From acne to psoriasis, chicken pox to ringworm, tea tree oil uses are almost endless. Here’s why this essential oil is a must for every skincare routine.
Nature. What a beautiful thing, right? Besides the fact that it provides us with practically everything we need to survive, its versatility and multipurpose design is simply amazing.
While most plants serve more than one purpose, every now and then you’ll stumble on one with approximately 432 uses, and you wonder how you ever did life without it. This is one of those moments.
Enter: Tea tree oils
Tea tree oil is sourced from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant.
An Australian native, melaleuca is known to have antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and has been used for generations by the indigenous people of southeast Queensland and surrounding areas.
Having a strong, camphor-like scent, this clear, thick oil isn’t exactly famous for its fragrance. However, its potent properties far outweigh what it lacks in aroma.
In fact, this essential oil is one of those “anti-everything bad” substances with nearly endless uses. As such, it’s become a household name in the natural health industry and a must-have ingredient in anyone’s skincare routine.
To understand the benefits of tea tree oils, it helps to first look at its active constituents. The oil’s composition includes:
While this list may look like the makings of a strange alphabet soup, these components are what give tea tree its amazing properties.
Having a drying effect, it treats a variety of skin conditions and irritations, including razor burn, warts, cuts, scars and plenty more. In fact, tea tree oil uses go far beyond the skin:
- Clean household surfaces
- Decrease foot odor
- Freshen laundry
- Remove makeup
- Eliminate mold
- Repel insects
- Soften dry cuticles
To say tea tree has never met a problem it couldn’t solve may be exaggerating a little – but not much.
The benefits of tea tree for acne are two-fold. Being naturally antiseptic, it combats active infections as well or better than prescription treatments. Not only that, it helps reduce scarring once the outbreak clears.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, it is also an effective treatment for eczema, working to heal the skin and reduce risk of infection.
As an anti-fungal, you can clear ringworm by applying it to the affected area 2-3 times a day. You can also apply it directly to cold sores and chickenpox blisters, both of which are caused by viruses in the herpes family.
There are even anecdotal reports of using tea tree oils to combat genital herpes. If applied at the first show of symptoms, it’s believed to decrease healing time and reduce the frequency of future outbreaks.
Ideally, tea tree should be organic and packaged in dark brown glass bottles. Buying organic will protect you against side effects associated with herbicides and similar chemicals.
As for dark-colored containers, parts of the oil can oxidize and become useless when exposed to light. Such exposure can also increase a hydrocarbon called para-cymene, which is a known skin irritant. Dark bottles protect against these things.
You may also want to look for oil with a high concentration of terpinen-4-ol. It’s one of the more significant constituents in tea tree oils, and a higher concentration means a more effective solution.
Typical concentrations range from 10-40%. If you’re buying a product infused with tea tree oils, look for concentrations in the 5-10% range.
In many cases, tea tree oils can be used without diluting it. If you have sensitive skin, however, it’s best to perform a skin patch test prior to trying it full strength. To dilute, you can mix it with a carrier oil such as olive or jojoba.
Caution: Keep oils away from the eyes and don’t consume it. While friendly to the skin, it’s not so nice to internal tissues when ingested. It can be used as a mouthwash and is often added to toothpaste, but it shouldn’t be swallowed.
Ever wanted to try tea tree oil yourself? Here’s a couple quick recipes to get you started:
- For an excellent eczema-friendly lotion, mix 5 drops tea tree with 1 tsp coconut oil and 5 drops of lavender oil.
- For a DIY acne face wash, mix 5 drops of tea tree with raw honey. Rub on, let sit for 1 minute and rinse.
Tea tree oil benefits and uses are many. You can think of it as the vinegar of the oil world.
Need help with dandruff? Check. Trying to fight a foot fungus? It’s got you covered. The list could go on and on.
While it may not be feasible to buy a gallon jug of it, it’s certainly worth keeping around the house, whether in its purest form or in specially formulated skincare products.
We think you’ll love the cleanser and cream, and all the benefits that come with using high-quality tea tree oils. Let us know what you think!