Overview

Tea tree oil is well known for its strong smell and its antimicrobial properties. Often used in alternative medicine, tea tree oil has the power to kill bacteria and viruses. Tea tree oil may be an effective treatment for warts, which are caused by more than 100 different strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the Australian tea tree. The aboriginal people of Australia have long used it to treat wounds and infections. Today, tea tree oil is found in many topical beauty products such as moisturizers, shampoos, and soaps.

Tea tree oil is commonly used to treat acne, athlete’s foot, and fungal infections. As a natural antiseptic, tea tree oil can often be found in hand soaps, cleansers, and antibacterial gels. It may even help to prevent the spread of viruses like influenza.

Warts are caused by viruses that spread from person to person. They are common in children and teenagers, but can occur at any age. Many people get warts on the hands, genitals, or feet (planter warts).

Warts are harmless, but they can be painful. Left untreated, warts can take up to two years to disappear. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat warts. Warts can be treated in the doctor’s office, with over-the-counter products, or with home remedies.

Benefits of tea tree oil for warts

Antiviral

Tea tree oil has antiviral properties that have proven to be effective against common pathogens. A 2001 study found that a combination of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil worked effectively against the herpes simplex virus.

A 2013 study found that tea tree oil could prevent the spread of influenza. While tests have not yet been conducted on tea tree oil’s effectiveness against HPV, it’s certainly a possibility.

Immune boosting

One potential treatment option for warts is to use your body’s immune system. One study of tea tree oil suggests that it activates the immune system’s white blood cells. This means that when applied to warts, tea tree oil may activate white blood cells to fight it.

Cleansing

Tea tree oil is an effective antimicrobial. It has been used for centuries to clean wounds and prevent infections. Warts on the hands and feet can spread easily from person to person, especially in communal spaces, such as gyms or locker rooms. A homemade cleanser containing tea tree oil may prevent you from spreading your warts to other people.

How to use tea tree oil for warts

Tea tree oil can be used in several different ways.

Concentrated dose

Tea tree oil can be found in several different concentrations, including 5, 10, and 100 percent. If you’re going to make your own recipes, buy a 100-percent tea tree oil extract. If you want to dilute it, you can do so later.

For a highly concentrated dose of tea tree oil, soak a cotton ball with 3 to 4 drops. Hold the cotton ball on your wart for 5 to 10 minutes, repeat 2 to 3 times per day.

Alternatively, tape the cotton ball to your wart and let it sit overnight.

Australian combo

Consider mixing one-part tea tree oil with one-part eucalyptus oil. This combination has been proven effective against certain viruses. Apply the mixture to a cotton ball or gauze pad and secure it to your wart with a bandage. Use this concoction nightly until the wart disappears.

Oil rub

Try mixing one-part tea tree oil with one-part sandalwood oil. A recent study found that the topical application of sandalwood oil resolved warts in about 80 percent of cases. Rub this mixture on your wart twice daily for 12 weeks, or until the wart is gone.

Acid peel

One of the most commonly used wart treatment involves a mild acid called salicylic acid. It’s found in many over-the-counter acne creams. Try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a salicylic acid acne cream. Apply the mixture to your wart once per day until the skin begins to peel away and the wart falls off.

Side effects and risks

Tea tree oil should never be ingested. Swallowing tea tree oil is dangerous and can lead to confusion and loss of muscle coordination.

Tea tree oil is a powerful product that causes allergic reactions in a small percentage of people. Conduct a small patch test on healthy skin before using it on your wart. Apply tea tree oil directly to your forearm and watch it for at least 24 hours. If you develop a rash or another skin irritation, discontinue use.

When to see your doctor

Most warts go away on their own with or without treatment. If your wart is painful or growing inward, however, you should consult a doctor. A dermatologist can perform an easy, in-office freezing procedure to remove your wart. If your wart doesn’t go away after six to eight weeks of home treatment, consult a doctor.

Takeaway

Warts are not dangerous, but they can be unsightly, annoying, and painful. You have many options when it comes to wart treatments. Tea tree oil is one potential treatment. If it isn’t working, however, considering buying a wart treatment product from your local drug store or consulting a dermatologist.