For many, tea tree oil is a household medicinal staple, and very often it is used as such. While Tea Tree Oil (TTO) is known for its quality to treat acne, but it is also accepted and recommended by dermatologists for skin infections like athletes foot, candida, jock itch etc. Surely, the benefits are many but before you go to the market and get TTO for yourself, it is important to know this essential oil better. Here is a guide with its introduction, properties, science, and tips. Let’s get started.
What is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea Tree Oil (TTO), also known as the Melaleuca Oil is an essential oil with antiseptic properties. The TTO is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca Alternifolia plant, which is grown in the eastern Australia.
Basically, Australia is the premiere origin of tea tree oil. However, other species of Melaleuca family can also be found in United States, Tunisia, and Egypt. The oil is light yellow in color and has a unique odor, which is quite minty. Also, it has a medicinal smell which is termed as the Camphoraceous odor.
TTO is an appreciated component of skin and hair care products. However, it is found in low concentrations in moisturizers conditioners, shampoos/conditioners etc.
Benefits of Tea Tree Oil
TTO is known to have antibacterial properties. It is often considered as an alternate to benzoyl peroxide, which is one of the preferred treatment for acne. TTO helps to reduce p.acne bacteria, which is responsible for making the acne inflammatory. TTO is generally used as a spot-treatment for acne curing.
TTO proves to be quite effective in treating fungal infections like toenail infection, athlete’s foot infection etc. Although, it has anti-fungal properties that work well, but it is not as good as those anti-fungal creams available in the market.
Terpinen-4-ol is the active ingredient in Tea Tree Oil, which is basically an anti-microbial. It is used to heal wounds, cuts, and prevents them against infection.
What to Use TTO For?
Skin: Tea Tree Oil is one of the highly recommended treatment for acne. Spot treatment of TTO can help to cure inflamed acne. Also, using it in diluted form or with some carrier oil turns it into cleanser, moisturizer, which works wonder for the skin.
Hair: Since it has anti-fungal properties, it can work well against dandruff, itchiness, flakiness, leaving the hair smooth and shining. You can also make homemade shampoos and add TTO into it.
Wounds: Treating wounds and preventing them from infection after cleaning is one of the finest uses of tea tree oil.
Tips to Buy Tea Tree Oil
Production Method: Steam distilled is one the common methods for producing essential oils, including tea tree. Other methods used for extraction are cold-pressing, CO2 extraction, and solvent extraction. TTO extracted with any process is fine; just that steam distillation is considered the finest one.
Australian Origin: This is one of the most important feature that you must look out for. On small scale, tea tree oil is produced in Egypt, US, Tunisia. The properties of TTO and its benefits are tested extensively on Australian plant and thus it is suggested to buy the teal tree oil of Australian origin. As a precaution, make sure that the tea tree oil that you are buying s not extracted from Camellia Sinensis or Camellia Oleifera, which is a Chinese tea seed oil.
Price: TTO is expensive and the reason is very obvious. Several hundred plants are used for extracting a few pounds of essential oil and this bulk extraction happens at one place-Australia. TTO that are cheap are often diluted with carrier oils like jojoba.
Things to Remember
- This oil is meant for physical use only and is toxic when ingested. It is recommended to avoid its usage around the mouth area.
- It is a good idea to do a patch test first. Concentrated TTO is strong and can cause burns if mishandled.
- If tea tree oil is concentrated, do spot treatment only. Use a q-tip or dab it on the infected area. Do not use it on full face.