix of Aromatherapy, Florida, Rebecca at the Well Foundation