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Tea Tree Oil: Uses for Skin,
Hair and Aromatherapy

Overview of Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree is a wonder oil that does more than treat acne. It has many benefits for haircare and body care too, proving itself to be a potent remedy from head to toe. Read on to find out about the hidden benefits of this powerful oil.

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Pure tea tree essential oil has many beauty benefits. Packed with anti-inflammatory and powerful cleansing properties, it has become a prominent ingredient for skincare, haircare, and even foot care. You’ll find tea tree oil in shampoos, anti-acne creams, serums as well as deodorants.

This powerful plant is a concentrated liquid extracted from the tea tree plant, grown in the Australian outback. Tea Tree oil is traditionally made through distilling the plant Melaleuca alternifolia. However, it can also be extracted through mechanical methods such as cold-pressing. This helps the oil capture the “essence” of the plant’s scent as well as its antiseptic and skin-calming properties for which it is prized.

The plant’s powerful properties have made it a healing remedy used by aboriginal tribes, with many of its benefits linked to healing and purifying the body.

Name Tea Tree Essential Oil
Botanical Name Melaleuca alternifolia
Native to Parts of Australia
Properties Antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, cicatrizant, analgesic, expectorant, sudorific and stimulant
Main ingredients Alpha and beta pinene, sabinene, gamma terpinene, myrcene, alpha-terpinene, 1,8-cineole, para-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, limonene, terpinen-4-ol, alpha phellandrene and alpha-terpineol
Aroma Fresh camphoraceous
Blends well with Nutmeg, cinnamon, geranium, myrrh, marjoram, rosemary, cypress, eucalyptus, Clary sage, thyme, clove, lemon and pine essential oils
Category Herbaceous
Substitute Cinnamon, Rosemary or peppermint essential oils
Benefits & Uses of Tea Tree Essential Oil

16 Tea Tree Oil Benefits

Australian tea tree oil is one of those miracle skincare products. Your friends have probably told you that tea tree oil is good for acne and they’re right! However, this powerful oil can do so much more. Here’s a quick guide to the popular health benefits of tea tree oil.


It Soothes Sensitive & Breakout-prone Skin

Tea tree essential oil helps to heal breakouts, relief from sunburns and soothe your skin. Diluting it with your favourite skincare product or carrier oil transforms it into a remedy for all types of skin issues.


It Keeps Your Hair Fresh

Enjoy good hair days with tea tree essential oil. It purifies the scalp of dandruff and soothes itchy scalps, leaving your head and hair feeling clean after showers.


It Keeps Your Feet Clean & Free From Fungus

Tea tree essential oil cleanses toe fungus and unwanted yeast to combat conditions like athlete's foot.


Treat Ear Infections

Tea tree oil, also known as Melaleuca oil, is safe to use, even in the ear canal. (However, follow the dose to the book.) A few drops of tea tree oil diluted with a carrier oil (including coconut oil or jojoba oil) can be dropped inside the ear to combat ear infections. Why? Because, the oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, that eliminates the bacteria and fungus causing the infections. It also soothes the discomfort and speeds up the healing. It is considered safe for use on children.

(The effectiveness of the oil in treating tinea pedis or Athlete’s foot can be read here.)


It Has Antibacterial Properties

Tea tree is one of the most potent essential oils. It is effective against the activities of bacteria, fungus, and microbes. It grows in tropical regions where people are bothered by these pathogens. And the infections caused by these are dangerous.

A simple example is the wounds that may get infected with bacteria on your skin can be treated or prevented with the oil of tea tree. It is one of its main uses and benefits. Two drops of tea tree oil (of course, not undiluted tea tree oil) is used for treatment. There are advocates of this oil who claim that this oil may be an answer to tuberculosis. However, there is no evidence to support these claims. But, hopefully, there is research going on somewhere.


Oil That Boosts Nutrition Absorption

Tea tree has balsamic properties. What does that mean? It means that the oil has components that has anti-inflammatory properties and lowers cholesterol and improves gut health. These properties help the stomach function properly and increase the uptake of nutrients.


Acne Beating Oil

Skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema and acne can be combated with tea tree oil which has numerous therapeutic properties. Acne is largely due to unregulated oil secretion from the oil glands. These glands are easily inflamed by dirt and bacterial. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil successfully tackle acne.

Research found that the antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil were superior and effective than benzoyl peroxide. And needless to say, the side effects of this organic oil ware lesser. The advantage of the oil is its ability to clear the sebum gland and clear the skin.

A research done in 2017 tried to evaluate the efficacy, tolerability and acceptability of a gel made from tea tree oil and a face wash on facial acne. The severity of acne was mild to moderate. The study was done for a period of 12 weeks with 14 participants. The results showed that the effect of the oil on the acne was positive and it did not cause any problems on the skin. (1)

A comparative study was conducted to find the efficiency of benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil on acne. It was found that 5 percent tea tree oil and 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion had the same effect on acne. The effect of tea tree oil was slower than that of benzoyl peroxide, but tea tree oil being organic, had fewer side effects. Hence, regular use of tea tree oil was more effective in eliminating acne. (2)


Heal in No Time

This oil is also cicatrizant in nature, which means that the oil speeds up the healing process of wounds and prevents infections. Besides healing, the oil also helps to fade the scar marks away. It is applied n the skin to diminish scars due to acne, wounds and burns.


It is an Antimicrobe

Tea tree essential oil is considered to be one of the most potent essential oils that combat microbes. Using this oil regularly can prevent the onslaught of diseases such as malaria, dengue and other diseases that are rampant in tropical climates. Applying a tree oil gel on the body eliminates microbes.


Also an Antiviral

Research has proven that compounds in tea tree oils helps to rupture the cysts of certain viruses thus acting as a shield against these virus attacks. Some of the attacks against which this oil is effective are flu, common cold, lumps, pox and measles. Viral diseases and infections are dangerous as it can be recurring. And viruses survive harsh conditions because of their cysts.


An Expectorant Combating Cold

A runny nose can be frustrating, so can a nose that gets clogged in the middle of the night. Inhaling the aroma of tea tree oil provides relief from respiratory ailments including cold, coughs, congestion of the chest, throat and nasal, and bronchitis. Respiratory ailments can be treated with tea tree oil as it can be applied to the skin after dilution. It can treat mild to moderate conditions.


Oil To Drive Away Insects

It is an insecticide, an organic one with no or fewer side effects. It is an ingredient in insecticide and pesticide, but a natural solution to drive away insects can be prepared with the oil. Tea tree oil may help get rid of mosquitoes and bed lice as well. Make tea tree oil solution and rub it on the abdomen to kill intestinal worms as well.


Used As an Antiseptic

Infections occur in untreated wounds, and it may lead to sepsis or tetanus. The antiseptic properties make tea tree oil an effective way to curb infections. The essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia can be directly used to clean and disinfect the wounds without any side effects. Even large wounds can be disinfected with the oil if medical help is not available.


Get Stimulated With Tea Tree Oil

One of its properties is that it is a stimulant, which effect hormone secretion, digestive system, blood circulation, and lymphatic system. Its uses and benefits are utilized in aromatherapy where its molecules can protect against infections and diseases.


Cleaner Underarms

Tea tree oil solution is used as an ingredient in deodorants as it not only eliminates bad smell, but also the bacteria that cause it. The activity of tea tree oil compounds keeps the body fresh and aromatic.


It Detoxifies the Body

How does the oil detoxify the body? It is a sudorific that causes more perspiration and urination. When the body eliminates water, excess salts and toxins are eliminated as well. This in fact improves the immune system.

Tea Tree Oil Uses

Tea tree is widely used in haircare, skincare and body care because of its versatile and time-tested potency. Depending on how and where you use it, tea tree essential oil can greatly improve your scalp health and skincare routine.

Tea Tree Oil for Skin

A woman is looking for acne

1. Fights Acne, Eczema and Other Skin Issues

Tea tree oil protects your sensitive skin from breakouts with soothing active ingredients, while its antiseptic compounds keep your skin clean. You can read up on the science behind tea tree oil as a popular acne treatment a little further down in this article.

body is suntanned

2. Heals Sunburns & Skin Inflammations

You should also consider packing some tea tree oil for beach trips. It repairs damaged, reddened and sunburnt skin through its anti-inflammatory compounds which calm that stinging sensation you feel from overexposure to sun rays.

More recent pilot studies are also showing that tea tree helps sunburned skin by promoting cell-regeneration, restoring skin back to its original state after application.(3)

skin infection

3. Soothes Minor Insect Bites

The rich antibacterial and antiseptic ingredients in tea tree oil makes it a useful balm for minor insect bites. It’s effective for cleaning out wounds, while the skin-soothing properties help you feel relieved after application. Just make sure you clean your wounds with water before applying this oil.

Dilute and store tea tree oil to a spray bottle to drive away bugs; or take tea tree oil in cream and apply directly on skin.

4. Stops itching

Itching can start due to many reasons. The anti-inflammatory uses and benefits of the oil curbs skin irritation. Tea tree oil gels are available in stores to relieve skin problems. (However, beware of contact dermatitis with the oil.)

5. Get A Natural Skin Glow

Should you delete your camera filter, because with tea tree oil you get a glow that can go straight to Instagram? But, hold that though… about deleting the filter. With tea tree oil comes a glowing skin… the natural way.

Tea Tree Oil for Hair

A girl is listening music

1. Purifies Dandruff & Cleanses Scalps

For dry, itchy and flaky scalps, tea tree is a one-stop remedy that effectively cleanses dandruff, dirt and unwanted buildup that gets into your hair. The natural antibacterial and antifungal properties have made tea tree a choice ingredient in dandruff shampoos across the hair care industry.

A woman is flipping her hair

2. Treats Head Lice

Tea tree does more than treat minor hair conditions. A study in 2006 on tea tree and lice has shown that tea tree oil could kill 100% of lice in under 30 minutes. It also prevents lice from maturing fully.(4). Washing your hair with tea tree might be the secret to preventing a licey (dicey) hair condition!

3. Beat Dead Skin

Applying a small amount of tea tree oil on the scalp removes chemicals and dead skin from the scalp. It keeps the scalp moisturized. These dual activities help the hair grow as the nourishment now reaches the roots. Tea tree oil shampoo is available that can be used for this purpose. Or a blend containing tea tree oil and lavender oil can also be used.

4. Removes Unwanted Hair

Hirsutism is a condition affecting women. In this condition thick dark hair grows on body parts including lips, chest and back. Research showed that applying lavender and tea tree oils helps thin these hairs. This has the potential of reducing hirsutism.

5. Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis

Tea tree oil’s antifungal properties may be effective in reducing the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis. Symptoms such as scaly patches, itching and greasiness are eliminated or mitigated with the use of the oil. The oil also has a soothing effect on the scalp. Mixture of tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and coconut oil is good choice for treating the scalp.

The therapy of fungal infections on the skin, seborrheic dermatitis and mucous membranes are due to the antifungal properties of the oil. Don’t believe us? Here’s the research from University of Leipzig, Germany, titled “Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) against pathogenic fungi in vitro” that proves it.(5)

How To Use Tea Tree Oil?

You should always apply tea tree oil according to what your skin needs. Applying it daily is a good strategy to allow your skin to heal gradually and to keep your skin free from breakout-causing bacteria. However, if your skin begins to feel irritated or uncomfortable we recommend you stop applying tea tree for a few days.

The most popular way to experience the full benefits of tea tree essential oil is through topical application. Many people apply it on the skin or hair to enjoy its rich benefits, or add a few drops to your chosen skin care or hair care product. To cleanse and purify your hair, we recommend adding 2-3 drops of essential oil for every tablespoon of shampoo..

Tea Tree Oil for Acne and Pimples

Tea tree is a good acne treatment because of their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Clinical studies on tea tree have shown that participants who used tea trees to cleanse their skin experienced fewer breakouts due to its natural anti-inflammatories. Studies also show that tea tree oil prevents other serious skin conditions like eczema, dry skin, peeling skin, acne vulgaris and more.

Tea Tree Oil for Hair and Scalp

Nothing is more frustrating than feeling fresh and clean on date night, only to realize your little black dress is speckled with white! It’s not just a nuisance, but dandruff can also affect our self-esteem and self-confidence.

If you’re prone to flaky scalps and want to be rid of them, try tea tree oil for your hair. Tea tree oil is a trusted and powerful antiseptic that’s been known to purify the scalp of dandruff for good. It also naturally soothes itchy scalps that often accompany more serious dandruff conditions.

Tea Tree Oil for Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is an unpleasant condition whereby nails become discolored from infection. Yeast or germs slowly spread under the toe, causing it to become unhealthy and crumbly if left unchecked.

Thankfully this problem can be efficiently resolved with antiseptics like tea tree essential oil. Tea tree oil can easily get under nails and purify unwanted yeast, infections and bacteria when applied consistently. It’s no wonder tea tree oil is also a common cure for issues like athlete's foot, which occurs when your foot stays moist and sweaty from wearing sweaty footwear for too long. To use tea tree oil to combat toe fungus, simply use a cotton swab to apply diluted tea tree oil to the infected part.

A Comprehensive Study On Tea Tree Oil

A comprehensive and exhaustive study was done on the uses, benefits, aroma and ingredients of the tea tree essential oil. The oil extracted from the plant Melaleuca alternifolia, native to Australia has been at the forefront of complementary and alternative medicines. The research by C. F. Carson, K. A. Hammer, and T. V. Riley published in 2006 is still a must-read for those looking to lean a lot more about the oil, also called as the Melaleuca oil. The research researched into in vitro data and concluded that the oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The authors suggested the need for more randomized trials to collect concrete clinical evidence so that this and others oils may soon be alternatives to antibiotics. (6)

a woman's feet

Safety with Tea Tree Essential Oil

Essential oils are great for self-care routines. However, we should also take care and follow caution when using them to keep ourselves and loved ones safe from its side effects. Generally essential oils are safe, but a few guidelines must be followed to avoid any adverse effects. Also, the oils are different, made up of different compounds. Some people may be allergic to certain compounds while others may be allergic to others. Concentrated oil must be bought after careful deliberation. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

  1. Read the label and instructions to make sure you’re using the oil correctly.
  2. While buying essential oils be wary of the terms fragrance oil, perfume oil and natural identical oil.
  3. The term pure essential oil can be widely seen on the bottles. These maybe made from substandard sources.
  4. Ensure that you are not allergic to any ingredients or compounds in the oil.
  5. Make sure to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil for safe application.
  6. Do not add too much of the oil in the diffuser.
  7. Avoid using essential oils of sensitive areas like the eyes and nose.
  8. Don’t apply it on broken skin either unless it’s mentioned on the bottle or label.
  9. Keep it out of reach of kids and fur kids.
  10. Do not diffuse the oil near kids and pets. Consult a doctor before doing so.
  11. Some oils may make you sensitive to sun damage, so be sure to load up on SPF.
  12. Check the label to see if the oil is photo-toxic.
  13. The oil may cause embryotoxicity; consult a doctor before use.
  14. Always do a small patch test before topical application.
  15. If aromatherapy is performed directly from the bottle, make sure that the oil does not touch the skin.
  16. The common unwanted effects caused by essential oils up on topical application are rashes, redness and swelling.
  17. If you show signs of irritation, stop use and consult a health professional.
  18. Some essential oils cannot be used by people with kidney problems, whereas some essential oils cannot be used by those with blood disorders. It is always advisable to consult a doctor about your essential oil needs and predisposition for diseases.

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