We know sometimes it can feel embarrassing or frustrating, but the truth is dandruff happens to everyone. In fact, it’s quite natural. So if the condition is natural, it’s only, well, natural to search for earthly solutions that may help address some of the main symptoms. Enter, essential oils. All the rage in aromatherapy and beauty products, essential oils are gaining a reputation for their cleansing and healing properties. Keep reading to see how essential oils can factor into your dandruff care routine and help you curb the flaking for good.
Dandruff and dry scalp often get confused because their symptoms tend to look and feel the same. People who are experiencing dandruff or dry scalp might see some of the following symptoms:
Itchiness: Chronic scratching at your scalp
Flakes: White or yellowish skin particles collecting on your scalp
Irritation: Discomfort of the scalp, often associated with redness of the scalp
Facial rashes: Inflammation and tenderness at the hairline
Even more confusing, some people can experience both dandruff and dry scalp at the same time.
So what differentiates the two conditions? While they manifest with similar symptoms, there are some key distinguishing features.
Dandruff happens when our scalp’s microbiome gets out of whack. Lots and lots of bacteria naturally live on top of your head and help facilitate your hair’s natural oils and skin-shedding process. This is totally normal and healthy, as weird as it may sound. Dandruff tends to appear on our shoulders when a species of fungus called Malassezia starts to dominate the scalp’s microbiome. It feeds off our scalp’s natural oils and rapidly speeds up our skin-shedding cycle.
Our skin cells then collect on top of our scalps and build up to produce the dandruff we all know and… maybe don’t love. These flakes often feel oily and dense, distinct from what we see with dry scalp which are more powdery in consistency.
Now, a dry scalp is a little different. It’s got less to do with an imbalance of the microbiome and more to do with the amount of moisture on our scalps. When our head is dry, we can also see flaking occur, but it’s usually less oily than dandruff flakes. When our scalp isn’t lubricated and moisturized in the way it needs, it can feel irritated and itchy. It’s essentially missing the natural barrier that protects that skin from the external world. So while these conditions can feel similar, they’re actually the result of different environments atop our heads.
A lot of scientific research is still being conducted on dandruff care and the scalp microbiome. It’s important to note that there is no cure for dandruff, however it can be easily managed with the right products. What we know for sure is that when we introduce antifungal ingredients to our hair care routines, dandruff tends to decrease or disappear entirely. That’s why so many anti-dandruff shampoos (including Jupiter’s Balancing Shampoo) contain Zinc Pyrithione, an active ingredient that fights fungus and prevents it from growing.
Zinc Pyrithione is a proven efficacious treatment for dandruff and should be the key player in any dandruff treatment plan. However, supporting ingredients are important too. Let’s explore essential oils that have antifungal properties and could help you kick flakes to the curb.
People have been using essential oils as natural remedies for thousands of years and science is increasingly starting to support their many benefits.
Essential oils are the concentrated extracts of plants, vegetables, and seeds. They’re made either by pressing the natural ingredient or by steaming it.
People have been using essential oils as natural remedies for thousands of years and science is increasingly starting to support their many benefits. Because sometimes, medicine takes a little bit longer to catch up to Mother Nature. Let’s explore which essential oils can help fight the growth of fungus:
You’ve probably seen tea tree oil on the side of your cleaners or beauty products in the last couple of years. It has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a potentially useful contributor to the treatment of dandruff. Tea tree oil is created by steaming the leaves from a tree native to Australia. So we have the Aussies to thank for this effective little ingredient. Compared to Vegemite, it’s our preferred export from the continent.
Rosemary makes good meals better, and in essential oil form, it’s just as useful. Just like tea tree oil, it’s an antifungal substance that can help reduce an excess of build-up on our scalps. Bonus? In addition to helping your scalp’s circulation, it also smells really good. Its powerful antifungal properties and divine scent are why we chose to include it as part of our dandruff-fighting formulas.
It’s time to talk about thyme - another essential oil that probably mirrors what you have in your spice drawer. Thyme oil is a powerful antimicrobial and antifungal, known to reduce disruption in the microbiome of the gut. Because of these properties, it might be a powerful addition to your dandruff and scalp care routine.
We’re basically making a full meal now. Oregano oil (also called origanum oil) is another antifungal that could help stop fungal overgrowths that lead to dandruff. One study on oregano oil’s effect on Candida albicans, a different species of fungus, found the substance was able to reduce the growth of the fungi and suggested this learning should encourage further research on origanum’s antifungal abilities.
We’ve saved one of the most powerful antifungal essential oils for last. In the same 2017 study mentioned above, clove oil was the most efficacious in inhibiting fungal growth. Derived from a plant native to southeast Asia, clove oil has a strong and spicy aroma. Something you can enjoy while it helps combat your dandruff.
While essential oils may be able to help fight fungal growth and therefore reduce the symptoms of dandruff, it’s important to remember that they’re not the be-all and end-all of dandruff care and can’t treat those pesky flakes alone. It can be tempting to pick up any of these oils and apply them topically. Even with a diluted solution — always dilute your essential oils — the DIY strategy can be harmful or dangerous for your skin. It’s better to search for these ingredients as part of a professionally formulated product instead.
It only makes sense when mother nature created fungi she also created antifungal oils. Everything natural in this world is predicated on a delicate balance and our bodies, and specifically our scalps, are no different. Are you ready to introduce essential oils into your hair care and scalp care routine? If your scalp’s microbiome could speak, we imagine it’d be saying, “yes, please.” Keep an eye out for products that contain the powerful active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione to fight dandruff along with essential oils that can help bring antifungal properties to your products. And while you’re looking, allow us to suggest our line of scalp and hair care products formulated with both Zinc Pyrithione to treat dandruff and essential oils including rosemary, lavender, mint, and mandarin orange oils (to name a few). Learn more here.
Built for those looking to address constant or moderate to severe flaking, redness, or irritation and want their mane left looking refreshed and silky smooth.