A full head of beautiful hair and an attractive appearance are highly desirable things. For some people, losing their hair can cause them a great deal of stress and anxiety. Among the causes of hair loss are heredity, hormones, aging, poor circulation, a poor diet, and illness. While drugs can be used to regrow a bit of hair, they also have side effects. Many health-minded people have spent some time searching for a natural treatment solution that could regrow hair. Their search just may be over.
Alopecia is a general word that means loss of the hair on the head or baldness. Loss of all of the scalp hair is known as alopecia totalis. Loss of all body hair is termed alopecia universalis. Alopecia areata occurs when the hair falls out in patches.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to achieve therapeutic health benefits. It dates back thousands of years to the time of Cleopatra. Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts which are derived from the flowers, leaves, bark and roots of various plants. They contain the plant’s active “lifelike” properties and are said to be the “blood” of the plant.
Among these essential oils are cedarwood, lavender, rosemary and thyme, all of which have been used to treat alopecia for over a hundred years. However, no scientific study has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of these substances until now.
A revolutionary aromatherapy study was recently published in the Archives of Dermatology (1). Isabelle C. Hay and co-researchers from the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland studied 86 people with diagnosed alopecia areata. The trial lasted seven months and while the trial took place, the participants stopped using topical (skin) and oral alopecia medications.
Instead, half of the people used a blend of cedarwood (2 drops), lavender (3 drops), rosemary (3 drops) and thyme (2 drops), in a carrier oil mix of jojoba oil (1/2 teaspoon) and grapeseed oil (4 teaspoons). The placebo group used just the carrier oils. Patients were taught to massage the oil into the bare areas of their scalp for two minutes each evening and then wrap a warm towel around their head to enhance absorption.
At the beginning of the study, and again after three and seven months, professional photographs were taken of each patient’s scalp. Changes as seen in the photographs served as the primary outcome measure. Mapping and measuring of the bald patches was also done to determine results.
An impressive 44 percent of the group using the essential oils significantly improved. The average area of hair regrowth with the essential oils was 104 square centimeters, compared with nearly zero for those using the placebo. According to one intriguing photograph provided by the researchers, considerable hair regrowth occurred with one male patient who had both alopecia areata and severe male pattern hair loss.
These results show aromatherapy to be a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata. The researchers were proud to have successfully applied an evidence-based method to an alternative therapy. Evidently, one or more of the essential oils is able to promote hair regrowth. And unlike standard medical therapies, the essential oils have a very low risk of side effects and are not nearly as costly.
Helpful Tips: After getting the essential oils, go to your local drugstore and get a small plastic mixing bottle with a pointed tip opening (that holds about 4 ounces), for applying the oils to your scalp. Get a small liquid dropper with teaspoon measuring lines for drawing in liquids. This is for measuring the carrier oils into the mixing bottle. Plastic gloves are helpful as undiluted essential oils can be very strong. The essential oil bottles come with a guide attached to the inside of the bottle mouth which allows for easy control of how many drops come out.
Mix all the ingredients together and massage into your scalp each evening wearing plastic gloves. You can make up enough for 2 or 3 applications at once to save time. Use a plastic shower cap if you’d like to keep the oils working overnight, otherwise leave them on for at least an hour and then wash out in the shower. Keep in mind: the study described above lasted for 7 months, so give this natural remedy a good try, and enjoy the benefits of these powerful oils
1. Hay, Isabelle C., et al. Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy – Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata. Archives of Dermatology 1998;134:1349-135