What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Oil for Dandruff?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2020
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The use of oil for dandruff is both good and bad, depending on the type of oil used. Tea tree oil is a good remedy in many ways, since it soothes irritated skin and relieves the itching, redness, and soreness associated with dandruff. Using other types of oil for dandruff is usually not a good idea, however, because it may actually make dandruff worse.

Dandruff is a scalp condition hallmarked by itching and scaling of the skin. It leads to white bits of dead skin, or "flakes," that often lead to embarrassment when they fall on dark clothing or other visible places. Many mistakenly believe that dandruff is caused by dry skin, but it is actually more common in those with oily skin. It is caused by the skin rejuvenating itself and shedding dead skin cells faster than average. Using many types of oil for dandruff may worsen the condition, cause the hair to become dirty-looking, and can clog the pores of the scalp.

Using tea tree oil for dandruff, however, may be beneficial. Most of the time it's best to use a shampoo or conditioner containing tea tree oil, although it can be applied directly to the scalp itself. It causes a cooling menthol-like sensation when applied to the skin, and it helps to relieve irritation and redness due to its soothing properties.


One unhelpful way many individuals attempt to use oil for dandruff is through avoiding shampoo for fear that it will make the condition worse. This leads to oils accumulating on the scalp, which can have the same impact as applying oils onto the skin directly. Studies have shown that washing the hair more often is associated with a reduction in dandruff symptoms. Using a moisturizing shampoo may help prevent over drying of the hair.

For many people, it is a good idea to shampoo with a dandruff shampoo at least once or twice a week, with another shampoo being used the rest of the time to maintain the healthy appearance of the hair itself. There are now dandruff shampoos designed to promote healthier hair, so these are good for everyday use. If you want to use tea tree oil for dandruff treatment, then choose a shampoo containing it.

Aside from tea tree oil, there is really no benefit to be had through using oil for the treatment of dandruff. If symptoms persist after using a specialized shampoo, a doctor should be notified. Other conditions, such as psoriasis, may cause symptoms similar to dandruff, such as a flaky scalp.



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