Tea tree oil is an essential oil that can be used for several purposes, including keeping skin, hair, and nails healthy.
In addition to its scientifically backed benefits, tea tree oil is inexpensive and safe when used as directed.
Tea tree oil can be used to treat conditions and symptoms that affect skin, nails, and hair. It can also be used as a deodorant, insect repellent, or mouthwash. When used topically, tea tree oil can treat certain skin conditions or improve the overall appearance of your skin.
Antibacterial: The oil has been used for almost 100 years as a healing treatment in Australia, particularly for skin conditions. Today it is used for a number of conditions. Tea tree oil is probably best known for its antibacterial activity. Some research suggests that the broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity associated with the oil comes from its ability to damage the cell walls of bacteria. More research is needed to understand how it might work.
Anti-inflammatory: Tea tree oil may help quell inflammation, possibly due to its high concentration of terpinen-4-ol, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties. In animal tests, terpinen-4-ol was found to suppress inflammatory activity in cases of mouth infection. In humans, topically applied tea tree oil reduced swelling in histamine-induced skin inflammation more effectively than paraffin oil.
Antifungal: A review of the effectiveness of tea tree oil highlights its ability to kill a range of yeasts and fungi. The majority of the studies reviewed focus on Candida albicans, a type of yeast which commonly affects the skin, genitals, throat, and mouth. Other research suggests that terpinen-4-ol enhances the activity of fluconazole, a common antifungal drug, in cases of resistant strains of Candida albicans.
Heal Acne: The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health advises that research into the effects of topically applied tea tree oil in people is limited. However, the oil may be useful for a number of skin complaints. Acne is the most common skin condition. It affects up to 50 million Americans at any one time. One study found a significant difference between tea tree oil gel and a placebo in treating acne. Participants treated with tea tree oil experienced improvement in both total acne count and the severity of the acne. This builds on earlier research which compared 5 percent tea tree oil gel with 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion in treating cases of mild to moderate acne. Both treatments significantly reduced the number of acne lesions, although the tea tree oil worked more slowly. Those using the tea tree oil experienced fewer side effects.
Tea tree oil has been used as a "natural" remedy for a long time, especially for skin afflictions. There is some scientific evidence that tea tree oil can be effective for certain skin conditions. It is poisonous if swallowed and so should not be used in or around the mouth at all.
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