What is tea tree oil used for? It may be best known for battling blemishes, but this plant oil has a range of other uses too.
But first, what is tea tree oil? It’s an essential oil sourced from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. For the avoidance of doubt, this isn’t the same plant that’s responsible for providing the leaves for your morning brew.
For centuries, people have used tea tree oil as a soothing natural remedy to help with a number of common health complaints. Nowadays, it’s most often found in soap, shampoo, toothpaste, skincare, topical creams, and lip balm. It’s also sometimes called Melaleuca, after its native Australian plant source.
The cleansing powers of tea tree oil are down to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. In simple terms, the natural chemicals in this oil can help combat bacteria and fungus. And this is why it’s so popular in skincare and for reducing numerous skin concerns. But it’s purifying prowess doesn’t just work on your complexion.
Here we outline some of the most popular tea tree oil uses that show it’s far more than a skin-soothing superhero. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Tea tree oil may be helpful for other reasons too. For example, it could help with gingivitis, dandruff and to repel lice. But as yet, there isn't sufficient evidence to back up these claims.
Due to its bacteria-killing capabilities, tea tree oil makes a great natural cleansing ingredient for hand sanitizers,
If your skin is prone to irritation and sensitivity, you could try diluting it using olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil before applying. As a precaution, it’s best to test tea tree oil on a small patch of skin first to check for any reaction.
However, it’s important to add, tea tree oil is toxic, so it must not be swallowed. As a result, it’s probably best to avoid applying it to the skin around your mouth.
Last updated: 23 September 2020