A Cosmetic Chemist Tells Us The Benefits Of Using Ginger Oil For Haircare

People often want bouncy, shiny, healthy, and strong hair, and the haircare market reflects that. In fact, the hair serum market specifically is predicted to grow from a $1.3 billion industry in the early 2020s to a $2.2 billion industry in the United States by 2028, according to market research company Arizton. With so many (often pricey) options on the market, it can be easy to overlook simple, natural options like humble ginger oil. The benefits of ginger for skincare, digestion, mental health, and nausea have long been acknowledged by the mainstream, yet its potential for increasing scalp and hair health remains largely unnoticed.

As such, we asked cosmetic chemist and founder of the skincare brand Perfect Image David Petrillo for his exclusive insight on ginger oil. "The tradition of using ginger for haircare originates from traditional medicine practices in various cultures, where ginger has been used for its potential health benefits for centuries," he tells us. "However, it's important to understand that these claims are largely anecdotal, and there is limited scientific research to support them."

From fighting off inflammation to boosting circulation, ginger oil has plenty of potential benefits to offer your hair and scalp (via Healthline). But does all that potential add up to actual results? 

Ginger oil can ease scalp inflammation

In naturopathic and even some mainstream medical communities, ginger is often promoted for its anti-inflammatory properties, as seen in 2013 research published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. When it comes to overall hair health, it only makes sense that your scalp health must come first, as our hair grows out of the scalp. As such, if your scalp is inflamed, your hair suffers, and you might encounter irritation or burning (via the Miami Hair Institute). 

Reducing or eliminating scalp inflammation can clear the way for uninhibited hair growth. It can also help to reverse hair loss that has occurred as a result of the body's immune system's response to inflammation, which, according to the Insalaco Clinic, can attack hair follicles and block them from absorbing nutrients. David Petrillo exclusively tells us that "inflammation can contribute to hair loss and by reducing inflammation, ginger oil may help prevent hair loss and promote a healthy scalp." He adds that ginger oil can also aid a dry scalp, saying, "Ginger oil can help soothe dryness and itchiness of the scalp. It has moisturizing properties that can nourish the scalp and alleviate dry scalp conditions, which can contribute to hair loss."

Ginger oil can decontaminate the scalp

Ginger oil's benefits don't stop at its anti-inflammatory properties. "Ginger has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and it's thought that applying ginger oil to the scalp may help reduce dandruff and scalp infections," David Petrillo exclusively tells Glam. This is backed by 2020 research published in the Arabian Journal of Chemistry that found ginger oil to have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. What's more, ginger oil's anti-dandruff properties work twofold, with Petrillo adding, "Ginger oil is believed to make hair smoother and shinier, possibly due to its moisturizing properties." Shiny and moisturized? A lovely win-win, if you ask us.

If you tend to suffer from fungal acne, dandruff, or skin infections on your scalp, ginger oil can help to keep the area free from harmful fungi and microbes that promote poor scalp health. While dandruff is common enough to be considered a normal occurrence, it's often associated with yeast overgrowth on the scalp, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

The same application technique for easing inflammation is a good place to start for easing fungal or bacterial overgrowth. If your dandruff doesn't resolve with ginger oil or over-the-counter medicated shampoo treatments, you may be suffering from seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis, which requires diagnosis and treatment from a dermatologist (via Healthline). 

...as well as deliver vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids

According to a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, exposing your hair and scalp to antioxidants can help combat free radicals and fight against premature aging. Good news: In our exclusive chat, David Petrillo clarifies that "ginger oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that can help strengthen the hair strands. This can make the hair less prone to breakage and damage, reducing hair loss in the process."

However, Petrillo offers a word of caution for those looking to stop or reverse hair loss: "Hair loss is a complex issue with various causes, including genetics, hormones, and other factors. While ginger oil may have some benefits for the hair and scalp, it should not be considered a standalone solution for hair loss."

Overall, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that ginger oil is worth trying for scalp and hair health, as long as you're not expecting a miracle. However, every individual is unique when it comes to the haircare realm. If ginger oil doesn't work for you — or you just don't enjoy using it — there are many other options that you can explore to see if they can offer similar benefits to you, such as Mielle hair oil. It's not uncommon to need a trial-and-error process to find the right products for your optimum hair health.