Scour the web and you will see a multitude of uses for Tea tree oil. Anything from curing excessive body odor to cleaning the kitchen sink (literally). The uses most backed by research and why we love tea tree oil, are of course those that benefit skin. And this little all-natural powerhouse is also the fix to some of the problems we can be a little too embarrassed to ask our friends about.
What is tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil is an extract from the evergreen leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree. Tea tree oil is known for its topical antiseptic and anti-fungal treatment or infection-reducing benefits. It also has antibiotic properties and helps aid against aliments such as skin infections, rashes, burns, dandruff. Tea tree oil was used as a topical treatment by the Aboriginal people for centuries.
We like to try everything possible to eliminate pimples. Tea tree oil’s disinfecting and soothing properties make it an excellent acne treatment. One study found that tea tree oil worked as well as 5% benzoyl peroxide in controlling acne. The oil can penetrate skin, disinfect the pore and dry out whiteheads and blackheads.
To use, look for a 5% tea tree oil gel which can be applied directly to pimples or dilute a few drops of 100% pure tea tree oil with 20 to 40 drops of witch hazel, and apply to skin once or twice a day with a cotton swab. You can also combine with raw organic honey or aloe vera gel or jojoba oil before applying to pimples or blemishes.
Be careful to not overuse it: while gentler than benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil can dry out your skin. Tea tree oil can make you more sensitive to UV rays so stay out of the sun.
Because of the moisturizing and antiseptic properties of tea tree oil, shampoos with tee tree oil help fight dry and itchy scalps, as well as dandruff. You can also add 100% pure tea tree oil to your regular shampoo – add 1 drop oil per 1 oz shampoo. Use immediately after mixing. Once you have worked shampoo into your scalp, allow to sit for 5 min before rinsing.
No one likes to talk about nail fungus, but it can happen. Using 100% pure tea tree oil was found in one study to be as effective at eliminating toenail fungus as well as a prescription anti-fungal cream (3 month daily use). Apply a drop or two of 100 percent pure tea tree oil to the discolored nail once or twice a day, everyday.
One great idea we learned from our friends at Reader’s Digest is a DIY cuticle treatment with tea tree oil to help counter cracked and ragged cuticles. Tea tree oil is a proven fungus fighter, while lavender is anti-inflammatory and healing. You can substitute olive oil for jojoba and avocado oil if you cannot find them in your local natural food store.
Pour the jojoba and avocado oils into a small, dark-colored glass bottle, which will help preserve the oil. Then, add tea tree and lavender essential oils, screw on cap, and shake to combine. Before using the cuticle oil, shake the bottle well, then massage a few drops into your nails and cuticles daily to soften your cuticles and prevent them from splitting.
For more DIY skincare recipes, check out our Pinterest board.
To learn more about what is happening beneath your skin and to get personalized coaching to achieve skin health, check out getoku.com