Cedarwood essential oil is a substance derived from the needles, leaves, bark, and berries of cedar trees. There are many varieties of cedar trees found around the world. Some trees referred to as cedars are actually juniper trees. Both are evergreen conifers.

This essential oil can be extracted via several techniques, including steam distillation, carbon dioxide distillation, and cold pressing. While it can be purchased on its own, it’s also used as an ingredient in products like insect repellent, cologne, shampoo, and deodorant.

Cedarwood oil and its components have been analyzed in animal and human studies for potential health and beauty benefits. The components found in cedarwood oil include cedrine, cedrol, and thujopsene. These may have the following properties:

The tree from which the oil is derived determines its composition, which can affect the oil’s usefulness for specific conditions.

Cedarwood oil for hair loss

Alopecia areata is a disease that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss. Cedarwood is one of several essential oils that may improve hair growth.

A small 1998 study reported in Archives of Dermatology indicated that people with alopecia areata experienced significant hair growth when given a daily scalp massage of cedarwood, thyme, rosemary, and lavender essential oils, along with a carrier oil. This mixture was applied directly to the scalp for a seven-month period.

Cedarwood oil for scalp conditions

Massaging your scalp with a mixture of cedarwood oil and a carrier oil may also help reduce and soothe an itchy, flaking scalp. This may make it beneficial for treating dandruff and scalp eczema.

You can also try adding four to five drops of cedarwood oil directly into your shampoo or conditioner.

Cedarwood oil for skin

Cedarwood oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. This may make it beneficial for skin conditions like acne.

One case study indicated that the addition of cedarwood oil to traditional acne treatments was helpful for alleviating and reducing stubborn breakouts. This finding is backed up by anecdotal evidence.

Try using cedarwood oil as an acne treatment by adding two or three drops to 5 teaspoons of a noncomedogenic carrier oil and applying it to your skin for 20 minutes once or twice a week. You can also add a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to a facial scrub. Make sure to do a patch test first to ensure that you don’t have an allergic reaction.

Cedarwood oil may also be beneficial for other skin conditions. For example, it may reduce the appearance of scars, treat minor wounds, alleviate arthritis pain, and sooth symptoms of eczema.

Cedarwood essential oil for sleep

When used as an aromatherapy treatment, cedarwood oil may have sedative qualities, making it beneficial for alleviating occasional insomnia. Try using cedarwood oil as an aromatherapy treatment or add a few drops to a hot bath prior to going to bed.

Cedarwood oil for anxiety

According to an animal study reported in Physiology and Behavior, the cedrol in cedarwood oil may have a soothing effect on mood, making it beneficial for anxiety, and reducing stress.

There are a number of ways to use cedarwood essential oil. These include:

Cedarwood oil as an aromatherapy treatment

Try inhaling cedarwood essential oil directly from the bottle, or sprinkling a small amount on a towel or cloth and placing that under your pillow.

You can also add cedarwood oil to an atomizer bottle and spray it on dried flowers or a lightbulb to gently scent your home.

Try mixing cedarwood oil with other soothing scents, such as lavender.

Cedarwood oil as a cologne

The soothing, woodsy scent of cedarwood oil has made it a popular ingredient in colognes and aftershaves.

If you wish to use cedarwood essential oil as your personal fragrance, dot diluted oil gently behind your ears, or on your wrists or underarms. You can also add a few drops to products you currently use.

Cedarwood oil as a treatment for acne

Try using cedarwood oil as a spot treatment on pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. Dilute the oil, apply it to your skin using a swab or cotton ball, and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.

You can also add cedarwood oil to commercially prepared treatments, such as creams and some astringents.

Cedarwood oil as a flea and moth repellent

Topically applied, cedarwood oil helps repel fleas, ticks, and moths from fabric, people, and pets. Be sure to dilute the oil if you are applying it to your skin or using it on your pet. As well, keep in mind that some essential oils are dangerous for pets. Make sure to check with a veterinarian prior to using it on your cat, dog, or other animal.

Cedarwood oil hasn’t been shown to be effective at repelling mosquitoes.

Other topical uses for cedarwood oil

Cedarwood oil can be mixed with a carrier oil and used for scalp and skin massage. It can also be added to facial masks and scrubs, lotions, and shampoos.

Cedarwood oil is generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Environmental Protective Agency when used topically as an insecticide or food additive. Reports of skin irritation caused by cedarwood oil are rare.

Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying topically. Do a patch test before using the oil to ensure it doesn’t irritate your skin.

Like all essential oils, cedarwood oil can be dangerous if ingested.

Don’t use cedarwood oil if you are allergic to cedar.

Cedarwood essential oil has a woodsy scent. It’s extracted from many varieties of cedar and juniper trees.

Cedarwood oil is relatively safe and has many potential uses. Prevalent among these are its applications for alopecia areata. It may also be beneficial for skin conditions, such as acne.