Tea tree oil is an essential oil distilled from the leaves of the Australian plant melaleuca alternifolia. Used by the native aborigines of Australia for medicinal properties to treat coughs and colds, as well as effectively heal wounds and cuts on the skin. The term ‘tea tree’ was given by 18th century sailors who brewed a spicy and somewhat refreshing tea from the melaleuca alternifolia plant. Nowadays however, tea tree oil is known to be an essential oil that fights bacteria, fungus and virus as a topical cream found in cosmetics, medicinal and household products. Strictly used for the skin, tea tree oil boasts antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal properties for treating bacterial and fungal skin conditions, preventing infection and promoting healing.
The healing properties of tea tree oil cut across many benefits and uses that allow it to be a household and lifestyle staple. Some of the great benefits and uses of tea tree oil for your skin include;
Acne is the most common skin condition that has been linked to bacteria and viral fungus from our everyday interactions and/or diet. One common link to acne is skincare hygiene – either frequently touching our face, accumulating dirt throughout the day and removal of makeup. This build-up of bacteria over time can cause acne, especially on sensitive skin. Another proponent for acne is diet – consuming bacteria infused foods such as dairy, fast foods and oily fats sometimes imbalances our hormones in the body and may lead to acne. Fighting acne is a plight for many, and everyone’s exposure to acne differs according to their skin type (sensitive skin, dry skin or oily skin). Tea tree oil is effective in dealing with acne because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that calm redness, swelling and inflammation. To treat acne effectively, choose skincare products and creams that have tea tree oil as an active ingredient especially your face wash and toner, as both products actively focus on removing dirt and any residue on your face which in the process fights bacteria.
Tea tree oil is a great antiseptic for cuts, scrapes and wounds. Its antibacterial properties allow it to treat and disinfect cuts and bruises that may otherwise become infected. This will further aid wound healing as tea tree oil helps to reduce inflammation and triggers the activity of white blood cells that are effective in wound healing in the human body. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your topical cream or directly to the wound dressing. Tea tree oil has been reported to decrease healing time on a wound as compared to conventional wound treatment. Next time, instead of worrying about antiseptics and topical creams for wounds, always have a handy bottle of tea tree oil in your medicine cabinet for quick fixes on cuts and bruises.
Skin can get inflamed for a number of reasons; it can be through allergies or diet, bug or insect bites, change in environment or change in skincare products, exposure to certain substances or alloys such as nickel which causes contact dermatitis. Tea tree oil comes in as an anti-inflammatory that helps to soothe and relieve any redness, swelling, itchiness and irritation on the skin. Tea tree oil is highly effective by 40% to reduce skin inflammation than topical creams and treatments. Add tea tree oil as an essential oil in your moisturizer, face soap, body butter and shampoo, or mix it with a carrier oil to help deal with any skin allergies.
If you have tried and tested every deodorant on the market and have not found a suitable solution for anti-perspiration, then maybe tea tree oil might be the active solution for your lifestyle. Sweat within itself is absolutely normal because that is how our body breathes by perspiration, but the odour that comes from the sweat due to exposure to bacteria to the skin creates a somewhat stuffy and unpleasant body odour that can make it extremely uncomfortable. Applying tea tree oil to the underarm area helps to effectively deal with the bacteria that causes body odour making it a great and healthy alternative to commercial antiperspirants and deodorants.
Dandruff within itself is not bad, it’s how our bodies get rid of excess dead skin; but too much dandruff can affect your mood and sometimes your self-esteem in the public space. Tea tree oil with its anti-inflammatory properties helps to control the severity of dandruff with a likely 40% improvement in dandruff, further dealing with any scalp itchiness and dryness. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo or directly to your hair as you wash to help relieve dandruff.
A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi either in, under or on the nail. Fungi along with bacteria can be found present on the body, the overgrowth of fungi however can cause an infection. Fungal nail infections are common infections of the fingernails or toenails that can cause the nail to become discoloured, thick and more likely to crack. Fungi tends to thrive in warm and moist environments in which case, toenails are more susceptible to fungal nail infection where it is dark and relatively warm and moist. Treating fungal nail infections with tea tree oil is to simply add a few drops to your topical cream or mix it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply to the affected area.
Treat Athlete’s Foot
The same fungi that can cause fungal nail infection, can cause athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection on the feet that can spread to the toenails with symptoms that include peeling, cracking, blisters and redness. Treating an athlete’s foot can be somewhat challenging and frustrating as the root cause is to cure and not simply relieve the symptoms. Consistent application of tea tree oil with an accompanying topical cream can help alleviate symptoms of athlete’s foot over time and cure the fungi all together. However, a higher concentration of tea tree oil is required to cure athlete’s foot, speak to your medical practitioner on curing athlete’s foot whilst adding tea tree oil as a supplement to help with the healing process.
Not only does tea tree oil boost significant healing properties for the skin, but its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties make it great for the household as an insect repellant, all purpose cleaner, hand sanitizer, everyday mouthwash and can treat psoriasis. Remember that tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes 100% highly concentrated meaning in some cases it cannot be directly applied to the skin nor can it be taken orally. To effectively use tea tree oil, it needs to be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil; or added as a few drops to a moisturizer, shampoo, tooth paste, body butter, body soap or household cleaner for maximum effect.
- 11 benefits of tea tree oil – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262944
- 14 everyday uses for tea tree oil – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tea-tree-oil
- Fungal nail infection – https://www.healthline.com/health/fungal-nail-infection
- How does tea tree oil help the skin – https://www.healthline.com/health/tea-tree-oil-for-skin