Essential oils contain chemical compounds from plants. Many people use essential oils in aromatherapy or apply diluted essential oils to their skin. Some essential oils may support hair regrowth, but further research is necessary.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) states that chemotherapy can damage some fast-growing healthy cells, including hair follicles. This can result in hair loss.

This article discusses essential oils and whether they help with hair regrowth after chemotherapy.

Although research suggests essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these oils. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils and research the quality of a particular brand’s products. It is also important to always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

Essential oils contain chemical compounds from plants. People extract these compounds using distillation.

Usually, essential oils are used in aromatherapy, meaning a person inhales them after they have evaporated. Additionally, a person can apply them to the skin for massage after diluting them with a carrier oil.

According to an older systemic review, essential oils used in aromatherapy may benefit some health conditions.

However, further research into the use of essential oils and aromatherapy is necessary. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), studies into aromatherapy have had mixed results. Furthermore, no peer-reviewed scientific journals have published any studies of aromatherapy used to treat cancer.

A person should therefore consult their doctor before using essential oils, particularly if they intend to use essential oils to manage a health condition.

According to the ACS, hair loss generally starts within 1–3 weeks of chemotherapy and becomes more noticeable after 1–2 months. It may happen quickly or gradually.

The NCI states that hair usually grows back approximately 2–3 months after finishing chemotherapy. It will be very fine at first and may even differ in texture or color compared with a person’s previous hair.

Learn more about “chemo curls” here.

Researchers of a 2019 study on people with breast cancer investigated hair regrowth after chemotherapy. They found that 99.9% of people experienced hair loss, and hair regrowth occurred in 98% of people.

An older study suggests that some people may experience permanent hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. This may be more common with certain drugs.

It is important to note that there is no evidence to suggest that essential oils can stimulate hair growth after chemotherapy.

The below essential oils may support hair growth in general, but further research is still needed.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil may stimulate hair growth when diluted with a carrier oil and massaged into the scalp. Peppermint oil is one of the most common essential oils available and is an ingredient in many cosmetic products.

A 2014 study on rats investigated peppermint oil’s effect on hair regrowth. Researchers compared the oil with three other topical solutions and examined the effects over the course of 4 weeks. The study showed that peppermint oil produced the most hair growth, increased thickness, and the number and depth of follicles.

Learn more about peppermint oil for hair growth here.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has a variety of benefits. Cosmetics sometimes include it. Tea tree oil is particularly useful for skin care and in the treatment of acne. Many anti-dandruff and itchy scalp treatments include it as well.

A 2013 study found that tea tree oil mixed with minoxidil, a common treatment for hair growth, resulted in faster hair growth than minoxidil alone. However, further research into the benefits of tea tree oil for hair growth is necessary.

A person can mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil before massaging it into the scalp. Alternatively, a person can combine a few drops with their shampoo.

Rosemary oil

Rosemary oil has anti-inflammatory properties, so it may relieve aches and pains. It may also be useful in the treatment of hair growth.

A 2015 study compared rosemary oil with minoxidil for hair growth. Researchers split the participants into two groups. They recorded no significant difference for either product until after 6 months of treatment.

However, although they found that hair count was about the same in both groups, the rosemary oil group produced less scalp itchiness than the minoxidil group.

A person can mix a few drops of rosemary oil with a carrier oil and apply the mixture to their scalp after washing their hair. They should leave this in for 5–10 minutes before rinsing it out. Alternatively, a person can add a few drops of rosemary oil to shampoo.

Learn more about rosemary oil for hair growth here.

Lavender oil

Lavender oil promotes relaxation and aids sleep.

Researchers of a 2016 study applied lavender oil to the backs of mice. They did this five times a week for 4 weeks and found that lavender oil promoted hair growth.

A person can mix a few drops of lavender oil with carrier oil. They can then apply this to their scalp after a bath or shower and leave it in for 5–10 minutes before rinsing.

Bergamot oil

According to a 2019 review, bergamot oil may reduce inflammation, improve mood, and lower cholesterol.

The same review found that bergamot oil is useful in stimulating hair growth and has many other health benefits. However, it is worth noting that animal models are the basis for this research.

A person can put a few drops of this oil into their usual shampoo. Alternatively, they can mix two drops with a carrier oil and massage the mixture into the scalp for an overnight treatment.

According to the NCI, essential oils pose low safety and health risks. However, a person should avoid swallowing essential oils.

Before applying diluted essential oils to a large area of skin, people can do a patch test to determine whether they will experience skin irritation or an allergic reaction to the oils. If any skin irritation occurs, a person should stop using the product immediately and rinse off any remaining oil.

It is advisable to always mix a few drops of an essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it to the skin. Examples of carrier oils include:

If a person wishes to try using essential oils for hair regrowth following chemotherapy, they should discuss this with a healthcare professional.

A few alternatives to essential oils for hair regrowth that a person may consider include:

  • Minoxidil: This is a very common treatment for hair growth. Research shows the effectiveness of using a topical form of this product for hair regrowth. Older research suggested that minoxidil increased hair growth in people after chemotherapy. However, minoxidil can have serious side effects.
  • Low-level laser treatment: Research shows the effectiveness of using low-level laser treatment for chemotherapy-induced hair loss. HairMax is a company that offers many of these at-home laser treatments.
  • Cold caps: A 2015 study shows that wearing cold caps during chemotherapy may prevent hair loss.

People can speak with their doctors about trying any of the above methods for hair regrowth after chemotherapy.

A person may also prefer to wear a wig or head covering.

There is no research to suggest that essential oils support hair regrowth after chemotherapy. However, some studies suggest certain essential oils may help hair regrowth. Further conclusive research into essential oils is necessary.

Usually, a person applies an essential oil directly to their scalp. A person must always ensure they dilute the oil using a carrier oil.

A person who has had chemotherapy should consult their doctor before using essential oils for hair regrowth.