In this article you’ll learn the 3 big ways Ylang Ylang oil can be used to fight hair loss.
Firstly, it can help to reduce scalp inflammation (something that can cause hair follicles to wither and die.)
Secondly, Ylang Ylang can be used to clean and unclog the scalp due to its antimicrobial properties.
Thirdly, Ylang Ylang helps reduce oxidative stress and cellular ageing in the scalp due to its antioxidant nature.
I’m going to go into more detail on each of these points below.
Finally, at the end of this article I’m going to share with you the best and most effective ways that you can start using this oil to begin re-growing your hair as soon as possible, with my simple (but awesome) shampoo recipe.
What is Ylang Ylang Oil?
Botanically referred to as cananga odorata, the ylang ylang is a tree which is indigenous to the Indo-Malayan region.
This tree, prized for its highly fragrant flowers, is produced for various uses.
The oils from the flowers are used in a number of cosmetic products, from perfume to shampoo to hair oil, and the flowers themselves are worn as adornment in the hair of women.
Medicinally, ylang ylang has been used throughout the Indo-Pacific region for a variety of ailments.
Some common therapeutic uses include the treatment of general stomach discomfort, the control of asthma, and the relief of itches and other skin irritations.
In recent years, ylang ylang has come to light as a possible treatment option for those suffering from alopecia.
This rich oil is full of chemical components, such as linalool and caryophyllene, which provide it with its various abilities, some of which will be highlighted below.
Ylang Ylang Oil in the Fight Against Scalp Inflammation
There’s no doubt that itching, inflammation, and general irritation can lead to hair thinning and balding. In fact, some forms of alopecia have inflammation largely to blame.
But, what causes inflammation and how does it lead to excessive shedding?
It helps to think of inflammation as your skin’s main defense mechanism.
When the skin is harmed, either through injury, allergy, or otherwise, the skin inflames to react against the harm.
This isn’t harmful to your hair and hair follicles in the short term, but over time, chronic inflammation can damage the hair follicles and lead to less hair growth and even progressive loss.
I’ve discussed the four stages of the hair growth cycle here.
As you may know, anagen is the active phase of growth.
Inflammation, however, can damage the hair follicle and destroy the stem cells found within the follicles.
Without these stem cells, regeneration and growth of hair is impossible.
In individuals with Androgenetic Alopecia, inflammation of the scalp may be triggered by DHT buildup.
For those suffering from other forms of hair loss, inflammation could be immune-related or flared by an allergen.
A few studies have indicated the use of Ylang Ylang oil as an anti-inflammatory.
In one such study, scientists induced edema in a group of rats.
The rats were then treated separately with various doses of pure linalool and linalyl acetate, both of which are main components of ylang ylang oil.
The 25 mg/kg dosage had one of the more delayed but prolonged effects, though both the linalool and linalyl acetate compounds were found to be effective treatments of edema.
Another study performed in 2010 by Wei and Shibamoto backed the previous findings and determined that the use of linalool and linalyl acetate can help to minimize inflammation and keep it under control.
While no studies of this nature have been performed on humans, the anti-inflammatory abilities of ylang ylang oil cannot be ignored.
The Antimicrobial Benefits of Ylang Ylang Oil
With the emergence of multidrug resistant pathogens, the need for natural treatments has never been more critical.
This has led researchers to perform studies on various plant sources to determine their antimicrobial benefits, if any.
Through multiple studies, ylang ylang oil has continuously shown its various antimicrobial abilities.
In 2014, scientists put 12 plants commonly used by the Bentian tribe in Indonesia to the test. Of the 12 plants, one was cananga odorata, or ylang ylang.
In this particular study, only the bark of the ylang ylang tree was tested. Three extraction methods were used, with varying extract yields.
The ylang ylang extract was tested against various bacterial strains.
One such strain was the gram-positive bacteria known as P. acnes. This bacteria is believed to be responsible for certain inflammatory diseases, such as acne vulgaris.
When compared to the positive control CHP (a drug commonly used to treat P. acnes infection), these were the results:
What does this mean for those who suffer from alopecia?
Remember that hair loss can be caused by a number of things. For some individuals, bacteria and other microbes can lead to hair follicle damage and, eventually, balding.
With the application of a proven antimicrobial to the scalp, you can ensure that your scalp and follicles stay clean and healthy.
Ylang ylang has been shown to be that antimicrobial, which means it’s a good option for those looking to fight against hair fall and regrow their hair.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil and Its Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals can wreak havoc on the body, latching on to healthy cells and disrupting their cycles. When this occurs on the scalp, such damage can be irreparable if not handled properly.
Fortunately, antioxidants have been proven to fight against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, and ylang ylang oil has been shown to be an effective source of antioxidants when compared to other plant sources.
In fact, when evaluated against the free radical DPPH, ylang ylang showed a 79% inhibition percentage.
Are There Side Effects or Risks Associated with Ylang Ylang Oil Supplementation?
At this time, ylang ylang oil has not been shown to have any major side effects or risks associated with its supplementation.
However, keep in mind that allergies are possible, and it’s always best to speak with your physician prior to beginning a new supplement.
Of course, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult with their obstetrician prior to use.
How to Use Ylang Ylang Oil As a Hair Loss Treatment
While ylang ylang oil can be consumed in small doses, the most common use when treating hair loss is direct application.
Make Ylang Ylang Oil Shampoo
If you’re currently fighting against scalp inflammation and irritation, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is make your own hair loss shampoo.
One, you won’t be exposing your already-sensitive scalp to harsh chemicals. Two, you can add scientifically-proven ingredients to your shampoo to enable healing and promote hair growth.
Ylang Ylang and Maple Syrup Shampoo
- Liquid castile soap (1/2 cup)
- Maple syrup (2 tablespoons)
- Ylang ylang essential oil (5-10 drops)
- Castor oil (10 drops)
Combine all ingredients in the container of your choice. Mix well.
How to Use:
Pour the above mixture over wet hair, and massage into your scalp for 2 – 3 minutes. Be sure to spread the shampoo from root to tip, and pay special attention to particularly irritated or thinning areas.
Maple syrup, perhaps one of the last things you would think to apply to your scalp, is actually a soothing ingredient with antibacterial properties.
Combined with the inflammation-fighting ylang ylang oil and the hydrating castor oil, this shampoo is an excellent addition to your shampoo recipe rotation.
Use Ylang Ylang Oil As a Hot Oil Treatment
If you’re looking for a no-fuss application method, then you may be interested in trying ylang ylang oil as a hot oil treatment.
Hot oil treatments are beneficial to the scalp, opening up the pores and ensuring maximum absorption of the applied oil.
Ylang Ylang Hot Oil Treatment
- Ylang ylang oil (1 cup)
- Hot water
- Plastic shower cap
As you bring the hot water to a boil, pour the ylang ylang oil into a heat-safe container.
Once the water has come to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and place the container directly into the pot.
Allow to sit for a few minutes until the oil is thoroughly heated, though you may have to swirl the oil around a few times to ensure even heat distribution.
To test to temperature of the oil, use your wrist.
How to Apply:
For best results, apply the hot oil treatment prior to shampooing.
Pour the heated oil into your palm, and begin to massage onto your scalp and hair.
Massage all over scalp for 5 minutes, making sure to cover the entirety of your scalp and hair from root to tip.
After 5 minutes, place the plastic shower cap over your head. Using the bath towel, dip it or run it under hot water, and then wring out the excess. Wrap around your head over the top of the shower cap, and secure.
Leave the towel and shower cap in place for at least 30 minutes, though overnight is fine as well.
Once you feel the hot oil treatment has sat long enough, rinse out thoroughly with lukewarm water and shampoo as usual.
The use of ylang ylang oil, in combination with applied heat, opens up the scalp’s pores and provides a cleansing and hydrating effect which is beneficial in the treatment of inflammation, DHT build up, and general hair follicle irritation.
Although there is no direct evidence of the beneficial effect of ylan-ylang for hair re-growth its clear that indirectly (through its anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects) it can be a useful ingredient to add to your hair care regime.
Its incredibly easy to add a few drops of this essential oil to your own homemade shampoo.
However, since ylang-ylang works topically (you put it on your scalp) it will have no effect on fixing the underlying cause of hair loss (which is a chemical imbalance.)
For this you’ll need to make bigger changes.
Once the imbalances that cause hair loss in the first place have been fixed, then you can use ylang-ylang oil to stimulate, protect and accelerate the regrowth itself.
*This article was reviewed by Dr. Anil Simhadri