Tea tree oil for skin
Extracted from the leaves of a tree native to the swamplands of Australia, tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a fragrant liquid that has been used for many years as a part of natural healing remedies. Unlike other herbs that are often taken by mouth, tea tree essential oil is primarily applied to the skin. The oil of the plant contains natural chemicals that have been shown in clinical studies to have the ability to fight bacteria and fungus. Because of the actions of these chemicals, researchers speculate that tea tree oil can be beneficial for various skin care concerns. One of the most well-established uses of tea tree oil is addressing athlete's foot, a fungal infection of the skin that develops on the feet. In clinical studies, 10 percent tea tree oil was shown to be effective at alleviating some of the discomfort caused by the condition. In stronger concentrations, it is shown to eliminate the infection in roughly half of users. Some people also use tea tree oil to address other types of fungal skin infections. These include ringworm, but there is not enough evidence to know if it is beneficial for assisting with any other skin problem caused by fungus.
Using Tea Tree Oil on the Skin
Because of its potential medical benefits for fighting bacteria, scientists believe that tea tree oil could be beneficial for acne. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database lists the oil as "possibly effective" at dealing with acne. Some researchers believe that the oil may work as well as five percent benzoyl peroxide products that are commonly used to treat blemishes. However, results from the use of the natural oil tend to develop more slowly. Tea tree oil is not known to cause many side effects when used on the skin. However be sure to get your doctor's approval and follow instructions carefully. Some people experience allergic reactions to the oil. It can also cause minor redness and swelling. There have been a few reports that combining tea tree oil and lavender oil could cause hormonal imbalances in pre-pubescent boys. Make sure you discuss using tea tree oil with your doctor before using it as a remedy for any skin problem.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.