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Tea tree oil, or Melaleuca oil, is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the tea tree after steam distillation. It is known to come from the southeast coast of Australia, where it is traditionally used as an antiseptic and herbal medicine.
Now, with its growing popularity, it is used for various conditions such as: (1)(2)
- Athlete’s foot
- Mite infection
- Insect bite
Safety Profile of Tea Tree Oil
Although tree tea oil is famously used in topical products without causing any side effects, some people have reported contact dermatitis, allergic reactions, or skin irritation after its use. So, it is highly advised to do a patch test before using it on your skin.
Also, do not swallow tea tree oil as it can cause serious complications such as confusion, loss of muscle coordination, respiratory issues, and even coma. (1)(3)(4)
Diluting Tea Tree Oil With Coconut Oil
It is necessary to know how to use tea tree oil not only to get the desired results but also to avoid irritating your skin.
You can get tea tree oil in its pure or diluted form. It is also found as an active ingredient in skin care products such as cleansers, serums, moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners.
Avoid using tea tree oil in its pure form because it can cause: (3)(5)
For these reasons, use tea tree oil only after diluting it with a carrier oil. One such widely used carrier oil is coconut oil.
The dilution process of tea tree oil with coconut oil is very simple. Experts advise that for every 2–3 drops of tea tree oil, you add around 1 tsp of coconut oil to dilute it (the resulting oil should contain 1%–3% essential oil). (5)
You can then apply this oil blend to your skin. Avoid its use in the eye area as it can cause irritation.
Why Should Tea Tree Oil Be Diluted With Coconut Oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil used topically for treating various dermatological conditions. It is an anti-infective essential oil and is found in many commercial products.
Essential oils are preferably not used undiluted, especially when applied directly to the skin. This is because the undiluted form of these oils has been shown to cause skin irritation such as contact dermatitis. (5)(6) Therefore, they need to be blended into a carrier oil before application to the skin.
This combination of essential oil and carrier oil causes the dilution of the essential oils, thereby making the essential oils less toxic to your skin. Moreover, the dilution of essential oils slows down their evaporation rate and increases their skin absorption. (5)
What Are the Benefits of Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil has a ton of skin-healing benefits that can help treat various skin conditions.
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Tea tree oil contains a chemical compound called terpinen-4-ol, which suppresses inflammatory responses in the body, thereby giving tea tree its anti-inflammatory effects. (7)
2. Antiviral properties
Terpinen-4-ol in tea tree oil also possesses antiviral properties. Research has suggested its possible use against influenza virus subtype H1N1 and herpes simplex virus. (8)
3. Antioxidant properties
Tea tree oil is also used for its antioxidant activity, because of which it can destroy free radicals and prevent skin damage while promoting wound healing. (9)
How do I perform a patch test for tea tree oil?
A patch test is done by dabbing a drop of the oil on your inner wrist and waiting at least 24 hours to see if there’s any allergic reaction.
How do I know which oil to purchase from all the available options?
Always purchase your oils from trusted suppliers and brands, and skip products with chemicals in them.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil famous for its therapeutic benefits that can heal and nourish the skin. It has antimicrobial and antiseptic benefits, among other advantageous properties. It can be used to treat inflammatory skin conditions.
Although tea tree oil is considered safe to use topically, it has been reported to cause irritation or allergic reactions. So, before using it, always perform a patch test.
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