If you haven’t jumped on the essential oil band yet, you may reconsider your decision once you discover the fascinating benefits of one of the most popular formulas – tea tree oil. With its natural ability to disinfect, fight acne, and provide a calming scent to your home, this versatile superstar offers many benefits. Here we explore all that tea tree oil is good for and what to consider before incorporating it into your routine.
What is tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Australian native Melaleuca Alternifolia tree through a process of steam distillation, explains Julio Pina, director of R&D innovation at Innovation Labs (iLABS) . âIt is a colorless to pale yellow, clear and mobile liquid with a distinctive aromatic and earthy pine scent,â says Pina.
Today, tea tree oil is commonly found in personal care products and cosmetics, from moisturizers and toners to soaps, shampoos and countless other products. You can also buy tea tree oil on its own, great for adding to a diffuser or mixed with other lotions or serums.
What is tea tree oil used for?
Because tea tree oil has been used and studied for decades, there is plenty of research supporting its benefits. Experts have given an overview of all the uses and benefits of this powerful and effective essential oil.
Tea tree oil can help fight acne.
If you wake up to find a brand new pimple on your chin, you need some remedy to heal it fast. Rather than applying a dot of a drugstore acne killer, consider using a natural solution like tea tree oil. As Pina explains, tea tree oil is beneficial for its antiseptic properties against acne. More specifically, the tea tree is a powerful fighter against the bacteria linked to acne “Propionibacterium”. In fact, one study compared tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide for their ability to treat rashes and found that tea tree oil could reduce inflammation of lesions with irritation. minor. Plus, Pina says it can even help prevent and reduce acne scars for clearer skin.
âTry looking for acne formulations that tackle multiple causes of acne, such as oil control, antibacterial properties, redness reduction, and skin soothing benefits; the formula should work in synergy to get results, âhe says. “Using tea tree oil in a formulation can solve several acne problems.”
RELATED: I struggled with adult acne until I found this charcoal and tea tree oil soap
It can kill bacteria.
If you walk down the cleaning aisle of your local grocery store, you may notice that tea tree oil is an ingredient in some cleaners. Or you can also spot tea tree oil in the medication aisle as part of a cough or cold syrup. This is because tea tree oil has been scientifically proven to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi, according to RenÃ©e Moran, DO, owner of Dr. RenÃ©e Moran Medical Aesthetics & RM Skincare. This makes it a natural hand sanitizer and disinfectant. âBecause of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral properties, it is used universally,â she says.
It’s versatile at home.
The scent is potent, and if you love a home that smells good (and doesn’t), tea tree oil might be just what you need. This musky, pine-like scent offers soothing properties while naturally purifying the air you breathe, says Kelly Kussman, fragrance expert and founder of Cayla Gray. Kussman says the aroma of tea tree oil is fresh, timeless, delicate and powerful. She recommends using it in a diffuser and as a way to repel mosquitoes, get rid of unpleasant odors, and revive linens and linens.
It is a soothing treatment for the nails.
If you do frequent manicures and pedicures, consider giving your nails a little healing break. During this break from polish changes, you can use tea tree oil as nail care to treat or prevent yeast infection, recommends Natalie Aguilar, esthetician and nurse dermatologist. After wiping off the old nail polish with acetone, she suggests rubbing tea tree oil on your bare nails and letting them breathe for a day or two before applying new polish. âIt’s also nice to massage the residual oil with a foot moisturizer after a long day,â she says. “Wiping your bare nails with tea tree oil can help prevent the yellowing that occurs with constant polishing.”
It can help treat dandruff.
Although experts say it is difficult to identify a root cause of dandruff, since many factors can be involved, it is generally believed to be related to the presence of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, yeast) that live on the scalp. And because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties, tea tree oil has proven to be a promising anti-dandruff. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that using a shampoo containing 5 percent tea tree oil reduced dandruff in one group by 41 percent, compared to the other group that used a placebo. Participants who used tea tree oil shampoo also reported improvements in the affected area, severity of dandruff, itchy scalp, grease, and flaking.
RELATED: 10 remedies for dry scalp and dandruff at all costs
What to know before using tea tree oil
Never ingest it.
No matter what an Instagrammer or TikToker says, you should never ingest tea tree oil, it can lead to serious symptoms. Also avoid direct contact with your eye area, Pina cautions. Although some people swear by ingesting essential oils, it is considered unsafe practice by most medical professionals. Pina also recommends checking online if a tea tree oil product has undergone the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test (HRIPT), a clinical study performed on humans to determine if a product irritates.
Start small to avoid skin irritation.
If you have difficult pores that tend to burst or turn red when using a new product, be careful with tea tree oil. Aguilar says to start by applying a small dab behind your ear and wrist. Then check these areas after 12 and 24 hours for any signs of irritation or allergies.
If you’re using tea tree oil alone, another option is to dilute the formula in a compatible vehicle, like caprylic / capric triglyceride or castor oil, Pina explains. “The level of dilution will depend on your skin’s tolerance levels, so start with a solution as low as 1% and increase to 5%.”
Store it safely.
Store your solution in an amber glass bottle at room temperature, as tea tree oil is sensitive to air, light, and heat. âIt is recommended that you be careful and extend the shelf life of your solution, including an antioxidant such as vitamin E,â Pina said. “Vitamin E will synergistically enhance the benefits of tea tree oil while serving as a natural antioxidant and soothing agent.”
RELATED: Apple cider vinegar has many brilliant uses, but is it safe for your skin?