Articles, Blog

Does Tea Tree Oil Work for Dandruff and Athletes foot?

August 25, 2019

[Music] our entire understanding of the cause of dandruff shifted with this landmark article published in 1984 and instead of relying on secondary sources reviews at at world’s opinion pieces he looked at the primary literature the original studies and was amazed to find out how overwhelming was the evidence of the true cause and how it been ignored because it was so well buried under the mountain of error since some expert in the 1800’s put forth some bogus theory we now know that dandruff is triggered by a fungus that lives and feeds on the human scalp the two major implications being first how alarming it is that some bogus theory can remain in the medical literature unchallenged for a century despite evidence to the contrary and second hey if it’s a fungus what about trying tea tree oil which contains components that have antifungal activity against a range of fungi that was based on studies like this though where tea trial in a petri dish can fight off pathogenic skin fungi but you don’t know if it works for dandruff until you put it to the test one hundred twenty six men and women randomized the daily use of a five percent tea tree oil shampoo or placebo for a month the placebo worked a little bit decreasing dandruff severity by about 10 percent but the tea tree oil shampoo worked better about a 40 percent drop looks like more than 40 percent from the graph but that’s because they misleadingly started the y axis at negative 60 this is a classic deception featured in chapter 5 of the 1954 classic how to lie with statistics the graph should really look like this which makes the effect less impressive but it was still statistically significant only one patient in the tea tree oil group actually achieved a complete response the one in the placebo group did as well thus it seems that the tea tree oil shampoo would require ongoing application for control of dandruff speaking of fungus what about tea tree oil in the treatment of athlete’s foot that may actually be our most common fungal skin infection affecting up to one in ten so about a hundred patients randomized into one of three groups a 10% tea tree oil cream tine Acton antifungal drug or a placebo cream a month later the fungus was wiped out in 85 percent of the drug group but only about a quarter of the placebo and tea tree oil groups this is somewhat surprising since tea tree oil can kill off the fungus in a petri dish but apparently not on toes that reminds me of some of the oral health data on tea tree oil and I can wipe out some oral pathogens in a petri dish but I have people swish of tea tree oil solution around their mouth and here’s the dental plaque buildup after four days of no brushing swishing with a placebo hear swishing with a medicated chlorhexidine mouthwash which helps keep the plaque a bit at bay but the tea tree oil mouth rinse no effect so if tea tree oil doesn’t influence the amount of plaque presumably wouldn’t help with gingivitis the gum inflammation that’s caused by plaque buildup but now here’s the twist true no reduction in plaque with a 2.5 percent tea tree oil gel yet significant reduction in gingivitis scores since decreased gum inflammation occurred without a decrease in plaque it appeared to just be helping more from an anti-inflammatory rather than anti microbial mechanism might the same thing be happening here yeah from a mycological cure standpoint a fungus cure standpoint teach royal didn’t really do any better than placebo but though the drug wiped out the fungus in 85% of cases in some of those cases the patient actually didn’t notice an improvement in symptoms or they actually felt worse after the drug probably a reflection of tinactin see irritant side effects if instead of mycological cure you looked at symptom improvement tea tree oil works as well as the drug so this may be the basis for the popular use of tea tree oil in the of athlete’s foot but you people should realize is it’s just symptomatic relief and they’re not necessarily eliminating the underlying clause of course maybe they didn’t use a strong enough concentration and indeed if you go with not a 10% cream but up to 25 or 50% you can get mycological cure rates above that a placebo but still not as good as the drug and it’s those high concentration some of the patients applying tea tree oil developed moderate to severe dermatitis they broke out in a rash but hey if you have a patient that doesn’t want to use the medicated creams than a 25% tea tree oil application has a decent chance of knocking it out without being too risky but the standard over-the-counter antifungal creams may work better [Music] you


  • Reply David George July 11, 2018 at 11:26 am


  • Reply Black_HowL 7evin July 11, 2018 at 11:27 am

    So what’s a great OTC anti fungal cream?

  • Reply Adam Duhovni July 11, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Real men eat meat!!!

  • Reply Julie Mah July 11, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Interesting. Tea tree hair products didn't work for a friend of mine with dandruff. She won't try a change in diet, though – away from standard American diet, which causes inflammation.

  • Reply helicart July 11, 2018 at 11:46 am

    physical activity for better circulation
    recommended intake of vegetables and fruit
    early nights
    adequate hydration
    hygiene by bathing regularly

    that's all it takes. everything is pulp fiction.

  • Reply Passed time July 11, 2018 at 11:50 am

    I get minor dandruff every winter. A few drops of tree oil added to my shampoo, or a natural shampoo with it (such as Jasons) is the only thing that has ever helped.

  • Reply Hannah Ruthy July 11, 2018 at 11:53 am

    So, I've been using a tea tree oil shampoo by Shea Moisture and also applying a tea tree oil infused vitamin e serum ( that I made) to my scalp for dry scalp while also, increasing my daily Omega 3 fats with walnuts and flax and have seen an improvement. My hair is falling out less and seems to be growing more!! Thank you for these videos. 🙂

  • Reply Alice July 11, 2018 at 11:57 am

    How about tea tree oil vs anti dandruff shampoo?

  • Reply sooooooooDark July 11, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    eat a lot of fructose (even tomatoes)
    and there…u…go….dandruff like craycray!
    (okay…doesnt "work" for everyone….some r less fructose intolerant than others lol)

  • Reply sooooooooDark July 11, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    1:50 impressive work from the editors to make these things look so smooth

  • Reply Starr Secrets July 11, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Still hoping for a video in the future regarding carbonated drinks (la Croix, essence waters, etc) AND you mentioned how bad melatonin sups are in a live stream and never said why. I stopped taking them immediately but still waiting for the reasons why :/

  • Reply almaonyx July 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    The amounts of tea tree oil used in these studies are very very low!!!

  • Reply CSWRB July 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Very good information, Dr. G. Thank you! I try to avoid tea tree oil altogether because of the way it affects males and I don't want my two boys or my husband to risk problems.

  • Reply Joyfuleah July 11, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    How about oregano oil?

  • Reply sooooooooDark July 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    best dandruff fixers are:
    -no fructose/sweet stuff (stevia is okay in this context)
    -no starches (yea i know…hard to do as a vegan right)
    -no caffein baverages (they make u feel dry….regardlss of what the research said that greger showed like 10 days ago…its just how it is)
    -plenty of hydrating food / water
    -good food combining

  • Reply Celina K July 11, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    4:30 symptoms
    What was it that helped military boots not to get to sweaty

  • Reply Anam Kara July 11, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Please tell us you will do more on scalp issues. I can’t admit to the D-word. !? I notice that the summer months I have no issues … the more sun I get the less I want to scalp myself.

  • Reply Eelke Aptroot July 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I remember having a case of athlete's foot as a kid, I got a prescription creme, applied it daily and it went away in a few days to weeks. But my father has had dandruff as long as I can remember, though he used special shampoo, it never really got any better. Perhaps I should inform him about the wonders of tea tree oil!

  • Reply Daraya Vahu July 11, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Why not use 100% tea tree oil? Why they dilute to 25 or even 5%? I use 100% straight on my skin or into my mouth and it's fine.

  • Reply michael onello July 11, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    thx Dr. G

  • Reply Dustin Hansford July 11, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Oregano oil thoughts?

  • Reply Hans S July 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Problem is tea tree oil STINKS.

  • Reply Shari T July 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I have used straight tea tree oil for athletes foot [applied very sparingly with a q-tip] and got rid of it in a few days. Tea tree kills everything! Also great for a small skin infection [cut, etc] Not surprised that a highly diluted solution isn't very effective.

  • Reply Sweet Mamey July 11, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Takeaway: keep buying Head & Shoulders. But what's causing the fungal scalp condition that's causing the dandruff? Nutritional deficiency?

  • Reply meow0meow7 July 11, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Tea tree oil worked for my athletes foot. But I used 100% tea tree oil, not 10% cream.

  • Reply Vahid M July 11, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    I was hoping for a WIN on the side of natural cure ☹️
    Drugs SUCK!

  • Reply swaggastronomer July 11, 2018 at 3:13 pm


  • Reply swaggastronomer July 11, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    What do we do to fix the cause of dandruff and is dandruff preventable?

  • Reply Maple Flavor July 11, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    what about for toenail fungus?

  • Reply EMac July 11, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Anyone else get creeped out by the thumbnail?

  • Reply Spartan Elf July 11, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Increasing fat intake worked a little for me, but I still have dandruff!

  • Reply Dominica Roberts July 11, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Too bad the conclusion is tea tree oil doesn't work on tinea pedis when they didn't even properly put it to the test. A 10% tea tree oil cream is not the same as undiluted tea tree oil. No wonder it didn't work. Whenever I get tinea I put tea tree oil neat on my feet and rub it to cover the soles of my feet and between the toes. Clears up right away. DOSE MATTERS!!!

  • Reply Lysander Dusseljee July 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    This also implies that there is nothing special about tea tree. Almost any plant or plant extract will have anti-inflammatory effects. Amla shampoo or conditioner might work just as well or, given its antioxidant potency, possibly even better.

  • Reply Mateus Brazil July 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    After a decade with dandruff, it went away when I became plant based. I didn't expect that, and don't know how my diet was affecting it, but I'm glad it's gone.

  • Reply VoteGreen July 11, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Today is World Benzodiazepine Day – Learn about the dangers and harm they cause.

  • Reply dighyfveirfuveifbuv July 11, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    Tea tree oil burned the fungus right off my feet when no medicated fungal cream could

  • Reply Alec Rodriguez July 11, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    My dandruff went away after I took algae dha and epa supplements. My hair got super shiny and now I have a bunch of energy. If any of you guys are wondering why you feel weak. Try this. I thought I was getting omega threes from flax but apparently not!

  • Reply Dylan T July 11, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Ive tried tto and it did nothing for me…

  • Reply Road Runner July 11, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I believe another name for tree tea oil I’d Melaluca oil. I use it in my feet fungus. It worked better than a $$40 2 oz. cream prescription.

  • Reply *Wizdom* July 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Try oregano oil for toenails

  • Reply Donald Waterman July 11, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Just used on my feet … works very well …

  • Reply Arya M July 11, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    so what causes the fungal infection on the scalp and skin? weak immune system? nutritional deficiencies? unbalanced microbiome? all of the above?

  • Reply Claire Daisy July 11, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    apple cider vinegar also helps for dandruff.

  • Reply Gavin Matthews July 11, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Only thing that worked for both of these conditions was a shower filter when i travel it flares up again using none filtered showers.

  • Reply Cesar July 11, 2018 at 11:41 pm

    How to get rid of nail fungus?

  • Reply Maxim C. July 11, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    (Not an ad, I do not make money off it) Check out the Ruffini Method is a topical dermatological treatment of Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) between 6% and 12%.
    ⚫For fungi and other skin problems, more than 100 skin disease, included athlete's foot.

    I'm not sure if I can post links here, so let me know if you need its Facebook page.


    What is the Ruffini Method
    The Ruffini Method is a topical dermatological treatment for the treatment of skin and mucous diseases through the application of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), diluted in water at a concentration between 6 and 12 percent. It promises to cure over a hundred diseases and disorders of skin and mucous membranes often insidious and resistant to traditional treatments. From dermatitis to fungal infections of skin and nails, from candida to papilloma virus, from wounds to inflammation, from cold sores to fire of St. Anthony, from infected diabetic foot to the dreaded infections of Mrsa, from wasp stings to burns of jellyfish and domestic burns.

    In particular, it acts against five classes of pathogens:

    The Ruffini method uses sodium hypochlorite also in other situations:

    insect bites, jellyfish burns and stinging plants
    sunburn and household burns
    personal and domestic hygiene
    The areas in which it applies are:

    skin injuries (wounds, stinging bites of plants or animals, domestic burns)
    personal hygiene and domestic and work environments
    veterinary medicine
    The Ruffini Method takes care of skin and mucosa pathologies but not all of them, in particular they are excluded:

    genetic diseases
    autoimmune diseases
    allergic affections
    neurological and psychodermatological manifestations
    For this reason we always suggest to have the causes evaluated by a specialist doctor. If the Ruffini Method is not therefore a panacea, what is it? Definitely a useful aid for the doctor and a valid alternative, fast and cheap, to many topical drugs on the market today.

  • Reply Jason Stone July 11, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    I used to have dandruff. Then I started using peppermint oil and jojoba oil. No more dandruff.

  • Reply Maxim C. July 12, 2018 at 12:09 am

    For fungi related skin conditions — try to look up the Ruffini Method.
    — also conditions caused by: virus

    I don't make money off it, just want to help. There is great collection of photo evidences on the method's Facebook…

  • Reply Lynn Purvis July 12, 2018 at 12:23 am

    I must be a lucky one because tea tree oil worked on my toe nail fungus and it didn't come back – that was before I became vegan.

  • Reply Isaac Guedes July 12, 2018 at 12:30 am

    The only thing that ever helped me was fasting and a plant based diet. I tryed everything for more than 20 years. And the last 8 month's everything changed for better….

  • Reply Laurie Paris July 12, 2018 at 1:11 am

    What about Zinc? I've heard that's good for dandruff.

  • Reply busyrand July 12, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Tea Tree Oil is phenomenal for razor bumps! Absolute life saver even if the bumps are nasty and old.

  • Reply Kathy Fausett July 12, 2018 at 1:26 am

    How long has the bogus theory of vaccines existed?

  • Reply Heyall July 12, 2018 at 5:24 am

    That thumbnail freaked me out a bit…..not gonna lie. 😳

  • Reply Nicholas Doe July 12, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Teatree has been the best treatment for my shingles so far. It's not a cure, it doesn't address the cause of course, but it seems to help the breakout go away much quicker compared to when untreated.

  • Reply The Artificial Society July 12, 2018 at 9:31 am

    All of these antibacterial or antifungal agents are a bad idea as it just creates drug resistant strains anyways. They damage the good bacteria. The foot fungus needs moisture so wear very breathable shoes, clean socks.

  • Reply mele host July 12, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Another trick is low ingredient level. 5% may not be enough, or could be affected by the cream base ingredients?

  • Reply Knigh7z July 12, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Thoughts on tea tree oil as an endocrine disruptor?

  • Reply eder corrales July 12, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Wow I was just wondering about this earlier this week. I was recommended tea tree oil to soften my hair and moisturize my scalp to prevent dandruff.

    Awesome video Dr. Gregor!

  • Reply Narrow Gate July 13, 2018 at 6:22 am

    5% creams? I use full strength. The studies needed to be used full strength.

  • Reply A Random YouTuber July 13, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Dr. Greger, these recent videos on dandruff and athlete's foot seem to be somewhat inconclusive. In your other video, you mention the non-English study that found a correlation between low circulation, and the fungus responsible for athlete's foot. Could the same be said for dandruff (i.e., an underlying health condition)?

    I am not surprised that the scientific literature is suggesting athlete's foot may be more than just fungus. Now that I think about it, the times that I've had issues with it were times that I was quite stagnant in my day to day. Regarding dandruff though, what is the cause and treatment for it? Thanks! Keep up the good work.

  • Reply PC Gaming July 14, 2018 at 2:58 am

    Try apple cider vinegar, it's antifungal don't use shampoo after , it will hurt the first time you apply it use a brush to remove the flakes.

  • Reply 47retta July 14, 2018 at 3:26 am

    There is a lot of fraud in the essential oil business.You have to make sure you are getting a pure unadulterated product.

  • Reply miloradvlaovic July 14, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    It's quite puzzling; how is it that a topically applied treatment works in vitro, but not in vivo. Side note: I've gotten rid of what I presumed was oral trush before, by using a water solution of the Tea tree essential oil. Toothpaste and tongue scraping helped a lot, but it only went away completely when I used the Tea tree oil solution.

  • Reply T. L. Chivz July 15, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I haven't tried tea tree but when I used to have dandruff I got rid of it within a fortnight with magnesium oil rubbed into my scalp twice a day. Haven't had athletes foot so don't know if it would work on that but for dandruff it worked very well for me and has never returned. If tea tree isn't working for you you might give it a go – we're all different and what works for one may be a dud for others so….

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