Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Natural Living…15 Benefits of Tea Tree Oil {DIY}

Using essential oils for skin, hair, and body health has become increasingly popular. Tea tree oil is one of those oils that seems to show up in many different treatments. So, what are the benefits of tea tree oil that make it such a useful oil? Well, it has many properties that can help treat a variety of issues, from acne to psoriasis. It is also harmless when used topically, so will rarely cause any adverse reactions. To learn about all the benefits this oil has to offer, keep reading!

What is Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is also called Melaleuca alternifolia. It is derived from the Australian tea tree. This tree is found on the Australian east coast, including Queensland and New South Wales. It was first used by the Aborigines of the area, who would use the leaves to treat wounds or infections on the body. They also chewed these leaves and inhaled the oil found in them to reduce the symptoms of coughs and colds.

In the 1920s, those in the U.S. learned about the healing properties of tea tree oil. They used it to treat bacterial infections, due to its antibacterial properties. After the Second World War, tea tree oil use declined. This was due to the effectiveness of the antibiotics available to the people. Then, in the 70s, tea tree oil was back with a vengeance. It was a safe, natural product with few side effects that treated a number of health conditions. Production increased, and the sales of tea tree oil still thrive today.

Why is Tea Tree Oil so Beneficial

tea treeTea tree oil contains many compounds that make it a great treatment for many conditions. The most important is the terpinen-4-ol compound. This gives it its antimicrobial function, which helps to treat wounds and infections. This oil also has antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Together, these functions all contribute to the potency of tea tree oil. They work together to treat many different types of skin conditions and other issues. Regular use of tea tree oil can help your skin heal and stay healthy.

Side Effects of Tea Tree Oil

There are very few side effects of tea tree oil when used topically. Some people may suffer from skin irritation, but this allergic reaction is rare. That’s why it is always best to patch test before you apply the oil over a larger area. If there is any discomfort or irritation, you should discontinue use immediately. If tea tree oil comes into contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth, there may be some burning. Rinse the area immediately to keep the irritation to a minimum.

You should never ingest tea tree oil. It is toxic when swallowed. If you happen to ingest any tea tree oil, seek medical attention. Tea tree oil has also been linked to gynecomastia, or breast growth, in prepubescent boys. This happens only with repeated use, though. Occasional applications should pose no such threat. 

Where to Find Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is quite easy to find these days. You can find it at many health food or herb stores. But many pharmacies also carry it since the demand for natural remedies is so high these days. When purchasing tea tree oil, look for pure 100% tea tree oil. It should not contain any more than 10% cineole, which is an irritant. It should also contain a minimum of 30% terpinen-4-ol, to be sure it has a high antimicrobial content.

Uses of Tea Tree Oil

#1 – Acne:

acne

Tea tree oil has become one of the most common and effective acne treatments available. There is even evidence that it is effective as benzoyl peroxide. The study compared the use of 5% tea tree oil gel and 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion. The results showed that both medications had similar effects on their patient’s acne. The number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions were reduced.

The downside of tea tree oil is that its results were slower to be seen. But there were fewer side effects when compared to those who were given the benzoyl peroxide. This shows that using tea tree oil is much safer on the skin and still gives you the reduced acne you want. Tea tree oil is easy to use, especially since you can make your own face wash at home. All you need to do is mix 5 drops of tea tree oil with 2 teaspoons of honey. The tea tree oil should be pure, diluted by the honey to keep irritation to a minimum. Then gently rub the mixture over your face. Leave it on for about a minute to soak in and treat your acne. Then rinse your face.

#2 – Cuts and Infections:

cuts and infection

Tea tree oil is also a great treatment for minor cuts, scrapes, and infections. Such small injuries don’t seem to be much of a threat, but if left untreated can lead to larger infections. The terpenes in the tea tree oil that gives it its antiseptic properties clean out the wounds. This kills off the bacteria that could lead to infection or fights one off that has already begun to take hold.

There is even evidence that tea tree oil is effective in fighting the MRSA bug. Formally called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, this is a strain of staph bacteria. It is quite resistant to many of the common antibiotics prescribed today. But MRSA is vulnerable to tea tree oil. This oil can also treat and prevent infection in blisters and burns.

To make your own wound treatment at home, you only need a few ingredients. One drop of tea tree oil is the first. Mix it with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Clean your cut or wound with gentle, plain soap and water. Then apply a bit of the mixture to the area and cover it with a bandage. Repeat once or twice each day until the wound has scabbed over.

#3 – Skin Inflammation:

skin inflammation

Tea tree oil can be used to help treat inflamed skin. The most common form of skin inflammation and irritation is called contact dermatitis. This happens when you come in contact with some type of allergen. This can be mild irritation such as redness and itchiness. But it can also be quite painful in some cases. Tea tree oil may help reduce these symptoms, whether mild or quite severe.

As well as allergens, tea tree oil can also help reduce the irritation of insect bites and stings. This is great for those who like to spend their time outside. Mosquitoes and other irritating insects won’t go away. Having a treatment for their bites can be quiet comforting. This is especially true for those little ones who just can’t help but scratch those bites.

To treat inflammation, mix a tablespoon each of extra virgin olive oil and melted coconut oil. Add in 10 drops tea tree oil. Mix it up and then apply it to the inflamed area twice a day. Store the remainder in a clean, sealed container until you need it again.

#4 – Nail Fungus:

toenail fungus

Another of the tea tree oil benefits is as a treatment for toenail fungus. This oil can kill off parasites and the fungal infections that can affect your nails. In fact, tea tree oil on its own can work as well as many of the treatments recommended by doctors or pharmacists. Of course, this cure isn’t instantaneous. You need to apply the tea tree oil twice a day for about 6 months for it to clear up completely. The bright side is that the nail appearance should improve after only 3 months of treatment. So, you won’t have to hide your feet all summer long if you are suffering from this nail issue.

Unlike other tea tree oil treatments, you don’t want to dilute the tea tree oil. It should be 100% pure tea tree oil to ensure it has the antimicrobial strength to fight off the infection. In fact, lower concentrations seem to have little or no benefit after months of use. Just apply the oil with a dropper or cotton swab. Try not to get any of it on your skin since this could cause irritation.

#5 – Athlete’s Foot:

athletes foot

Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis as it’s formally called, is a fungal infection on the feet. It can spread to the toenail and hands as well, making it hard to control. This fungus is also contagious, passing to others if they happen to walk barefoot in the same areas you have. Athlete’s foot is usually treated using antifungal medications prescribed by your doctor. But applying tea tree oil to these areas has shown some favorable results. It heals the redness, peeling, cracking, and blisters that show up on the affected areas.

Of course, it all depends on the concentration you use. Lower ones can help treat the symptoms, but may not be strong enough to clear out the fungus. But a stronger tea tree solution of 25% to 50% may be able to take care of the symptoms and eliminate the fungus. For a natural treatment you can make at home, you only need a few ingredients. Use about 1/4 cup each of arrowroot powder and baking soda. Add in 20-25 drops of tea tree oil. Stir them up. Then apply this solution to your clean, dry feet twice each day.

#6 – Ringworm:

ringworm

Another anti-fungal benefit of tea tree oil is the elimination of ringworm. This is a skin fungal infection which is caused by exposure to the tinea fungus. Like athlete’s foot, ringworm is highly contagious. It can be spread by coming into contact with the infected person. Even animals or items they’ve touched can transfer ringworm to another person. Tea tree oil, with its anti-fungal properties, has shown to be an effective treatment. In the majority of the subjects tested, 64% of them had their ringworm cured after four weeks of treatment. But not only does tea tree oil treat and cure ringworm, it also keeps it from spreading to other hosts.

This treatment is easy to do at home. All you need to do is combine 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil with the carrier oil of your choice. Then apply this solution to any areas affected by ringworm 2 or 3 times each day. You should also make an all-purpose cleanser of tea tree oil, hot water, and apple cider vinegar. Use this to cleanse any items you may have touched while infected with ringworm. This will help to prevent it from spreading any further.

#7 – Warts:

warts

Though warts are rarely painful, they can be ugly to look at. They are also embarrassing since those around you may not want to touch you out of fear of contamination. There is also the fact that a huge number of people carry at least some form of the human papillomavirus. HPV can cause warts to form on various body parts, including the feet, hands, and the genitals.

Because tea tree oil is an antiviral and antiseptic, it can help fight the virus that causes warts. Using this oil can treat the infection, killing off the fungi and the bacteria. It also reduces the inflammation, redness, and irritation that comes with warts. Your warts will stop growing and spreading, and instead will dry up and fall off.

To use tea tree oil on warts, wash your hands and the areas around any warts you need to treat. Place a drop of pure tea tree oil directly onto the wart. Cover it with a bandage and leave it overnight. In the morning, take off the bandage and clean the area again, reapplying the oil and the bandage. Repeat this process until the wart is gone.

#8 – Psoriasis:

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin disease that can affect various parts of your body, including your scalp. It shows up as thick silvery scales most often, but can also be characterized as red, dry, itchy skin. This can be uncomfortable and painful for those who suffer from this condition. It can also be a source of embarrassment because it can be so hard to control.

The terpinen-4-ol in tea tree oil is known to be a potent anti-inflammatory. It also has antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. This could help to relieve the discomfort of psoriasis, reducing the symptoms. Tea tree oil won’t necessarily clear it up, though, so don’t expect it to be a miracle cure. It reduces the inflammation, soothes the redness, and may even reduce the flaking skin.

To make your psoriasis treatment, you only need to mix tea tree oil with coconut oil. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, then add in 10-15 drops of the essential oil. Mix them together and apply them 2 or 3 times each day, depending on your needs.

#9 – Eczema:

eczema

Like psoriasis, eczema can be an ongoing and frustrating skin condition to deal with. It shows up as a severe rash, which can lead to dryness or blistering. It is also quite itchy, causing intense discomfort that can interfere with your life. Many people even have trouble sleeping due to the itchiness of their skin. Because tea tree oil has antiseptic properties, it can help to treat many of the symptoms of eczema. It can help soothe the itch, so you are able to focus on other, more important, things. It can also heal your skin to prevent further damage or scarring.

Because tea tree oil is also an anti-inflammatory, it can reduce inflammation as well. This will increase your comfort level. As an antibacterial, this oil can even fight off any infection and keep eczema from spreading. The treatment of eczema is similar to that of psoriasis. You need to mix a half cup of coconut oil with 20 drops of tea tree oil. Then apply it twice a day, rubbing it into the affected areas. If eczema has spread over larger areas, dilute 15 drops of oil in 2 tablespoons of EVOO and add it to a warm bath. Soak for 20 minutes for overall relief.

#10 – Chicken Pox:

chicken pox

Chickenpox vaccinations are readily available these days. But this doesn’t mean that this virus has been eliminated. And though it usually isn’t life-threatening, it is highly contagious. Chickenpox is also one of the most uncomfortable illnesses to contract. This is because of the intense itching that comes with it. Anyone who has had chickenpox likely has a few scars from the scratching they did. I know I do.

To keep the itching under control, there are a few common methods. The most popular are oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. But these don’t work for everyone. Tea tree oil is becoming quite popular as a treatment to help stop the irritation. It also has the added benefit of reducing the scarring from already popped blisters.

All you need to do is mix 5 drops of tea tree oil with your favorite carrier oil. Then add it to the running water of your bathtub and let it mix in. When the bath is full, climb in and soak yourself for at least 20 minutes. This will give the tea tree oil time to penetrate the pox and relieve the itching. And it smells better than calamine lotion, too.

#11 – Dandruff and Itchy Scalp:

itchy scalp

Those who suffer from an itchy scalp know how irritating it can be. Excessive scratching can cause even more irritation. It could even lead to other issues, like hair loss. The main causes of itchiness in the scalp are fungus or bacteria. It could also be caused by an allergic reaction to something you’re using on your hair and scalp. Your shampoo, conditioner, or styling products could cause such a reaction.

If dandruff accompanies the itching, it can be embarrassing as well as annoying. There are many different shampoos available to help treat dandruff. The downside of these shampoos is that they could contain harsh chemicals to kill off the fungus. This could cause adverse reactions, like increased dryness and irritation.

Tea tree oil has many properties that can help treat all of these issues. In fact, many believe it is a miracle cure for itching and flaking on the scalp. Tea tree oil shampoos are showing up in drugstores everywhere. You don’t have to buy a special one, though. You can make your own at home by mixing tea tree oil with coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and a couple drops of lavender oil.

#12 – Head Lice:

head lice

Anyone with kids in daycare or school knows the fear of hearing about a head lice outbreak. Kids, and even some adults, can bring it home just from sharing a hat or brush with their friends. Having something to deter the head lice from infesting you or your child’s head can be a blessing. Tea tree oil mixed with peppermint oil has been an effective deterrent. It repels the head lice, reducing the chances of an infestation. But if the nasty little bugs have already taken hold, don’t worry. Tea tree oil can take care of them, too. There is evidence that tea tree oil can kill lice in both the nymph and the adult stages of life.

If eggs have already been laid, tea tree oil can even reduce the number that hatch on your child’s head. Tea tree oil also helps with the removal of the nits or eggs. It dissolves the gummy substance that holds them to the hair shaft, so combing them out is easier to do. Since lavender oil is also an insect repellent, it is best to combine it with the tea tree oil for the best results.

#13 – Oral Health:

oral hygiene

Oral health is pretty important, and not just because bad oral health leads to bad breath. If you don’t take care of your teeth and mouth, it could lead to tooth decay and bleeding gums. Those susceptible to fungal or bacterial oral infections need to be extra careful. Tea tree oil, with its antibacterial properties, can keep your mouth extra healthy.

You can use tea tree oil to make an effective toothpaste or mouthwash to treat and prevent all these issues. For the toothpaste, you can add a drop or two of tea tree oil onto your regular toothpaste. You can also make your own toothpaste by mixing the oil with coconut oil and baking soda. Brush with either of these, as usual, taking care not to swallow any.

For the mouthwash, you just need a drop of tea tree oil in a cup of warm water. Mix it up, swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds, and spit it out again. Though the mouthwash helps fight germs, it may not take care of all the plaque, so be sure to brush properly as well. Also, don’t swallow the any of the mouthwash.

#14 – Sore Throat:

sore throat

Sore throats are caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. These are usually also the causes of a cold or flu, which is why sore throats show up during these times. The viruses or bacteria inflame the mucous membranes, which then leads to a sore throat.

Because tea tree oil can kill off the bacteria and viruses, it can be used as a natural treatment. It relieves the pain and reduces any swelling that may come with it. This is especially effective if you start the treatment as soon as you begin to feel the pain in your throat. Even if your cold symptoms start with a sniffle, begin the tea tree oil treatment. This will halt the throat pain even before it starts.

The best way to use tea tree oil for sore throats is by steaming. Boil some water, then add a few drops of tea tree oil to it. Lower your face over the pot. Cover your head with a towel, letting the sides cover the pot as well. This will trap the steam beneath the towel. Breathe deeply, inhaling the vapors for 5 to 10 minutes. As well as reducing throat pain, this should also clear sinus and chest congestion.

#15 – Odors:

bad odor

When you work your body, you start to sweat, this is a guarantee. But sweat itself doesn’t smell bad. People start to stink during a workout or strenuous activity because of bacteria. This bacteria mixes with the secretions that come from your sweat glands. This creates that foul odor we all want to avoid. Tea tree oil is an effective countermeasure to smelly perspiration. Its antibacterial properties kill off that bacteria to reduce the odor. That’s why this oil makes such an effective deodorant. Your underarm area has such a large concentration of sweat glands. That’s why deodorant is such a necessary skin care product. Combine tea tree oil with coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, and arrowroot powder. Together these reduce the odor while keeping your skin soft.

Foot odor is also an issue tea tree oil can help with, for the same reasons. Mix 1/4 cup each of cornstarch and baking soda. Add 10 drops each of tea tree oil and lavender oil. Use this powder to coat your feet and the insides of your shoes to eliminate the bacteria for a fresher scent.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil Final Thoughts

With so many natural products out there to choose from, it can be hard to choose the right one for every issue. That’s why learning the benefits of tea tree oil is so important. You need to know how to use it correctly to get the best results to treat any issue you may have. If you are looking for more hair care articles check out our hair care buyer’s guides.

Footnotes:

About the Author Emma O'Brien

I joined BloomGorgeous in 2014 and have been reviewing for them ever since. It's my passion and joy to help people thrive. I have had my up and down days with my my look and my mindset, it is our goal here to help people get through the rough times a little faster.