A famous alternative to regular treatments, tea tree oil comes with many benefits, not just for your skin, but for your hair and nails too. Extracted from the leaves of the tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia, native to Australia, tea tree oil has been used for hundreds of years to treat various conditions. Mainly, everything is due to tea tree oil’s high antimicrobic and antifungal activities. After many decades, when used only in Australia to treat bites, stings, cuts, or gazes, tea tree oil is now widely utilized to make products that address oily skin, acne, dandruff, and bacteria-affected nails.
The commercial tea tree oil industry didn’t exist until 1920. Yet, today it takes a solid place in the whole market. According to Allied Market Research, “the global tea tree oil market size was valued at $38.8 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $59.5 million by 2025”. Now let’s see what tea tree oil is good at and if you can use it in your beauty ritual.
Tea tree oil for acne-prone skin
Tea tree oil is used as a topical treatment for acne because it’s able to eliminate micro-organisms and bacteria and since, having antibacterial activity and good skin penetrating power. Even if there’s not much research regarding this topic, this study confirmed the bacterial action of tea tree oil against acne and oiliness.
For sebum control, mix a few drops of tea tree oil into your moisturizer, toner, or face mask. In case you want to use it as an acne treatment is necessary to have your face clean and dry when applying tea tree oil. Gently dab it on your blemishes with a cotton pad. After drying, follow up with your usual moisturizer.
Tea tree oil for dandruff
One of the most common scalp problems, dandruff, can be managed with tea tree oil due to its antifungal properties. Actually, the ability of tea tree oil to tackle dandruff is backed by scientific studies. In 2002, a study investigated the efficacy of 5% tea tree oil shampoo in people with mild to moderate dandruff. One hundred twenty-six volunteers received either 5% tea tree oil or a placebo product, which they had to use for four weeks. As expected, the tea tree oil group showed a 41% improvement, compared with 11% in the placebo group.
In addition to your regular shampoo, you can apply pure tea tree oil to your scalp. But never apply without diluting it first. You can mix it with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil — 5mL of tea tree oil per 100 mL of the carrier substance. Adding tea tree oil to your shampoo will do too.
Tea tree oil for nails
It’s essential to have clean nails when you apply tea tree oil. Remove nail polish, then trim the bacteria-affected areas as much and safely as you can. The idea is to remove as much of your nail infection before applying tea tree oil for maximum effect. After cutting and removing infected parts, wash away any debris with a skin-friendly shower gel. Once you’ve cleaned the area, dry it; because bacteria grow in damp conditions, this is important. Only then apply tea tree oil to your nails.
Even if most people can use pure tea tree oil topically with no problems, in some situations, it can cause skin irritation, rash, burning, itching, or drying. So, if you have eczema, dermatitis, or your skin can’t just tolerate it, stop using it. Also, don’t swallow tea tree oil — is toxic.