Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has many benefits for the skin. It’s an alternative to conventional treatments.

Tea tree oil can be used to treat conditions and symptoms that affect skin, nails, and hair. It can also be used as a deodorant, insect repellent, or mouthwash. When used topically, tea tree oil can treat certain skin conditions or improve the overall appearance of your skin.

Tea tree oil is effective in promoting healthy skin by soothing and healing a wide range of skin issues. Use tea tree oil with a few precautions:

  • You should not apply tea tree oil directly to skin. It’s important to dilute the oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil.
  • For every 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil, add 12 drops of a carrier oil.
  • Also, be careful when using tea tree oil around the eye area. Exposure can cause redness and irritation.
  • Before you use tea tree oil, do a patch test to make sure your skin doesn’t react to the tea tree oil.

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Dry skin and eczema

Tea tree oil can help soothe dry skin by reducing itching and irritation. Also, it’s been shown to be more effective than zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate creams in treating eczema.

How to use: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into a small amount of moisturizer or carrier oil. Apply this mixture to the affected areas immediately after getting out of the shower and at least once more each day.

Oily skin

The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil may contribute to its ability to combat oily skin. A small 2016 study found that participants who used a sunscreen containing tea tree oil for 30 days showed improvements in oiliness.

How to use: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into your toner, moisturizer, or sunscreen. You can add two drops of tea tree oil to bentonite clay to make a mask.

Itchy skin

The anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil make it useful in relieving the discomfort of itchy skin. It soothes the skin and can also help heal infections that cause itchy skin.

A small 2012 study found that tea tree oil was effective in reducing itchy eyelids. An ointment containing 5-percent tea tree oil was massaged onto the eyelids of the participants. Sixteen of the 24 participants eliminated their itching completely. The other eight people showed some improvements.

How to use: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into a moisturizer or carrier oil and apply it to your skin a few times per day.

Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory effect of tea tree oil helps to soothe and relieve painful and irritated skin. It may also help to reduce redness and swelling.

Research supports that tree oil reduces inflamed skin due to skin sensitivity to nickel. This study used pure tea tree oil on the skin but it’s usually advised that you dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil before applying it to the skin.

How to use: Add 1 drop of tea tree oil to a carrier oil or moisturizer and apply it to the affected area a few times per day.

Infections, cuts, and wound-healing

The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil make it an effective wound healer.

According to a 2013 study, tea tree oil helps to heal wounds caused by bacteria. Nine of the 10 people who used tea tree oil in addition to conventional treatment showed a decrease in healing time compared to conventional treatment alone.

How to use: Add 1 drop of tea tree oil with a wound ointment cream and apply as directed throughout the day.

Hair and scalp treatment

You can use tea tree oil to treat dandruff by removing chemicals and dead skin cells from the scalp. Using tea tree oil on your hair may help it to stay healthy and moisturized, promoting optimal growth.

How to use: Apply a mixture of tea tree oil and a carrier oil to your hair and scalp. Allow it to stay in your hair for 20 minutes. Then use a tea tree oil shampoo that contains 5-percent tea tree oil. Massage it into your scalp and hair for a few minutes before rinsing. Follow with a tea tree oil conditioner.

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Acne

Tea tree oil is a popular choice for treating acne because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s thought to calm redness, swelling, and inflammation. It may even help to prevent and reduce acne scars, leaving you with smooth, clear skin.

How to use: Dilute 3 drops of tea tree oil into 2 ounces of witch hazel. Use it as a toner throughout the day. You can use a face wash, moisturizer, and spot treatment containing tea tree oil as well.

Psoriasis

Scientific research supporting the use of tea tree oil for psoriasis is lacking. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that tea tree oil may be useful in treating symptoms of psoriasis, such as infection and inflammation, while boosting immunity.

How to use: Dilute 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil into a small amount of a carrier oil. Gently apply it to the affected area several times per day.

Since tea tree oil varies in quality, it’s important to buy an oil that is 100-percent natural, with no additives. Buy organic tea tree oil if possible, and always buy from a reputable brand. The Latin name, Melaleuca alternifolia, and the country of origin should be printed on the bottle. Look for an oil that has a 10- to 40-percent concentration of terpinen, which is the main antiseptic component of tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil should start to clear up symptoms within a few days of consistent use. It may take longer for some conditions to heal completely. You may choose to continue using tea tree oil to prevent further recurrences.

It’s suggested that people interested in using tea tree oil first get an allergy skin patch test and then dilute tea tree oil carefully to prevent further irritation. You can also buy products that are already blended with tea tree oil. This ensures you’re getting the right consistency.

See a doctor if your symptoms do not clear up, become worse, or are severe.

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