The People's Perspective on Medicine

Aromatherapy for Hair Loss

Does aromatherapy actually work for severe hair loss? Scottish dermatologists seem to think the answer is yes.

When we read about aromatherapy for hair loss (treatment for alopecia areata) in the Archives of Dermatology (November 1998)* we were astounded.

The Scottish dermatologists stated that:

“Cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and rosemary oils have hair growth-promoting properties. These oils have been anecdotally used to treat alopecia [baldness] for more than 100 years.”

They actually studied a less common condition called alopecia areata, a patchy kind of baldness thought to be related to an autoimmune disorder. Patients were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. One group received the following recipe:

“Thyme vulgaris (2 drops, 88 mg), Lavandula angustifolia (3 drops, 108 mg), Rosmarinus officinalis (3 drops, 114 mg), and Cedrus atlantica (2 drops, 94 mg). These oils were mixed in a carrier oil, which was a combination of jojoba, 3 ml, and grapeseed, 20 ml, oils … The oils were massaged into the scalp for a minimum of 2 minutes. A warm towel was then wrapped around the head to aid absorption of the oils. Patients were advised to use this technique every night.”

The Aromatherapy for Hair Loss Envelope…Please!

The results were impressive. Of those who applied aromatherapeutic oils, 44 percent had improvement after seven months, compared to 15 percent in the control group.

Whether aromatherapy would work for less severe hair loss is not clear.

*Hay, Isabelle C., et al. “Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy: Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata.” Arch. Dermatol. 1998; 134:1349

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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This Scottish study has been published over and over on many sites and forums. So I enthusiastically did it for about a year and found that it didn’t help at all. Smells nice, though. lol

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