Its antimicrobial property helps to kill harmful microorganisms, making it useful for a whole heap of conditions from skin related issues like acne and dermatitis to cold sores, fungal infections, and dandruff (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center).⠀
Tea Tree oil has shown to be just as effective as Benzoyl Peroxide in treating acne (Bassett, Pannwitz & Barneston, 1990). 5% tea-tree oil was seen as being just as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide in reducing acne by reducing the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions (open and closed comedones), although the onset of action in the case of tea-tree oil was slower but with far fewer side effects.
Further studies support its claim in treating acne (Enshaieh, Jooya, Siadat, Iraji 2007). A topical 5% tea tree oil gel was 3.55 times and 5.75 times more effective than placebo.⠀
Anyone who has ever picked up an MD Perricone book will thoroughly appreciate his work on inflammation being the root cause of many skin conditions from acne to ageing. Tea tree oil is also notable for reducing histamine-induced skin inflammation. (2002 Koh, Pearce, Marshman, Finlay-Jones, Hart).⠀
It can cause skin irritation, swelling or allergic reactions. For people with acne, it can sometimes cause skin dryness, itching, stinging, burning and redness.⠀
Toxic if swallowed⠀
Potentially unsafe during pregnancy⠀
Careful with this if you have eczema or sensitive skins⠀⠀
I use tea tree oil to help create an ideal microflora on my skin and kill off the bad bacteria. I will occasionally add 1-2 drops to my open pore areas or use a few drops of this in foot soaks to keep away fungal infections and in my cleansers for days when I am suffering breakouts.
Different oils have different strengths. For example, DR.ORganics (Organic) Tea Tree oil will sting my eyes no matter where I put it on my face. So a word of caution if you’re looking to purchase one.
Alternatively, you may find an essence with tea tree in it like Lee Ji Ham (LJH) which is more gentle to incorporate in your routine. Personally, I found no notable results with this essence.