Tea tree oil is one of the most extensively researched of all essential oils. Produced from a shrub-like tree known as Melaleuca in Australia, according to the University of Sydney, native aboriginals are believed to have taken advantage of its many healing benefits to treat skin conditions for thousands of years before chemist Arthur Penfold discovered its powerful antiseptic properties back in the 1920s.
Today, tea tree oil is renowned for its practically endless number of uses, particularly for the skin. It’s become an increasingly popular active ingredient in a wide variety of cosmetic products like skin and nail creams, massage oils and face wash, thanks to not only its natural antiseptic action but its potent anti-inflammatory abilities.
There is no doubt that this oil is one that should be on the shelves of all medicine cabinets. In many cases, doctors of functional medicine will even prescribe this oil as an alternative to conventional medications as it’s just as effective, yet doesn’t come with the adverse side effects.
Which Tea Tree Oil Is Best?
Many lotions, creams, and moisturizers contain a small dilution of tea tree oil, but for best results, it is recommended you invest in a bottle of 100% pure tea tree oil, such as this bottle of Plant Therapy Tea Tree Oil.
Tea tree oil is regarded as one of the safer essential oils for use on skin and in some instances can be used undiluted in very small quantities. First, perform a skin patch test. To be on the safe side, it is always better to dilute in a carrier oil, such as coconut, almond or jojoba oil.
10 Tea Tree Oil Benefits For Your Skin
1. Treating Acne and Blemishes
Tea tree oil contains strong antibacterial and antifungal compounds that are known to reduce inflammation that can lead to swelling of the skin. A study conducted by the Department of Dermatology at Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital found that when comparing the effectiveness of tea tree oil to benzoyl peroxide (a common acne medication) that “5% tea-tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide had a significant effect in ameliorating the patients’ acne.”
Other research, from the Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center at Iran’s Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, showed that tea tree oil was effective for mild to moderate acne. In the study, sufferers were divided into one group, one of which was treated with a placebo and the other with tea tree oil.
The patients were followed for 45 days, with checks at 15-day intervals. The results showed a dramatic difference between those who took the placebo and those who received tea tree oil, in fact, the oil was 5.8 times more effective when it came to overall acne severity.
All you need is a tiny amount of this powerful oil to penetrate the skin and unblock sebaceous glands. It will dry out whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and other blemishes, as well as disinfect the pores too.
Keep in mind that using 100% pure tea tree oil (such as this Plant Therapy Tea Tree Oil) is a must. Don’t be fooled into using a product that contains it, as it’s generally a very small amount. With pure oil, you’ll just need to mix a few drops with a teaspoon of witch hazel and apply the concoction to affected areas of the skin using a cotton ball once or twice a day.
It can be left on for several hours, or as long as overnight. If you’re suffering from breakouts across your body, add a couple of drops of the oil diluted in a carrier oil to a bath, and it will help to clear up acne from your back, chest and other problem areas.
If you have very sensitive skin, adding a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil to tea tree oil is the way to go, due to its high potency. Be careful not to overuse it – while it is more gentle than benzoyl peroxide, it can also dry out the skin which triggers the body to overproduce its own oils and ultimately make things worse.
And, as tea tree oil can make you more sensitive to the UV rays of the sun, be sure to use protection, including a hat and sunscreen, before going outside.
Unfortunately, even when acne heals, it can leave behind difficult to remove scars that can be just as problematic as the original blemishes. But, there is good news – If you have acne scars, tea tree oil can help address that too. Don’t turn to pricey commercial creams that claim to erase them, as they’re not only expensive, they’re often ineffective and filled with chemicals that can cause further damage to the skin.
Tea tree oil lightens those scars and also helps to restore the skin’s natural oil balance. Plus, it’s able to penetrate deeply into the pores to remove toxins and prevent clogging that can cause acne and blemishes in the first place. An especially effective recipe for eliminating scars with the oil is to combine a tablespoon of raw honey with two drops of tea tree oil.
- Apply it to clean skin and massage it in for several minutes.
- Allow it to remain for about 20 minutes, or until thoroughly dry.
- Afterward, rinse with cool water and gently pat dry.
By repeating this process daily, you’ll see those scars start to fade.
2. Relieving Psoriasis
Psoriasis, which is characterized by red, scaly and sometimes inflamed areas of the skin. It occurs when dead skin cells begin to build up on the surface of the skin, appearing in the form of thick silvery scales or red, dry and itchy patches that can be painful and cause irritation.
While it has no cure, the discomfort can be eased by using tea tree oil, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, and it may also help speed healing.
Tea tree oil is effective as it helps to remove those dry and dead skin cells that cause psoriasis. It’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties are what works to relieve itching, redness, and burning.
It also helps control the overproduction of skin cells and contains terpinen 4, a compound known to offer relief to the condition as well, while penetrating deep into the layers of the skin to diminish psoriasis scars as well.
- To use it to treat psoriasis, combine 10 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil.
- Apply just enough to cover the affected area.
- Repeat two to three times each day.
Eczema can be a very frustrating problem, as a persistent skin condition that can result in a severe rash, dryness, itching and even blistering, as well as the constant urge to scratch – in some cases it’s so bad that it becomes difficult to sleep.
Tea tree oil’s antiseptic properties help to soothe the itch and heal the skin while preventing further damage, and its anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation too. If an infection develops, the oil’s antibacterial compounds can fight off the infection and prevent spreading.
- To heal eczema, mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with a half-cup of coconut oil.
- Gently rub the mixture onto affected areas twice each day. If you’re suffering from eczema in various places throughout your body, you may also want to take a tea tree oil bath for relief.
- Add 15 drops of tea tree oil diluted in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or almond oil to the water and soak for about 20 minutes.
4. Cuts and Infections
If you have a cut or an infection, tea tree oil combined with lavender essential oil makes an ideal homemade ointment.
- First be sure to clean the cut thoroughly, using water and hydrogen peroxide.
- Afterward, dilute two drops tea tree and lavender oil in jojoba oil, apply on the area and cover it up with a bandage to prevent infection.
5. Razor Burn Relief
A razor burn isn’t just unsightly; it can be rather uncomfortable or even painful if you don’t address it. By applying a small amount to the area, it works as a natural astringent similar to witch hazel for alleviating irritation from shaving.
- After you shave, add several drops of tea tree oil to two teaspoons witch hazel, apply onto a cotton ball and apply to the areas of the skin prone to razor burn, and you’ll enjoy a soothing sensation.
6. Get Rid of Athlete’s Foot
You can make your own homemade athlete’s foot powder using tea tree oil, arrowroot powder, and baking soda. Arrowroot powder is derived from the rhizome of some tropical plants and helps to battle foot odor while offering a moisture absorbing base for the powder.
The moisture absorbing part is crucial, as the fungus that causes this condition thrives in damp, moist places like those sweaty shoes. The baking soda also serves to address the odor, sweating, and soothe any itch that occurs. Of course, tea tree oil is the star in this powerful recipe, with the ability to battle the actual fungus itself, as well as inhibit its capacity to replicate.
- To make it, you’ll need a shaker (you can buy one or re-purpose a parmesan cheese shaker).
- Add a quarter cup of arrowroot powder, a quarter cup of baking soda, and 20 drops of tea tree oil to a bowl. Try to spread out the droplets of the oil throughout the powder the best you can.
- You can use a fork to break down any lumps, and then add the powder to your shaker.
- To use, rinse your feet first and gently pat dry, then apply the powder, using clean hands to spread it evenly.
- Do this at least twice each day. After use, store your shaker in a cool, dark place.
7. Makeup Remover
Tea tree oil is a great ingredient in a natural makeup remover too. Mix a quarter cup of extra-virgin olive oil with 10 drops tea tree oil in a 4-ounce glass jar with a lid. Shake until well blended and then store in a cool, dark place when not in use.
- To remove your makeup, saturate a cotton ball with the solution and then just sweep over your face.
- Rinse with warm water.
Tea tree oil is even effective for fighting a staph infection, including those that are resistant to antibiotics. Just dab some tea tree diluted in almond oil onto a cotton ball and apply to boils several times a day.
Tea tree oil comes to the rescue once again for getting rid of warts as it contains antiviral and antiseptic properties that fight against the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 million Americans carry some form of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which may cause them to form on the hands, feet or genitals.
Warts aren’t normally painful, but they are unsightly and embarrassing. By applying the oil, it will halt the infection and the development of fungi and bacteria to reduce inflammation, redness, and irritation. As it contains a powerful antimicrobial known as terpinen-4, it actually attacks HPV causing warts. It will stop their growth and dry them out, so they’ll naturally fall off.
- To use tea tree oil to fight warts, first, wash your hands and the area around the wart thoroughly.
- Then, apply a drop of pure tea tree oil to the wart.
- Place a bandage over it and leave it on for at least eight hours, or ideally, overnight.
- In the morning, remove the bandage and clean the area.
- Repeat the process, placing a fresh bandage on at night again.
- Continue to follow this process until the wart disappears or falls off, typically anywhere between one and four weeks.
10. Soothe Chicken Pox and Fade Scars
While there are vaccinations for chickenpox these days, it hasn’t gone away completely, and it can be one of the worst illnesses to contract, due to the intense itching it causes. That itching can also lead to the scarring of the skin. To help relieve the itch caused by chickenpox, taking a warm bath with tea tree oil is often recommended.
- To use it for this purpose, add 5 drops of tea tree oil diluted in a carrier oil under the running water when filling a bath, and once full, soak for at least 20 minutes.