Stress-related hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia areata, happens when hair falls out of the scalp leaving temporary bald patches.
While the condition is temporary, it can have an impact on emotional well-being and cause people to feel self-conscious.
Researchers from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary recently carried out a controlled study to observe the effects of aromatherapy on reversible hair loss.
They enlisted the help of 84 alopecia sufferers and divided the group in half. One half had their scalps massaged daily with herb oils thought to have hair growth promoting properties (including lavender, thyme, rosemary and cedarwood). The other half were massaged daily with oils not thought to have particular growth effects, including grapeseed and jojoba oils.
To ensure there was no placebo effect, both researchers and participants were unaware of which group they were in.
After seven months of daily massages, 44% of the aromatherapy group showed significant improvements, compared to just 15% of the control group.
The researchers concluded that at least one of the aromatherapy oils must contain a compound that stimulates hair growth.
They wrote: “The control group’s relative lack of a response suggests a pharmacoactive property of the topically applied therapy as opposed to an effect arising from the comforting, relaxing effect of massage and of the application procedure, which was the same for both groups.”
The aromatherapy scalp massage caused no significant side effects, while conventional therapy for alopecia areata – usually steroids, can have a big impact on the body. This suggests that aromatherapy for hair loss is not only effective, but safer too.
Find out more by visiting our Aromatherapy page.
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