Can Using Ginger on Your Hair or Scalp Improve Its Health?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

You may have also read anecdotal information about ginger’s ability to heal hair and scalp health. While ginger may have anti-inflammatory benefits for scalp conditions, some clinical studies have shown that certain compounds may actually decrease hair growth.

It’s important to learn more about ginger and its proper uses before self- treating any dermatologic condition.

Potential ginger benefits for hair

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In the long-term, hair care practices are just as important as those used in skin care. Ginger isn’t considered a common medical treatment for keeping hair healthy, but some claim anecdotally that this spice may improve hair growth.

Can ginger improve hair growth?

In Eastern Asian medicine, ginger is sometimes used to promote hair growth. However, some researchers have noted that no scientific evidence has proven that ginger helps treat baldness.

Some instead focus on the potential benefits of ginger for scalp inflammation. It’s thought that when scalp conditions clear up, hair growth may improve. Still, such benefits are only anecdotal.

Can ginger slow hair loss?

There’s lacking scientific evidence that ginger may slow the rate of hair loss. Taking ginger for your hair and scalp health may lead to improvements in appearance, but there’s little that can be done to slow down hair loss once it’s started.

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It’s also important to note that some cases of hair loss are linked to underlying hair conditions, which natural treatments like ginger may not help treat.

Can ginger remove hair?

While some anecdotal evidence touts the potential hair growth benefits of ginger, some clinical evidence suggests the complete opposite effects.

One study on 6-gingerol, a compound in ginger, found reduced hair growth in mice as well as human follicles in vitro. Based on these results, researchers concluded that ginger could help inhibit hair growth or even intentionally remove hair.

Potential side effects of using ginger

As a cooking spice, ginger is safe for most people. If you have any known ginger allergies, then you should avoid applying extracts, essential oils, and any other form of ginger to your hair.

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Rub some ginger on the inside of your elbow 24 hours before using it on your hair or scalp to see if you have any adverse reactions. If you do, don’t use it.

Possible signs of a skin reaction can include:

  • red rash
  • hives or welts
  • itchiness
  • increased inflammation
  • burns

Traditionally, ginger extracts for the hair and scalp are used on a topical basis only. You shouldn’t take ginger by mouth for such purposes, unless directed by a doctor. Doing so may lead to the following side effects:

  • cramps
  • diarrhea
  • excessive gas
  • heartburn
  • drug interactions, especially if you take blood thinners (anticoagulants)

How to use ginger for hair

The internet is full of recipes that purportedly help with hair growth. While scientifically unfounded, applying ginger to your scalp and hair can still be an invigorating experience. Here are a few methods to try.

Ginger oil
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Ginger oil comes in the form of extracts or essential oils, the latter of which needs to be diluted with a carrier oil before applying. Use the product throughout the scalp and hair for a spicy, invigorating aroma. Rinse out after 15 to 30 minutes.

Ginger juice

Ginger juice is made directly from ginger root. You may cut off an edge of a fresh root and massage directly onto your scalp. Another method is to puree the root in a blender and apply all over your hair.

Ginger hair mask

To make a ginger hair mask, you may use ginger juice, essential oil, or extract combined with equal parts of a carrier oil, such as argan, coconut, or jojoba. Massage into the scalp and cover your hair evenly. Place a cap over your hair and leave on up to 30 minutes before rinsing out.

If treating the scalp only, you may add something acidic to the mask, such as yogurt, lemon, or apple cider vinegar.

Ginger supplements
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Ginger supplements are available in the form of teas, capsules, and tablets. When taking ginger by mouth, follow all product instructions carefully and discontinue if any gastrointestinal side effects occur.

Speak with a doctor before taking supplements of any kind. Keep in mind that ginger supplements haven’t been scientifically linked to hair growth.

Takeaway

Since few over-the-counter hair growth options exist, consumers are increasingly turning to traditional methods to try their luck.

Ginger, though touted online, isn’t scientifically proven to promote hair growth or prevent hair loss. Still, you may benefit from its anti-inflammatory effects if you have certain scalp conditions.

Despite the fact that ginger is a natural substance, it can present side effects in some people. It’s always a good idea to check with a doctor beforehand, especially if you take medications or have any pre-existing conditions.

If anything, a ginger-infused hair mask can be refreshing and aromatic. Still, you may not see any significant hair effects.

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