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How to Get Rid of Dandruff Naturally Using Essential Oils

Updated on March 7, 2010

Example of dandruff on shaved scalp

Natural dandruff relief

Dandruff is a common dry scalp condition which causes flaking of the scalp and itching. The common medical term for dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis which can occur in other places besides the scalp such as the face, chest and skin folds. Doctors aren’t completely sure what causes dandruff. Some theorize dandruff is caused by hormonal imbalances. Other possible causes are fungus called pitrosporum ovale and malassezia globosa, which usually lives on our body all the time without causing problems, become overgrown causing dandruff’s symptoms. Dandruff symptoms such as itchy scalp and flaking are worse in winter and over dry hair may be one contributing factor. Shampooing too much or too little can add to dandruff symptoms as well and over use of hair products such as hair spray and coloring. Dandruff can occur in ages ranging from infants to the elderly, occurs in men and women, and occur globally across race and ethnic barriers. Dandruff is not considered a serious condition and is primarily a cosmetic problem.

Medical treatment of dandruff usually consist of shampoos containing salicylic acid, selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione. Shampoos with coal tar as an ingredient are also used. If these medicated shampoos or lotions don’t work a steroid cream may be recommended. Steroids can’t be used long term due to their many cumulative side effects on the body. Essential oils are a natural treatment alternative to dandruff and scalp treatment.

Essential oils are the concentrated essences of plants and herbs. One essential oil can have a hundred different ingredients all of which work together in a synergistic manner. Pure essential oil is diverse and complex like nature herself. Factors such as soil, climate and even the time of day a plant is harvested can affect the resulting oil. It is impossible to synthetically reproduce the complexity of essential oils. While not all the purposes of the many components of essential oils are completely understood, holistic practitioners believe it’s important to use 100% pure essential oils. Therapeutic grade essential oils such as the oils used in aromatherapy, natural soaps, massage oils and other complementary alternative therapies are produced to the highest standards. The result is pure 100% essential oils which can compliment a holistic lifestyle.

Essential oils with properties good for dandruff include tea tree, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, patchouli, and Roman chamomile essential oil. It is important to choose theraputic grade essential oils which say 100% essential oil on the lable. Natural pure organic essential oils are skin essential.

Roman chamomile essential oil properties can be used to clam dry itchy skin. It also has a calming effect on the psyche. Lavender essential oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is revitalizing to the skin and used in all types of skin disorders. In addition is has a calming effect on the mind. Patchouli essential oil has antifungal properties and is great on dry skin. It also helps to stimulate new tissue growth. Rosemary increases circulation to the scalp and is a common component of commercial shampoos. Peppermint essential oil can calm inflammation and relieve itching. It has a cooling effect on the skin.

These oils can be used individually or in combination to relieve dandruff. Try mixing three to four drops essential oil to each ounce jojoba oil and massaging your scalp. Leave the treatment on overnight then shampoo using a gentle non-drying shampoo in the morning. Add three to four drops of each essential oil to a gentle shampoo and use two the three times a week in place of your normal shampoo. Add three drops of essential oil per each ounce of apple cider vinegar and use as a hair rinse. Rinse hair and leave on for at least five minutes then shampoo and rinse. Expect it to take several weeks of treatment to see improvement and correct any hygiene issue that may be adding to the problem such as shampooing to much or too little, and using heavy oil based products on your hair that clog the hair follicles.

For seborrheic dermatitis that occurs on the face or body, make bath oil by mixing three to four drops of each theraputic grade oil to a base oil such as jojoba and adding the the bath. A natural soap can be made using aromatherapy oils. Massage oil can be made by adding three to four drops of essential oil to each ounce of base oil and use daily. A natural soap can be made using essential oils. Pure essential oils can be added to witch hazel to make an astringent for facial care.

Essential oils can be found in your neighborhood health food store, or wholesale essential oils can be found in online stores. Be sure to use organic essential oils wherever possible.

While not medically serious, dandruff can be a very aggrav ating and sometime embarrassing skin disorder. Using essential oils to treat your dandruff can bring relief without the use of toxic chemicals.


“Aromatherapy for Common Ailments” by Shirley Price, copyright 1991, Simon & Schuster Publishing

“Advanced Aromatherapy” by Kurt Schnaubelt, PH.D, copyright 1995, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont


This article is informational and educational only and not meant as medical advice. Any use the reader chooses to make of this information they do so at their own risk. The FDA approves essential oils and herbs as dietary supplements only. While essential oils and herbs are natural, that does not mean they are not potent. Overuse and misuse can result in harm and as with any substance, allergic reactions can occur. Always consult a doctor if you have questions regarding your health and consult a holistic practitioner regarding the route dose and use of botanicals.


Essential oils can help dandruff and many other problems.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

A wonderful book for beginners in aromatherapy.



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    • profile image

      Jason 3 years ago

      Thanks for your fantastic insight brenda! It is funny how even some really big websites don't contain a lot of this useful information. So may sites just want to promote a product rather than provide helpful info to solve the issue!

      My current source on dandruff

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Brenda,

      As you quite rightly say essential oils in the right carrier oil provides an excellent remedy for dandruff or flaking scalp.

      It gives a more reliable solution at probably a cheaper cost to those purchased in a chemist shop

      Voted up and useful

      Kind regards Peter

    • camdjohnston12 profile image

      camdjohnston12 6 years ago

      Very useful hub!

    • sherrylou57 profile image

      sherrylou57 7 years ago from Riverside

      Good information, in this hub!