It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of essential oils and natural health remedies. When used correctly they can help support long-lasting, joyous health, while also being affordable and smelling fantastic. One of the most popular essential oils is probably tea tree oil, but most people only know it for its acne-fighting properties. However, there is so much more to this oil!
In this post, I’m sharing everything you need to know about tea tree oil including what it is, 12 amazing health benefits of this potent essential oil, and how to use it to best support your health, naturally.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Not to be confused with camellia sinensis, the plant that produces tea leaves made for drinking, tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia. This small tree is native to Australia and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
Now tea tree oil is often distilled from the leaves of the tree and sold as a pure essential oil. You can also buy tea tree oil that has been diluted with other carrier oils depending on how you want to use it. Tea tree is commonly added to shampoos, conditioners, and skincare products thanks to its amazing health benefits–more on those below!
One of the main compounds found in tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol and it has been widely studied for its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. These benefits are what make tea tree oil such a useful addition to your natural medicine cabinet.
One of the main compounds found in tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol and it has been widely studied for its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
12 Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil
One of the great things about tea tree oil is that it is generally considered safe and it’s super affordable, which makes it a great addition to your all-natural medicine cabinet. You can use this potent oil for everything from skincare to making non-toxic cleaners and bug sprays. Check out my favourite uses below!
1. Can Help Fight Acne
One of the most common uses of tea tree oil is in acne products such as face washes, toners, and serums. Thanks to the amazing antibacterial properties, tea tree oil has been found to reduce the severity and amount of acne breakouts.
It may even be as powerful as a popular acne treatment, benzoyl peroxide, without the severe drying or irritating side effects.
Try making a facial toner by combining 1 part tea tree oil with 9 parts water. You can apply it to breakouts with an organic cotton ball, then spritz with a soothing toner and hydrating serum for healthy, glowing skin.
A note of caution: As tempting as it is, avoid putting concentrated tea tree oil directly on pimples as this can sometimes backfire depending on your skin type. How? Your skin may produce more oil when it senses the drying effect of tea tree oil on the skin. For fair-skinned folks, it can scar the skin if it’s too concentrated.
2. Can Help Soothe Dry, Itchy, and Irritated Skin
With winter fast approaching, many of us are looking for natural treatments for dry skin. While I never go a day without using my ultra hydrating and all-natural Body Butter, I’m always on the lookout for new skin-loving plant botanicals.
Tea tree oil has some impressive benefits when it comes to treating dry skin. It can help soothe itchy skin and relieve irritation, which can be the most frustrating part of dealing with dry skin. In fact, some research has shown that it is more effective than zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate creams when treating eczema. It has also been found to help relieve psoriasis symptoms thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory compounds.
Tea tree oil can help soothe itchy skin and relieve irritation.
Combine a few drops (about 5-10) with a skin-soothing carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil. Massage the mixture onto irritated skin 2 to 3 times a day.
3. Soothes Skin Inflammation
Inflammation is often at the root of many irritating skin conditions such as dermatitis and rosacea. While there are many foods you can eat to help reduce inflammation from the inside out, sometimes it’s helpful to have a little topical help. That’s where tea tree oil comes in.
Thanks to its amazing anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants, tea tree oil can reduce inflammation in the skin. Specifically, it was found to reduce the irritation caused by contact dermatitis by up to 40%, which is a bigger difference than that made by many conventional treatments.
Another reason I love tea tree oil so much is that its anti-inflammatory benefits can help reduce the redness and irritation caused by rosacea. Just combine a few drops with your favourite skin-lovin carrier oil (I suggest organic golden jojoba) and apply a couple of times a day. *A note for those with rosacea: tea tree oil may be too strong for some people. Always do a small spot test first to make sure you don’t react.
4. Can Clean Minor Cuts and Scrapes
If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to clean minor cuts and scrapes, add tea tree oil to your first aid kid. It’s been shown to help kill infection-causing bacteria such as S. aureus, which makes it a safe way to treat and disinfect small wounds.
Make sure to clean your cut or scrape thoroughly before applying diluted tea tree oil (about one drop in your favourite carrier oil, such as coconut or olive). If it’s not diluted enough you’ll know right away because it will really sting! You can cover the cut with a bandage and reapply the tea tree oil mixture as needed.
5. Speeds Up Wound Healing
While we’re on the topic of treating cuts and scrapes, not only is tea tree oil a great natural disinfectant, it can also speed up wound healing. It helps reduce inflammation and boosts the activity of white blood cells, which are required for healing.
6. Kills Odour Causing Bacteria
One pretty interesting use for tea tree oil is as a natural deodorant. Your skin (that includes your armpits!) is like a sponge and over 60% of what you put onto it gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream. None of us want stinky pits, but antiperspirants contain aluminum that has been known to accumulate in the brain and cause potential health issues on top of blocking your sweat ducts.
One of the great antibacterial benefits of tea tree oil is that it can kill the odour causing bacteria that can make your pits a little stinky. Since it isn’t the sweat itself that smells, but the result of a reaction between the sweat and bacteria on your skin, if you can neutralize the bacteria you can stay stink free!
7. Helps Freshen Breath
Another great use for tea tree oil is as a natural breath freshener [learn 4 ways to freshen your breath naturally here]. Those same compounds that kill off odour causing bacteria on the skin can help kill plaque promoting bacteria in the mouth. It’s powerful anti-inflammatory benefits are also great for those who struggle with gingivitis– any condition that ends in “itis” is inflammatory in nature!
The one caveat here is that you don’t want to swallow your mouthwash. Simply combine a few drops with water and swish around in your mouth for about 30 to 60 seconds to freshen your breath and boost oral health. You can even find mouthwashes with tea tree oil already in them, like this one.
8. Powerful Antifungal
Tea tree oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial, but you may be surprised to learn that it’s also a super effective antifungal. In fact, tea tree oil shampoos were shown to kill the fungus Candida albicans, which is often one of the causes of dandruff. Using all-natural, chemical free hair care products is another great way to support a healthy scalp and prevent itchy, dry, and flaky skin.
When it comes to treating fungal infections, tea tree oil can also be used in cases of irritating athlete’s foot and nail infections. Tea tree oil, either alone or combined with conventional treatments has been shown to be effective at killing off the fungus that cause these annoying and irritating conditions. Oftentimes, using tea tree oil can be as effective as the conventional treatments without side effects, making them a great choice for people looking for a more natural approach to health.
You can combine 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with Body Butter, mix together and apply to your scalp, feet or nails.
9. Non-Toxic Bug Spray
Nothing ruins a fun hike or bonfire like being swarmed with bugs, especially pesky mosquitos! Since most bug sprays are loaded with toxins like DEET, they’re not recommended for joyous health. However, some studies show tea tree oil is just as effective as this chemical at repelling mosquitoes. You can make your own bug spray or find an all natural blend that uses tea tree oil for a non-toxic alternative.
If you do end up getting bitten, you can also make a DIY Bug Bite Serum too, here’s a recipe I shared on TikTok when I got stung by a bee in Austria.
10. All-Natural Hand Sanitizer
When cold and flu season hits, a great way to keep yourself healthy is to wash your hands regularly. However, when we’re out and about there’s not always a sink handy, this is when an all-natural hand sanitizer can be super helpful.
We already know that tea tree is a powerful antibacterial agent, but it’s also been shown to be effective against viruses as well, including E. coli, S. pneumoniae, and H. influenzae, all of which can cause illness. You can make your own all natural hand sanitizer or look for one made with pure essential oils including tea tree oil!
11. Non-Toxic All Purpose Cleaner
Conventional cleaners can be loaded with irritating toxins and chemicals (including synthetic fragrances) that are anything but joyous! These cleaners can wreak havoc on our delicate microbiome and can be extra irritating for those who have chemical sensitivities. That’s why I love using essential oils to make all natural cleaning products.
You can use tea tree oil as a great sanitizer that won’t leave traces of chemicals all over every surface of your house. Simply combine tea tree oil with water and vinegar to create a non-toxic all purpose cleaner that smells great!
12. All-Natural Fruit and Veggie Cleaner
Finally, if you want to extend the shelf life of your organic fruits and veggies, tea tree oil is your secret weapon. Adding just a few drops to your water before rinsing your produce can help kill gray mold known as Botrytis cinerea.
How to Choose the Best Tea Tree Oil
Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard regulatory body that governs the purity and potency of essential oils. Many companies claim that their products are the purest and safest, but it can be tough to decipher what’s smart marketing and what is actually safe and effective.
I know you’re going to ask what brand I recommend and, without a doubt, I love Living Libations. In fact, I love them so much they are even Joyous Health Approved–use code JOYOUS to save 15%! NOW essential oils are another great Canadian brand that I recommend.
Joyous Tips For Using Tea Tree Oil
Since essential oils are concentrated, they contain a high amount of the active ingredients. To prevent toxicity or irritation follow these joyous tips:
Is tea tree oil a part of your natural medicine cabinet? Incorporating essential oils and other plant extracts is a great way to live in harmony with nature and support joyous health!
I hope this information inspires you to use this wonderful natural remedy!