6 Benefits and 4 Uses of Tea Tree Oil for Skin

Tea tree oil has its origins in Australia where it has been used widely for the past 100 years. The essential oil originates from a plant native to Australia called the Melaleuca alternifolia. Many studies were undertaken to prove the various uses for tea tree oil. It has been shown to be effective at obliterating various strains of fungi, bacteria and viruses. Tea tree oil is used in many products from household cleaners and air purifiers to dermalogical ones.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Skin

1. Acne Treatments

The powerful antiseptic property of tea tree oil makes it perfect for use in topical products in the treatment of acne. A clinical study found that tea tree oil was as effective as the chemical benzoyl peroxide but without the red and peeling skin, so often experienced with the use of benzoyl peroxide. A great acne wash you can make at home: 5 drops of unadulterated tea tree oil mixed with 2 teaspoons of honey, gently rubbed into the face and left on for about one minute. The face can be washed off and dried gently after the minute.

2. Treatment for Skin Fungal Infections

Certain skin infections like ringworm and athletes foot which are caused by fungi are highly susceptible to eradication by tea tree oil due to its knack for killing off fungus. Place undiluted tea tree oil onto the affected area with a cotton bud or swab. Another option is to mix the tea tree oil with some oregano oil, another anti-fungal. Human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes warts is known to susceptible to tea tree oil as well. A direct once or twice daily application of tea tree oil for about a month should be effective at removing the wart completely.

3. Cuts and Skin Infections

Potential infections from cuts can be warded off with a combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil. After the cut is cleaned thoroughly with water and, if required, some hydrogen peroxide, apply the mixture onto the cut and cover with an appropriate dressing. Studies have been done confirming the effectiveness of tea tree oil for skin infections in killing specific bacteria like staphylococcus and MRSA.

4. Masking Body or Foot Odor

Body odor is often caused by bacteria found on the skin. The antimicrobial action of tea tree oil is very effective at killing those bacteria and minimizing the odor. To make home-produced deodorant: mix tea tree oil with some coconut oil and baking soda and apply to skin. Foul-smelling sport shoes can be treated with a few drops of tea tree oil together with lemon oil to eliminate the bad odor.

5. Skin Cancer

Some malignant skin lesions can be treated with a combination of tea tree oil and frankincense oil. Both of these oils have shown promising effects on cancer cells. A mixture of raspberry seed, tea tree and frankincense oils can be applied to the skin lesion three times daily.

6. Other Skin Conditions

Tea tree oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties which makes it ideal to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.The anti-inflammatory effects minimize the pain and inflammation of insect bites. Tea tree oil is a potent antimicrobial, killing off the bacteria that causes painful boils and the virus that causes cold sores.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Skin Conditions

1. For Acne

Use a cotton swab or bud to apply the essential oil directly to the pimple. This can be left overnight or a few hours then washed off thoroughly. Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of tea tree oil with either honey or aloe vera and apply to pimples.

A good homemade facial mask: 125ml plain yoghurt mixed with about 5 drops of tea tree oil. This mask can be applied to the face and left on for about 20 minutes. Wash the face thoroughly after the 20 minutes have elapsed. For acne occurring other areas of the body like the back, tea tree oil can be added to your bath water. Commercially, you may find a 5% tea tree gel available with a suitable applicator.

2. For Insect Bites

The essential oil can be applied directly to bites to reduce inflammation. To prevent bites, apply diluted tea tree oil to the exposed skin. Avoid applying too much tea tree oil onto the face and avoid getting the oil into your eyes.

3. For Fungal Nail Infections

Apply a 100% solution of tea tree oil twice daily to the affected area for about six months. Considerable improvement in the nail appearance and symptoms is seen in about 60% of people who use this treatment option.

4. For Athletes Foot

The inflammation, burning and itching of this fungal foot infection is relieved by a 25%-50% cream containing tea tree oil. This has been found to clear up the infection in about 50% of people who have tried it for four weeks.

Tea tree oil can be also used for many other skin problems. Learn how to relieve cold sores and skin tags using tea tree oil. 

Precautions for Using Tea Tree Oil for Skin

  • Tea tree oil has been known to cause some redness, burning and dryness to skin after application in some people.
  • Prepubescent boys should avoid using tea tree oil with lavender oil. These essential oils are believed to affect the hormones of growing boys. The effects of these oils are not known in the development of girls.
  • Tea tree oil should not be ingested by mouth. There have been reported side effects of coma, skin rash and confusion after tea tree oil was taken by mouth.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the essential oil is most probably safe for topical application but not to be taken by mouth.
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