- My own hair fell out 3-4 weeks after the start of chemotherapy. Around that time a friend gave me a recipe that she had copied from the internet. It was a recipe for an aromatherapy essential oil mixture which she had been using and credited for making her thinning hair thicker and stronger. I showed the recipe to my own doctor to see whether it was alright for me to use the oils. To my surprise told me that it sounded remarkably similar to a combination of oils that had been used in a study published in a scientific dermatology publication which had shown some beneficial effect. Eventually I manged to hunt down the dermatology paper and found that the recipes were quite similar. The main differences being the use of melissa oil in my friend’s recipe and thyme oil in the scientific journal, jojoba oil alone as the carrier in my friends versus jojoba and grapeseed oil in the journal. In the end I opted for my friend’s recipe, only because I liked the smell better. There was something about the combination of thyme and rosemary that smelled more like something you would put on roasting meat than your bald head! However, I will say that thyme oil is considerably less expensive than melissa oil and is the oil referenced in the scientific publication.
So, did it work? Well, that is really hard to tell as I was a test group of one and there was no control i.e. no untreated Helen. But I started using it as soon as I had got my doctor’s approval and my chemotherapy treatments were over. I have to say that my hair grew bad thicker than it had ever been before in my life. I would get my husband to massage it into my head at night (which felt really good) and then go to sleep with it on (use a pillowcase you don’t mind discarding later) and wash it out the next day. I will include both recipes below and you can decide for yourself. As with everything, please check with your doctor that they approve before using anything. In one web site I saw a caution not to use rosemary oil if you have high blood pressure, but I wasn’t able to verify whether this was an appropriate caution or not, so be on the safe side and always check.
- Recipe Published in Archives of Dermatology
In 1998, Dr Isabelle Hays and colleagues published a study in the Archives of Dermatology (I.C. Hays et al, “Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy: Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata, Arch Dermatol Vol 134: 1349-1352, 1998) in which they studied 86 people who had been diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. Half the patients massaged a mixture of essential oils (diluted in a carrier oil base) into their heads nightly, the other half just used the carrier oils. Of the group that used the essential oils 44% had improvement in hair growth compared to 15% in the control group that just used the carrier oil alone.
Here is the recipe for the essential oil mixture:
2 drops (88mg) Thyme vulgaris, Thyme essential oil
3 drops (108mg) Lavandula agustifolia, Lavendar essential oil
3 drops (114mg) Rosemarinus officinalis, Rosemary essential oil
2 drops (94mg) Cedrus atlantica, Atlas cedarwood essential oil
These essential oils were mixed in a carrier oil, which was a combination of jojoba oil (3ml) and grapeseed oil (20ml). Patients were recommended to massage the oil into the scalp for a minimum of 2 minutes and then wrap a warm towel around their head every night.
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