Tea tree oil is derived from leaves of tea tree. The tea tree we are talking here is different from the unrelated common tea plant that is used to make black and green teas. The tea tree was named as such because the eighteenth century sailors made tea that smelled like nutmeg from the leaves of a kind of trees that were grown on the swampy southeast Australian coast. Aboriginal tribes in Australia have known of the tea tree’s healing properties for thousands of years. They boiled leaves of the tea tree to make tea and antiseptic poultices that treated cuts, wounds, and skin infections. In recent times, tea tree oil has become a widespread natural ingredient in all kinds of shampoos, face soaps and ointments because of its amazing healing powers.
Tea tree oil has potent anti-viral and anti-fungal properties and you can apply it topically onto the skin for a number of skin conditions like acne, fungal infections of the nails, lice, scabies, athlete’s foot and ringworm. When it’s applied topically, it acts as a local antiseptic for cuts, abrasions, burns, insect-bites, stings, boils and many other infections and moreover it can heal your skin.
Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil For Skin And Hair
There are number of ways to use tea tree oil on face, skin and hair.
Tea Tree Oil To Clear Acne
Tea tree oil can be used to treat acne. As per one Australian research study, applying a 5% tea tree oil solution or gel appears to be as effective as the top drugstore acne remedy, namely, 5% benzoyl peroxide (Oxy-5,Benzac AC, and others) for treating acne. Tea tree oil might work more slowly than benzoyl peroxide, but people find it less irritating to facial skin and without negative side effects like redness and peeling. When applied twice daily for 45 days, tea tree oil cures several acne symptoms.
How To Use Tea Tree Oil For Acne
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with 20 to 40 drops of witch hazel, and apply to the skin once or twice a day using a clean cotton ball.
(i) Make sure not to overuse it. Although, it’s a little milder as compared to benzoyl peroxide but tea tree oil tends to dry out skin, so can prompt your body to overproduce its own oils and make your acne worse.
(ii) If you apply it to your skin during daytime, stay out of the sun, as tea tree oil can cause your skin to be more sensitive to UV rays.
Tea Tree Oil To Remove Makeup
Tea tree oil has bacteria fighting properties. So, it can be mixed with melted coconut oil to create a serum-like texture to form an effective make-up remover.
For normal to dry skin, try mixing 1/4 cup of canola oil with 8-10 drops of tea tree oil in a 4-ounce sterilized glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until blended thoroughly. Store the mixture in a cool, dark place. To use, first shake the jar, saturate a cotton pad with the oil and sweep over your face to remove makeup. Rinse well with warm water and follow with a toner.
Tea Tree Oil To Soften Dry Cuticles
The essential oils used in this rich, softening blend help to treat cracked and ragged cuticles. Whereas tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties to fight fungus, lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. You can also use avocado and jojoba essential oils as they have hydrating and softening properties. All these essential oils can be bought from a health food store or online. Otherwise you can substitute olive oil for either or both of avocado and jojoba essential oils.
Cuticles Softening Blend: Mix 1 tablespoon each of jojoba oil and avocado oil and pour this mixture into a small, dark-colored glass bottle with a cap, which will help preserve the oils. Add in 10 drops each of tea tree essential oil and lavender essential oil, screw on the cap and shake the bottle to combine the ingredients completely. Store the mixture in a cool, dark place. Before using the cuticle oil, shake the bottle well, and then massage a few drops onto your nails and cuticles daily to soften your cuticles and prevent them from splitting.
Tea Tree Oil To Relieve Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)
Tea tree oil is an effective over-the-counter remedy for athlete’s foot for relieving burning, itching, inflammation, and scaling.
Use a 10% tea tree oil cream as it works as effective as a tolnaftate 1% cream (Genaspor, Tinactine, Ting, and others) for treating symptoms of athlete’s foot, including scaling, inflammation, itching, and burning. But the 10% tea tree oil cream is not as much effective to cure infection, for which you would need a stronger tea tree oil solution (25% or 50%). Topical application of 25% or 50% tea tree oil solution seems to be helpful for both relieving symptoms and clear up the infection in most of the patients who try it for about a month. But for faster treatment you should consult a doctor, as 25% or 50% tea tree oil concentrations do not work as effective as medications.
Another treatment for Athlete’s foot is to mix in a few drops of tea tree oil with a tablespoon of witch hazel and apply to the affected area with a cotton ball 3 times a day.
Caution: Tea tree oil may cause dermatitis (skin inflammation) in some people, so use sparingly the first time and discontinue its use if rashes develop.
Tea Tree Oil To Cure Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis)
According to a research study, topical application of 100% tea tree oil to nail fungus for at least 3 months did as well at exterminating it as did those using prescription an anti-fungal cream – almost 60 percent of both groups completely or partially got rid of their symptoms. To treat the infected nails, apply a drop or two of 100% tea tree oil solution to the discolored nails, twice daily for six months. Tea tree oil can also improve nail appearance and symptoms in about 56% of patients after 3 months and 60% of patients after 6 months of treatment.
Tip: Lower concentrations of tea tree oil are not much effective to toenail fungus. For example, it has been seen that a 5% tea tree oil cream applied 3 times daily for 2 months did not benefit much.
Caution: While applying tea tree oil to the infected nails, make sure it does not go on to the skin because undiluted tea tree oil can irritate your skin.
Tea Tree Oil To Treat Head Lice And Dandruff
(i) Mix 1-drop of tea tree oil with 30 ml of your favourite shampoo to make an effective remedy against dandruff and head lice. Alternatively, use tea tree oil directly onto your scalp and then shampoo your hair as you would do normally.
(ii) Another way is to rinse your hair with warm water mixed with 2 drops of tea tree oil to prevent head lice and dandruff.
Tea Tree Oil Dosing
As per a study, following doses have been effective for topical application on the skin:
(i) For nail fungus (onychomycosis): 100% tea tree oil solution applied twice in a day for 6 months.
(ii) For athlete’s foot (tinea pedis): 25% or 50% tea tree oil solution applied 2 times in a day for 1 month.
(iii) For acne: 5% tea tree oil gel applied every day.
Is Tea Tree Oil Safe?
(i) Generally, topical application of tea tree oil on skin is safe for majority of the people, but sometimes it can cause skin irritation and swelling. Also for people having acne, it may sometimes cause skin dryness, itching, stinging, burning, and redness. So, preferably test use it on small skin area before applying it onto your skin.
(ii) Tea tree oil is not safe if taken by mouth. As a general rule never take any undiluted essential oil by mouth due to risk of grave side effects.
From Where You Can Buy Tea Tree Oil?
You don’t need to make it at home. You can buy it now from the local drug stores and online as well.
Useful Related Post: How To Use Tea Tree Oil On Face