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Dermatologists Say Rosemary Oil Can Stimulate Hair Growth— Best Life

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As much as we hate to admit it, hair loss is a fact of life. Each year you blow out the birthday candles, you likely notice thinner strands and less regrowth. Or maybe it’s something you’ve always been genetically prone to or are suffering from due to a health condition. These days, there are science-backed solutions to stimulate hair growth and encourage luscious locks. Some are found at the pharmacy, but others are right in your pantry. Keep reading to hear from dermatologists about whether or not you should consider using rosemary oil to stimulate hair growth.

READ THIS NEXT: If You’re Over 65, Not Doing This in the Shower Is Causing Hair Loss.

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Rosemary oil might be the key to a fuller head of hair. Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, notes that one study found that after six months, rosemary oil was shown to be comparable to two percent minoxidil (best known by the brand name Rogaine) for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, or male and female pattern baldness.

So, how does it work? “Rosemary oil contains carnosic acid, which can help with cell turnover and growth,” says Reid Maclellan, MD, adjunct faculty at Harvard Medical School, director of Proactive Dermatology Group, and founder and CEO of Cortina. “Therefore, because rosemary oil promotes blood circulation around the follicle, it, in turn, helps with hair growth.”

Interestingly, rosemary oil has other hair-related benefits, too. “It helps with dry and itchy scalp, has anti-inflammatory properties… and has anti-bacterial properties to help with buildup,” explains Maclellan.

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While rosemary oil is safe for most people, there are key guidelines to follow. “Rosemary oil is an essential oil, so it should not be used directly on the scalp,” says Kazlouskaya. She recommends two methods of utilizing the oil. The first is to mix a few drops into a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba and massage the blend into your scalp before showering. The second is to add a few drops of rosemary oil to your shampoo and wash as usual.

Maclellan suggests a similar regimen and adds that the frequency of use should depend on your hair type. “If you have very fine hair, I recommend using it about once a week to avoid greasiness,” he says. “Others can use it three to four times a week.” For this method of use, Kazlouskaya recommends the Allpa Botanicals Rosemary Hair Oil.

READ THIS NEXT: If Your Hair Is Thinning, This Food Could Be to Blame, Study Says.

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If you don’t feel comfortable creating your own rosemary oil blend, you can buy one at your local beauty or department store. Maclellan notes this is similarly effective and adds convenience. His recommendations include the Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil, which contains scalp-nourishing essential oils and biotin, the Kiehl’s Magic Elixir Scalp and Hair Oil Treatment, which contains avocado oil to moisturize the hair, and the Maxxam Normalizing Shampoo, which promotes volume.

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Again, dermatologists agree that rosemary oil is typically safe for everyone. But as with anything, you’ll want to make a note of unwelcome side effects. “If you have sensitive skin, it may be a good idea to start with a small test patch or consult a dermatologist before use,” says  Maclellan.

Kazlouskaya adds that it’s possible to have a contact allergy. “If your scalp is itchy and flaky after oil application, immediately stop it,” she says. However, in most cases, the only side effect you’ll notice is tumbling tresses after several months of use.

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