Natren Probiotics

Tea Tree Oil and Dandruff

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a common scalp condition marked by white flakes on the scalp and itching.

It appears to be caused by a yeast-like fungus called malassezia, also known as pityrosporum. Malassezia is normally found on the scalp without causing problems, however, if it grows unchecked (possibly due to hormone imbalances, stress, immune suppression, infrequent shampooing, illness, or increased oil production), there is mild inflammation that produces dead skin cells. The dead cells mix with oil and clump together, making them appear white and flaky.

1) Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia. It has been used for centuries as an antiseptic and anti-fungal agent. There are many tea tree oil shampoos available in health food stores and some drug stores, and many people report these products help with dandruff.

There haven’t been many research studies on tea tree oil for dandruff. One study involved 126 people with mild to moderate dandruff. They used either a five percent tea tree oil shampoo or a placebo daily for four weeks. At the end of the study, the tea tree oil shampoo significantly reduced dandruff. No adverse effects were reported. Although promising, this was not a double-blind study (which means that the researchers knew which participants were using tea tree oil and which were using the placebo), so it cannot be considered solid evidence that tea tree oil works. For more information about tea tree oil, read the Tea Tree Oil Fact Sheet.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar

A home remedy for dandruff is to mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water.

Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and spritz it on to your hair and scalp, being careful to avoid the eye and ear area. Wrap your head in a towel.

After 15 minutes to an hour, remove the towel and wash your hair. This is generally done once to twice a week.

3) Biotin

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is sold in supplement form and is also found naturally in foods.

Food sources of biotin are egg yolk, liver, milk, soy, barley, brewer's yeast, and royal jelly. Biotin is also produced naturally by bacteria in the intestines.

Eating raw egg whites and prolonged use of antibiotics are thought to be causes of biotin deficiency.


Satchell AC, Saurajen A, Bell C, Barnetson RS. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. J Am Acad Dermatol. 47.6 (2002): 852-855.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of I'm Holistic, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experiences of I'm Holistic. I'm Holistic encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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