Tea Tree Oil Is Great for Your Skin, Hair, and Home—Here Are 5 Helpful Ways to Use It
If you haven't jumped on the essential oil train yet, you may reconsider once you learn about the fascinating benefits of one of the most popular formulas: tea tree oil. With its natural ability to disinfect, fight acne, and provide a calming scent to your home, this multi-purpose superstar offers many benefits. Here, we explore everything that tea tree oil is good for, and what to consider before implementing it into your routine.
What is tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Australian-native Melaleuca Alternifolia tree through a steam distillation process, explains Julio Pina, the director of R&D Innovation at Innovation Labs (iLABS). "It's a colorless to pale yellow, clear, mobile liquid with a distinctive aromatic, earthy, pine odor," Pina says.
Today, tea tree oil is commonly found in personal care products and cosmetics, from moisturizers and toners to soaps, shampoos, and countless other goods. You can also purchase tea tree oil on its own, ideal for adding to a diffuser or mixed with other lotions or serums.
What is tea tree oil good for?
Because tea tree oil has been used and studied for decades, there's plenty of research to back up its benefits. Experts shed insight on all the uses and advantages of this potent, effective essential oil.
What to know before using tea tree oil
Never ingest it.
No matter what an Instagrammer or TikToker says, you should never ingest tea tree oil—it can lead to serious symptoms. Also avoid direct contact with your eye area, Pina warns. Though some people swear by ingesting essential oils, it's considered a dangerous practice by most medical professionals. Pina also recommends checking online if a tea tree oil product has gone through the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test (HRIPT), a clinical study performed on humans to determine if a product irritates.
Start small to avoid skin irritation.
If you have picky pores that tend to break out or become red when you use a new product, tread carefully with tea tree oil. Aguilar says to begin by applying a small dab behind your ear and wrist. Then, check these areas after 12 and 24 hours for any signs of irritation or allergies.
If you're using tea tree oil on its own, another option is to dilute the formula in a compatible vehicle, like caprylic/capric triglyceride or castor oil, Pina says. "The level of dilution will depend on your skin's tolerance levels, so start with as low as a 1 percent solution and increase to 5 percent."
Store it safely.
Store your solution in an amber glass bottle at room temperature, as tea tree oil is sensitive to air, light, and heat. "To be cautious and prolong the shelf life of your solution, including an antioxidant such as vitamin E, is recommended," Pina says. "Vitamin E will synergistically improve the benefit of tea tree oil while serving as a natural antioxidant and soothing agent."