How to Use Essential Oils to Prevent an Itchy Scalp

Three Parts:Finding the Best Essential OilsUsing the Essential OilsTreating Head Lice

Essential oils are great for many different things, including your scalp. An itchy scalp can be caused by multiple disorders, including scalp diseases and head lice. Each reason or cause may need a specific essential oil blend, depending on the circumstances. However, you can follow some general rules to determine which essential oil is right for you.

Part 1
Finding the Best Essential Oils

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    Talk with your dermatologist. Before you start any home remedy for scalp issues, you need to talk to your dermatologist. They will help you determine the cause of your itchy scalp. Discuss with him or her how you want to use home remedies to help, especially essential oils. He or she will help you find the right blend for you. Let the doctor know exactly what you are planning for your home care.
    • Get a medical diagnosis from your physician or dermatologist about your scalp condition before you start home remedies. Let them know what home-care approach you are taking. You want to make certain that the treatments you perform at home are appropriate and that they won’t interfere with any medications you take.
    • Home treatments should provide some relief from itching within three to four days. If there is no improvement, make certain you contact your physician for further advice.
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    Try antifungal oils. One scalp condition that can be helped by essential oils is seborrheic dermatitis. Essential oils are extremely helpful when the dermatitis is combined with a type of yeast known as malassezia, which can cause an inflammatory response that causes itching.[1] Antifungal oils are also helpful for the condition tinea capitis, which can also cause itching of the scalp.[2] There are many oils that have anti-fungal properties, which will help you fight these scalp-related issues. These include:
    • Tea Tree oil
    • Cinnamon oil
    • Tangerine oil
    • Cumin oil[3]
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    Use anti-inflammatory oils. One common scalp issue that causes itching is psoriasis, which can cause inflammation of the scalp. Since it is treated with different medications, ask you doctor about possible oil interactions.[4] These oils may be helpful in conjunction with physician recommended over the counter shampoos that contain coal tar or salicylic acid.[5] Autoimmune issues may also cause inflammation and itching of the scalp. There are some essential oils that help with this type of itching which include:
    • Bergamot Orange Oil
    • Evening Primrose Oil
    • Flaxseed Oil
    • Basil Oil
    • Orange Oil
    • Peppermint Oil
    • Turmeric Oil[6]

Part 2
Using the Essential Oils

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    Check for allergies. Before you use any essential oil, you need to look for possible oil allergies. You don't want to make your itchy scalp worse by causing an allergic reaction. Since most the oil in the different categories work in similar fashions, start with the one in the type you need that smells to best and test it on your skin.
    • Pick a place on your wrist or arm and rub a small amount into your skin. Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour to see if you react, such as getting red or itchy skin, sneezing, or developing a headache.
    • Do not use the oil if you react in any way to it. If you have no reaction, you are free to use the oil.[7]
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    Use the oil in shampoos. Once you decide on an essential oil to use, you need a way to get it on your scalp. Instead of rubbing it directly onto your scalp, add it to shampoo. Buy a mild shampoo free of additives and preservatives. Add two to five drops of the essential oil you chose for every six to eight ounces of shampoo you use.
    • You may be able to use more essential oils per shampoo. Ask you dermatologist about increasing the dosage if you aren't seeing the results you want.
    • Avoiding additives and preservative will lessen the chance of further irritate to your scalp. Baby shampoo is great for this use.[8][9]
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    Try an apple cider vinegar rinse. Instead of essential oil infused shampoo, you can make an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse with essential oils for your hair to help itching. To start, shampoo and condition your hair like normal. Then, mix ½ cup of warm water with ½ cup of ACV. Add two to three drops of one chosen essential oil. Pour the mixture over your hair. Work it into your scalp for about three to five minutes. Rinse with warm water
    • Repeat this every other day for the first two weeks. After that, repeat twice a week.[10]

Part 3
Treating Head Lice

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    Understand head lice. Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that only live on the head. They attach themselves and their eggs to the hair shaft. As they grow, they cause significant scalp itching. Although they are common among school aged children, anyone can get lice. It is only spread by contact with another person with lice, and is different than body lice.
    • Your physician may also recommend over the counter shampoos that contain insecticides such as pyrethrin or permethrin to help fight head lice. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly to get rid of the lice with these shampoos.[11]
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    Try an essential oil mix. Instead of over the counter remedies, you can try an essential oil infused treatment for head lice. Tea tree oil mixed with lavender oil are used most commonly in these treatments and has been proven effective in killings live eggs and reducing live lice.
    • To make the mixture, add four to five drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil to a small bowl. Add three or four tablespoons of coconut or olive oil to the essential oils. Mix well.
    • Massage the mixture into the top edges of the hair, making sure the scalp is saturated. Make sure you massage the mixture in along the hairline at the nape of the neck and behind the ears.[12]
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    Cover the head. Once you've saturated the hair, cover the head with a plastic shower cap or a bathing cap. Leave the mixture on for a minimum of four hours. However, leaving it on overnight is the best option.
    • If you don't have a cap, wrap the head in a towel, but make sure you tie it off so that it stays on the head.
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    Remove the lice. To get out the oils, saturate the hair using lots of shampoo and leave it on for about five minutes. Rinse the shampoo out like normal, then get out of the shower. After you get out, saturate the hair with conditioner, which will help remove the lice easier. Use a fine-toothed lice comb to remove the dead and dying lice, rinsing off the comb every few run-throughs.
    • Rinse the comb into the sink, using hot running water to rinse the comb.
    • Make sure to start at the scalp and run the comb completely through all the hair. If the person has long hair, work the comb through in one inch sections until you get all the way through.
    • Repeat this process for three consecutive days and then once again one week later.[13]

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Categories: Aromatherapy | Essential Oils