Depending on who you ask, tea tree oil is either some voodoo hogwash, a calming essential oil, or the end all be all home cure to all ailments.
What is tea tree oil? Is it worth all the fuss? What does it do? And which brand should I get? Let’s find out.
The mythical Tea tree oil comes from extracting the leaves of the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) a tree native to New South Wales, Australia. First discovered by the Aborigines, tea tree oil, or some form of tea tree extract have been used in their traditional medicine for multiple generations.
The Aborigines used tea tree extract for treating ailments such as colds as well as for healing cuts and bruises. They mashed up the leaves to extract the oil and either applied the extract on their skin or inhaled it ease their aways.
Today, tea tree oil is readily available in packaged pure oil concentrate, different levels of dilution, as well as fashioned into various beauty products like cleansers and soap.
Tea tree oil is made from steam distillation of the leaves and tiny branches of the Native Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia.) According to the FDA, only tea tree made this way, and from this specific plant meets its ISO 4730 requirements for tea tree oil for sale in the US.
So, is tea tree oil as effective as it is drummed up to be? And what can it cure?
Behind the Hype: How Effective is Tea Tree Oil
Everyone who is even a bit familiar with natural beauty products will have already witnessed the “super-product” tag abused to death. Hence you might be wary of picking another wonder oil, especially if you already have a drawer filled with defective and underperforming solutions.
So what does tea tree oil bring to the table?
Tree tea natural composition is the main reason why it has garnered this much attention. Despite its seemingly simple nature, this oil contains more than 100 different compounds in some important active molecules.
Amongst its massive array of compounds, one active ingredient holds the attention of both beauticians and researchers. Tea tree oil contains a terpene called terpinen-4-ol.
Terpenes are compounds naturally produced by plants and some insects to fend off parasites and herbivores. And this specific terpene in tea tree oil seems to manifest antimicrobial properties. Consequently, making tea tree oil and essential subject for researchers studying its acclaimed germ-killing properties.
According to research by the National College of Chiropractic, Lombard, Terpinen-4-ol also appears to increase the level of activity of your white blood cells, which help fight bacteria, germs, and other foreign invaders.
These anti-microbial properties make tea tree oil one of the more effective natural remedies for combating fungal and other microbial skin infections and an excellent supplement for more aggressive treatment.
Common Uses of Tea Tree Oil
While no single skin care product will fix all your skin concerns, tea tree oil does pack a punch and helps ease a variety of conditions. Thanks to its powerful antiseptic properties, here are some of the potential benefits and common uses of this versatile oil:
One of the most popular uses of tea tree oil is as a home remedy for face acne thanks to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Offering some credence to this use case, a 2015 review in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents evaluated seven different studies on the effect of tea tree oil on facial acne. The report concluded that the twice-daily application of a solution containing at least 5 percent tea tree oil seemed to help reduce the lesions.
How to: For combatting face acne, add 4-5 drops of tea tree oil to about 4 ounces of water. Apply the solution to the face twice daily using a cotton pad. Alternatively, you can mix the oil with two teaspoons of honey and rub the mixture onto your face. Leave the mixture on for two minutes, then rinse off with clean water.
More: Tea Tree Oil for Acne
Although research on the effectiveness of tea tree oil for dandruff is limited, a sizable amount of online users swear to its efficacy. Also, one limited study found a 41% reduction in dandruff among participants after four weeks.
Massaging tea tree oil into your scalp works like coconut oil or other healing moisturizers. The oil helps to soothe flaking skin and promotes the natural scalp production of sebum.
How to: Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a handful of shampoo to create a hair-healing rejuvenating wash. Alternatively, you can mix tea tree oil with varying measures of coconut milk, lavender oil, and aloe vera to create a homemade natural revitalizing shampoo.
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is an effective natural solution for dressing minor wounds, cuts, and abrasions. According to one 2013 study, 9 out of 10 people who paired tea tree oil with conventional wound treatment reported a significant reduction in healing time.
Tea tree oil can be used as the first treatment to treat and disinfect minor injuries. A tea tree oil solution will kill common bacteria like S. aureus and Escherichia coli that can infect open wounds.
How to: First clean the wound thoroughly with water and mild, plain soap. Mix one drop of tea tree oil with your wound ointment cream or a teaspoon of coconut oil then apply to the injury before covering it up with a bandage. Repeat this process as directed or until the wound heals.
Treating Eczema and Psoriasis
Whether you are battling eczema or psoriasis autoimmune disorder, tea tree oil, with its soothing properties, help to ease the skin and rid it of bacteria. Tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which, according to emerging evidence, may help reduce psoriasis symptoms.
How to: pair tea tree oil cleanses with your medications to help improve symptoms.
When used as a hand sanitizer, tea tree oil helps to kill several disease-causing germs like H. influenzae, S. pneumonia, E. coli, and S. aureus. You can make the perfect all-natural hand sanitizer with tea tree oil and never have to worry about chemical additives.
How to: Mix 25 drops of tea tree oil with 5 drops of lavender oil, 8 ounces of aloe vera gel, a quarter teaspoon of vitamin E oil and one tablespoon of witch hazel extract.
Tea tree oil natural calming smell makes it an excellent additive to homemade deodorant. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, the oil as help destroy bacteria on your skin that are responsible for exacerbating body odor.
How to: Mix equal portions of tea tree oil and coconut oil, then add baking soda and a hint of lemon to create a sweet-smelling deodorant for you and your kids.
General Purpose Cleaner
Mix tea tree oil with apple cider vinegar to create an effective natural surface cleaner that also helps fight bacteria. Thanks to its potent antimicrobial properties, you can use this cleaning mixture as a domestic cleaner for all your home surfaces for purification and disinfection.
How to: Add 15 drops of tea tree oil to a solution of 3 ounces of apple cider vinegar and 5 ounces of water to create an all-purpose cleaner.
Diluted tea tree oil works an effective chemical-free mouthwash that helps combat bacteria that cause tooth decay, bad breath, and plaque. However, you should be careful not to swallow the solution as tea tree oil is toxic when ingested.
How to: Add one drop of tea tree oil to 8 ounces of water to create your own all-natural chemical-free mouthwash.
Tea Tree Oil Safety and Side Effects
Like almost anything you will find on a medical roster, tea tree oil does not come without a few potential downsides. If you are buying tea tree oil, here are the safety issues and possible side effect you must watch out for:
Tea tree oil is toxic if swallowed. Hence tea tree oil should not be consumed and must be stored out of the reach of children.
Tea tree oil causes skin dermatitis, one of the ailments it helps treat, in some people. People with hyper sensitive skin or those who have an allergy to the oil may notice contact dermatitis after first use.
If you have sensitive skin, we recommend you test out the oil on a small patch of skin before adding it to your daily regimen. Furthermore, diluting the oil may help, as pure tea tree oil is often too strong for a lot of skin types.
Several children develop adverse skin reactions when you apply tea tree oil to their skin. So, you should test with care or consult your doctor for more guidance.
Pets (dogs and cats) are known to have adverse reactions to tea tree oil like tremors and nervous system disturbances. Tea tree oil is not pet-safe.
Choosing the Best Tea Tree Oil
There are a variety of tea tree oil products, and choosing the right product goes a long way in determining how effective the oil is for you. When picking out a bottle a tea tree oil, you should consider the following:
Terpinen-4-ol Concentration: Terpinen-4-ol the active agent in tea tree oil is responsible for most of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, the percentage of Terpinen-4-ol in a bottle of tea tree oil determines how effective the product is. You should avoid higher concentrations, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Other Essential Oils: Most tea tree oil brands come in a mixture that includes other essential oils like lavender oil and peppermint oil. Check the product to ensure that you are not allergic to any of its constituents.
Bottle Color: If you have the option, always choose a dark brown or black bottle. Terpinen-4-ol, the active ingredient, has a high rate of oxidation in light. Hence, when it is exposed to bright light, it loses its antibacterial properties. Furthermore, the oxidation reaction can produce para-cymene, a known skin irritant.
Best Tea Tree Oil
Eve Hansen Organic Tea Tree Oil (4oz)
Widely recommended by aromatherapists everywhere, the Eve Hansen Organic tea tree oil is a 4-ounce bottle of 100% pure tea tree oil. The number one bestseller on Amazon, this brand is loved by both healthcare practitioners and end-users.
The USDA certifies the bottle as organic, vegan, and cruelty-free. Furthermore, it contains no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. The chemical parameters of this product are 1,8-cineole 3.98% Terpinen-4-ol 35.91
Dilute Eve Hansen Organic Tea Tree Oil with water, coconut oil or jojoba oil to create a solution suitable for any skin type.
Tea Tree Therapy 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil
Straight from the land down under, this brand has been producing quality tea tree oil for over a decade. Clinical trials have proven their value in treating sinusitis, sore throat, candida, and many other conditions.
The product comes in a 4-ounce bottle, and the price is exceptionally kind compared to other brands.
Healing Solutions Therapeutic Grade Tea Tree Oil
Quality tea tree oil need not cost a fortune, and Healing solutions does it right. This tea tree oil provides grade value and only the best quality. It packs 10ml of therapeutic-grade tea tree oil complete with its natural antiseptic properties.
This product is perfect for cleaning surfaces and will kill any mold. It is gentle on your skin, and it will combat dandruff, acne, and other skin conditions. Furthermore, it acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent for bites and other irritations. The oil smells excellent too.
Essential Oil Labs Natural Therapeutic Grade Tea Tree Oil
This piece from Essential Oil Labs brings 4 ounces of natural tea tree oil goodness. One of the most exceptional tea tree oil packages on the market, its pure constitution makes it an excellent product for combating eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Essential Lab products are 100% pure and natural, sourced from sustainable farms, and free of chemicals, additives, and fillers.
Use this tea tree oil as a face cleanser, to kill mold on your floors, or add to your shampoo or conditioner for dandruff prevention.
First Botany Cosmeceuticals Essential Oil
One of the best tea tree products on the market, First Botany Cosmeceuticals tea tree oil come with a high Terpinen-4-ol concentration to match all your antibacterial and anti-inflammatory needs.
This therapeutic-grade tea tree oil is steam-distilled from fresh-cut tea tree leaves and contains no additives or preservatives.
With this package, you get a 1-ounce bottle with a glass dropper. First Botany products are bottled in the USA.
Best Tea Tree Oil: Special Uses
Best Face Wash: Era Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser
Era Organics cleanser combines the anti-inflammatory powers of tea tree oil with moisturizing aloe vera and soothing goldenseal. The resulting solution is a high-active formula that is excellent for combating mild to moderate acne.
Use this face wash daily to help balance your skin, shrink lesions, and heal redness and inflammation without drying out your skin.
Best Shampoo: Maple Holistics Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
Rid your hair of dandruff once and for all with the bumper healing formula from Maple Holistics. The creamy, fast-acting formula contains tea tree oil, jojoba oil, keratin, lavender oil, argan oil and provitamin B5.
The shampoo is engineered to teach flaky scalps and rid your hair entirely of dandruff. It is silicone-free, and it contains no sulfates or parabens.
Customer reviews of the product reported a significant reduction of dandruff flakes after the first few wash sessions.
Best for Home Cleaning: Handcraft Blends Tea Tree Essential Oil
The Handcrafts Blends tea tree oil received outstanding reviews on Amazon for its cleaning performance. The product contains pure tea tree oil without additives, fillers, or added chemicals.
The antibacterial properties of tea tree help to eradicate mold. Tea tree oil is also antifungal. Hence, you can use this oil fight mold on your bathroom floors and kitchen counters.
Mix the oil with baking soda, vinegar, and water to create an effective all-purpose surface cleaner.
The amber glass bottle protects the oil from oxidation by ultraviolet rays.
Best Soap Bar: The Soap Haven Tea Tree Oil Soap Bar
Fight fungi and bacteria from head to toe with this healing tea tree oil soap from The Soap Haven.
The fast-acting formula contains olive oil, coconut oil, and moisturizing shea butter, creating an effective rehydrating soap that leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. The Soap Haven’s Tea Tree Oil Soap is an excellent addition to your bathroom, whether for showering or for as a hand washes.
The soap bar is made from all organic ingredients and is completely sulfate-free and paraben-free.