Rosemary oil and hair growth: Research, effectiveness, and tips

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Some studies recommend rosemary oil to encourage hair growth or to slow hair loss. However, more research is necessary to assess its efficacy fully.

Rosemary oil may not be effective or safe for everyone to use for hair loss. However, this natural remedy may be safer and less likely to cause side effects than some hair growth medications.

This article discusses ways of trying rosemary oil as a home remedy for hair loss. It also explains what research says about its use for hair growth.

Rosmarinus officinalis L., or rosemary, is an evergreen shrub that is common to the Mediterranean Sea and sub-Himilayan areas. Practitioners of folk medicine have used rosemary to help with various ailments and conditions, including:

  • headaches
  • migraine
  • insomnia
  • emotional upset
  • depression

Rosemary oil is an essential oil extracted from the rosemary plant. Essential oils are a popular natural product. They are commonly used for dermatological applications.

Some research shows that rosemary oil may help with certain types of hair loss. However, hair loss can happen for various reasons, and it may not be useful for all of them.

Causes of hair loss include:

  • genetics
  • age
  • alopecia
  • cancer treatment or other medications
  • infection
  • hormonal shifts
  • hair care or hairstyles
  • illness or other stressors

A 2015 study found that rosemary oil may be a useful treatment for androgenic alopecia. The participants of the study showed a significant increase in hair count after 6 months of using rosemary oil. The overall result of the study provided evidence that rosemary oil may be effective for certain hair growth.

A study from 2022 also found evidence that rosemary oil can aid in hair growth. The study stated that rosemary oil had the same effect as Minoxidil, a hair growth medication, after 6 weeks of use.

Research from 2017 showed that rosemary can help in the management of bacterial infections. This means that if hair loss is due to a bacterial scalp infection, rosemary oil may be helpful in clearing the infection and regrowing hair. Anyone with a scalp infection should always speak with a healthcare professional, however.

It is possible that rosemary oil might enhance the effectiveness of conventional treatments. However, no studies have tested the validity of this theory. Similarly, there has been no analysis of whether rosemary oil is safe to use alongside minoxidil or other hair growth medications.

Anyone using minoxidil or other hair regrowth treatments should check with their healthcare professional before using rosemary oil.

A 2016 study found that rosemary affected blood circulation and skin health in rats. If the same were true of humans, then rosemary oil might prevent hair loss by improving hair and scalp health. However, more research is needed to see if rosemary oil can help prevent hair loss.

Recent research does show that it may help with hair regrowth due to certain causes of hair loss. Individuals concerned about hair loss should speak with a healthcare professional in order to diagnose the cause and discuss treatment options.

Rosemary oil is a natural remedy, but that does not mean it is safe in all concentrations or for all people. Consequently, there are several things that people should remember before they use rosemary oil.

Rosemary oil safety

People who are pregnant should not use rosemary oil or other forms of rosemary in cosmetics. If they are nursing, they should discuss the use of any kind of essential oils with a healthcare professional.

People should also avoid getting rosemary oil in their eyes or mouths and should keep it out of reach of children.

Children and infants may be more sensitive to the concentration of essential oils. This means they may need to be further diluted or avoided altogether. Speak with a healthcare professional before using oils on children.

How to use rosemary oil for hair loss

It is possible to purchase shampoo with rosemary oil already in it. Choosing something with a higher concentration of rosemary oil may be an effective option for some people. It is important to take any skin allergies or sensitivities into account when choosing a product.

There are other ways to use rosemary oil on the scalp as well.

1. Massage directly into the scalp

Rosemary oil can be applied directly to the scalp. However, it is important to dilute it first, and it should never be applied without dilution.

To make a rosemary oil solution, people can try diluting a few drops of rosemary oil in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Then, they can massage the oil evenly into their scalp. Rinsing the oil out afterward is optional. However, if an individual does choose to rinse it out, they should allow it to set into the scalp for a few minutes before doing so.

2. Mix rosemary oil into shampoo

Add a few drops of rosemary oil to a shampoo, and wash the hair daily. It is important not to over-concentrate the oil into the shampoo. Start with five drops or less per ounce of product.

3. Use rosemary oil in homemade shampoo

Various recipes for a homemade shampoo base can be found online. Once an individual finds a base shampoo they prefer, they can then add essential oils, like rosemary oil, to the base depending on the benefits they desire.

Rosemary oil can take time to work. To measure progress, a person can try counting the number of hairs in a small region on the head. Finding a way to track hair loss can make it easier to tell if the product is effective.

While essential oils, like rosemary oil, are natural products, they may not be safe for everyone to use. They can also cause potential side effects.

Rosemary oil is highly concentrated. Using too much of it may damage the hair follicles, causing hair loss instead of hair growth.

Anyone with a skin condition or skin sensitivity should use caution when using essential oils. They can cause allergic reactions or worsen symptoms of skin conditions. Individuals may wish to speak with a healthcare professional before using essential oils of any kind.

The FDA does not monitor or control the quality of essential oils. It is important to research the brand and quality before use.

Learn more about essential oils.

Some research shows that rosemary oil may help stimulate hair growth. However, this depends on the cause of hair loss and the individual.

Rosemary oil may not be suitable for everyone. A person should speak with a healthcare professional before using rosemary oil, especially if they are nursing, have skin sensitivities, or have a skin condition.

Sources

Hair loss: Who gets and causes. (n.d.). https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/18-causes

Ince B, Bilgen, et al. (2016). Use of systemic Rosmarinus officinalis to enhance the survival of random-pattern skin flaps. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5156446/

Panahi Y, et al. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A randomized comparative trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/

Rafael de Oliveira J, et al. (2017). Biological activities of Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary) extract as analyzed in microorganisms and cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685262/

Rahbardar M G, et al. (2020). Therapeutic effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and its active constituents on nervous system disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7491497/

Safety assessment of Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary)-Derived ingredients as used in cosmetics. (2014). https://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/rosmar062014FR.pdf

Safety information. (n.d.). https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety/

Uronnachi E, et al. (2022). Formulation and evaluation of hair growth enhancing effects of oleogels made from Rosemary and Cedar wood oils.

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