Tea tree oil shampoo for treating seborrheic dermatitis: What is the evidence?

A number of shampoos have emerged on the market containing tea tree oil. I sometimes recommend it to patients who are looking for more natural products to treat their seborrheic dermatitis.

Of course, I would not recommend a treatment unless it was backed up by some kind of reasonably conducted study. A study from 2002 by Satchell and colleagues examined the benefits of a 5% tea tree oil shampoo compared to a placebo shampoo is 126 males and females with seborrheic dermatitis.

Patients used either shampoo daily for 4 weeks. What were the results? Well, individuals using tea tree oil had a reduction in severity of the seborrheic dermatitis and less itching and greasiness.



There is evidence to support use of tea tree oil as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis. More studies are needed and to evaluate how tea tree oil compares with standard seborrheic dermatitis treatments such as ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione and selenium sulphide.



Satchell et al Journal of American Academy of Dermatology 2002.

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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