Q. I’m wondering if men should be using lavender. Many articles I’ve read state that lavender is a male hormone disruptor.

A. Lavender and tea tree oil were investigated as hormone disruptors when doctors noticed breast development in three little boys who had been using soap, shampoo, styling gel or lotion that contained lavender and, in one case, tea tree oil (New England Journal of Medicine, Feb. 1, 2007). An investigation of hormone activity found that both lavender and tea tree oil activate estrogen receptors much as estradiol does (Hormones, Jul-Sep., 2010).

In addition, both oils block male hormones, suggesting that you are right: it probably makes sense for men to be cautious about utilizing products containing lavender or tea tree oil.

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  2. Bradley

    I think some men are more sensitive to lavender than others. Any man already suffering from estrogen dominance or lower than normal testosterone will likely see these problems exacerbated. The amount of Lavender oil in products makes a huge difference as well as how long it is on the skin. Most commercially sold beauty products should not cause any noticeable problems as the amount of lavender oil in them is very very low.

    I am a 38 year old male and I have suffered from eczema all of my adult life. Most mass produced soaps, lotions, laundry detergents, etc. irritate my skin. So I only use a particular brand of all natural soap and I make my own lotion. One of the ingredients I have added recently to my natural lotion is lavender oil. I needed something to give it a pleasant scent and lavender is soothing to skin and previous experience has taught me that lavender does not activate my eczema.

    After only a couple of days, I noticed fat redistribution along my entire body. My chest has gotten fuller and heavier and it bounces and jiggles now. My areolas are getting a little bigger and my nipples stay semi erect almost all the time now to the point they bulge through almost all of my shirts.

    My butt and thighs have gotten larger as well as my upper arms. It doesn’t bother me as I already had some hormone issues from taking an antidepressant many years ago. The lavender oil however has definitely increased the problem. However the soothing effects to my skin make it worth it. I also smell great throughout the day. Adding lavender oil is the only change I have made. All the other products I use, foods and vitamins I take have not changed at all.

    I can definitely say that adult males can experience hormone disruptions from lavender oil so be cautious. But again, the small quantity found in most brand name products will likely not be enough to trigger any issues. All natural products from Health Food Stores, Vitamin Shops, etc. might be different though.

    • Amy
      San Jose, California

      Hello, I know someone who is m2f transitioning and is curious about what the mixture for the cream that you made consists of other than just the lavender oil. Also how much do you apply?

    • Susan F.

      PLEASE, everyone needs to read actual scientific research on this. There have been real studies done with control groups following scientific procedure concluding that these essential oils are not the problem, but the chemicals such as formaldehyde (which can be found in some products) is.

  3. Tom

    Does it cause problems in men?

  4. Eva


  5. Mary

    It would be interesting to explore if lavender oil use would then activate estrogen receptors in older women whose estrogen levels have dropped.

    And I agree with the commenter who asked if the products used were essential oils or synthetically made. After centuries of use, one would think problems with male use would have been noticed before now.

  6. MR

    I first read about this some years ago in a Science News article. That article said only growing boys needed to avoid lavender or tea tree oils.

  7. Robert Tisserand

    This information about lavender oil and tea tree oil from 2007 is only a small part of a much bigger picture. If we also take account of subsequent data, I believe that the most logical conclusion is that neither essential oil is estrogenic, and that the in vitro findings were due to the essential oils leaching (estrogenic) phthalates out of the plastic receptacles used in the lab testing. We know for sure that lavender oil is not estrogenic. http://roberttisserand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Lack-Of-Evidence-That-Essential-Oils-Affect-Puberty.pdf http://roberttisserand.com/2014/02/estrogens-in-plastic-labware/ http://roberttisserand.com/2013/02/lavender-oil-is-not-estrogenic/

  8. kelly

    What about using lavender if you have breast cancer. Should its use be stopped?

    • Terry Graedon

      That is not clear, unfortunately. We don’t have any clinical research to give a reliable answer.

  9. Stephanie

    This is not an accurate answer. You should do compete research and check into what Robert Tisserand had to say about this.

  10. Karmel

    Interesting … goes to show even healthy ‘stuff’ can have side effects.

    I used to work Xmas time selling an expensive well known world perfume range. They did all sorts of research.

    They found MEN most liked the scent of Lavender !

  11. Bethany

    I am shocked that you would make such a conclusion without doing any further research. This information is old and has been disproven.
    Robert Tisserand replied;It is not factual. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I have busted this myth several times over http://roberttisserand.com/…/estrogens-in-plastic-labware/ http://roberttisserand.com/…/Lack-Of-Evidence-That… http://roberttisserand.com/…/lavender-oil-is-not…/

    • Terry Graedon

      While estrogens in labware are certainly a problem, it seems to us that the final word is not yet in on this question. There was a study that indicated putting lavender oil on rat skin failed to increase the weight of the uterus, an old and crude but seemingly reliable test for estrogenic activity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23358464
      Test tube studies of estrogen-responsive cells, however, showed estrogenic activity in that model. Here’s the link: http://www.hormones.gr/691/article/article.html
      We’ll be watching for more research to explain these discrepancies. In the meantime, people using lavender oil should be aware of the controversy.

    • Matt

      Robert Tisserand provides a variety of arguments large enough that it is difficult to find the time to dispute each point separately. So let’s say I agree with all of his arguments disputing the validity of the tests performed in 2007. That still leaves us with the question of what caused the antiandrogenic effects in-vitro (assuming I agree the estrogenic effects were purely due to the presence of dimethylsulfoxide). It should also be noted that concerns about product impurities causing the breast growth in the 4 boys should be as valid now as they were then.

      Furthermore, Mr. Tisserand’s research is “intended to be included in a battery of in vitro and in vivo tests” to identify risk, as defined by the same document ( http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/iccvam/suppdocs/feddocs/oecd/oecdtg440.pdf ) that Robert uses to validate his 80 year old technique of testing on rat uteri. To claim product safety based on such minimal research is beyond irresponsible.

  12. MJ Wilkie
    New York City

    Interesting that lavender was traditionally a men’s cologne, used by women only in recent times. Perhaps the idea was to keep their hormones under control …

  13. dwight
    wilm nc

    whoa – going to have to stop using tt oil for my toe fungus preventative. How about Neem oil?

    • Cortney

      Lavender is said to be an aphrodisiac. Thats why it has been used in colognes and by women. Nevertheless, the fact that one study based on three boys with so much missing information has taken this kind of fire is crazy. I would love to see further studies. This reminds me of the Paraben scare…also quite ridiculous.

  14. Beth
    United States

    Since so much of the essential oil industry is comprised of synthetic or adulterated oils, is this study indicative of the use of genuine lavender products? The children using the soap, shampoo, styling gel and lotion were perhaps using a product that included a lesser grade of essential oil that was added for scent more than for therapeutic qualities. Could the additives in these products be responsible for the undesirable side effects moreso than the oil itself?

  15. OhioGramma

    So, would lavender and tea tree oil help alleviate symptoms of BPH in older men? Any research on that?

  16. Carol

    So should women who have had estrogen receptive breast cancer also not use lavender or tea tree oil products? After years of poor sleep I am now using lavender scented baby lotion and a drop of lavender essential oil on my forearms and I finally get a good nights sleep.

  17. terri
    ontario canada

    This is very interesting. Should women stop using lavender and tea tree oil as well as men? Could using it contribute to breast cancer?

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