I have used tea tree oil for first aid for several years. I only recently figured out that I could use it as part of my skin care routine. Yeah, I’m a bit slow on the take here.
Tea tree oil is made from the Australian Tea Tree, not to be confused with the plant that makes actual tea. This is an essential oil. I never really considered it an essential oil. I just always thought it was an antiseptic. I should have realized that it wasn’t just an antiseptic when I was buying it in the herb and vitamin isle. lol
BIG HUGE DISCLAIMER: This essential oil has not been proven without a doubt to do all the things that people claim it does.
The benefits of tea tree oil is a laundry list that I could easily make 50 different posts. We’ll just go with a short list to make it simple. The ones with a (*) at the end are ways that I have personally used tea tree oil over the years.
- It can be used topically on acne. It is less irritating than benzoyle peroxide for acne treatment. However, it takes longer to work than benzoyle peroxide. It can be used as a spot treatment at full strength or mixed into regular cleanser.*
- It can be used topically to treat skin redness and itching. It must be diluted. Otherwise, it can make the issue worse.*
- It is a natural lice deterrent/treatment. Mix 10-15 drops into shampoo/conditioner for regular mild dosing, apply it directly to the scalp like an oil (especially around the nape of the neck), or put it in a spray bottle of water and mist it directly onto the hair. It is important to dilute the tea tree oil if you are applying it to the scalp.*
- It is a natural flea deterrent for animals. Using the spray bottle method mentioned above, you can spray it onto your pet’s bedding, in their crates, etc. Do not put tea tree oil on your animal, either directly or via a spray or shampoo. They will lick it.*
- It can be used as an antiseptic for burns, cuts, abrasions, insect bites, and boils. It should be diluted with water or olive oil.*
- It can be used for toothaches, mouth sores, and ear aches. For oral issues, dilute 1-2 drops in a mouthwash size cup of water and swish this in the mouth then spit it out. Never swallow it. For ear aches, dilute it with olive oil (1 drop of tea tree oil to 1 tablespoon of olive oil) and drip it into the ear. Tilt your head to let it run back out.*
- It can be added to bath water to treat cough, bronchitis, and other pulmonary inflammations.
- It can be added to laundry detergent as an anti-microbial wash. If you suspect your kids have been exposed to lice or certain bacteria in school, you can wash their bedding, clothes, etc. in this.*
- It can be used as a household cleaner. Mixed with water and vinegar, it can be used to deep clean after a house-wide sickness or for general cleaning. It will kill bacteria, mold, etc. The combined smell of vinegar and tea tree oil is fairly nauseating so mixing in lemon oil or lavender oil can help.*
- It can be used in combination with aloe to sooth sunburn and help increase healing speed.
- When used undiluted, it will burn similar to getting alcohol in a cut.
- Do not swallow this stuff. It can be toxic.
- Do not put it on your animals. They will lick it off and it is toxic to them too.
- For those with sensitive skin, tea tree oil may be an irritant. Do a patch test first.
- This stuff smells very strong. Depending on how much you used, the smell should dissipate in a short amount of time. But if you use it regularly, the smell may begin to linger.
- If you combine this with lavender oil to combat the smell, use caution. There is mounting evidence that these two oils mixed together can cause a hormone imbalance in pre-pubecent children and pregnant/nursing mothers (affecting the baby, not the mother).
Tea tree oil is, quite frankly, awesome. Just use it cautiously. Like all things, this stuff must be used in moderation.