From beauty products to natural cleansers, tea tree oil is definitely having a moment. But beyond its current trend status, this essential oil has been used for centuries by indigenous groups in Australia to promote targeted healing. Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, a small tree native to southeastern Australia, but it’s since become popular all over the world. Whether you’re looking to resolve a specific wellness issue or simply boost your natural beauty arsenal, here are 15 of the best uses for tea tree oil. Read on to learn some genius everyday uses.
Meet the Expert
There’s a good reason that tea tree oil has been showing up more and more in our favorite shampoos. A natural cleanser, tea tree oil supports hair health without the use of chemicals, making it an ideal ingredient for restoring hair to its natural beauty and shine.
In addition to promoting hair health, tea tree oil can also keep your scalp healthy. Tea tree oil helps to reduce itchiness and flakiness and fights the buildup of residue on the surface of the scalp. Gary Goldenberg elaborates, "It helps eliminate accumulation of dead skin layers and scale. It also has strong antimicrobial properties making it an effective agent for fungal infections of the scalp."
"Patients who struggle with dandruff may find a lot of relief using tea tree oil. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help relief inflammation and irritation of the scalp.
One hair product with tea tree oil that I love is OGX Hydrating TeaTree Mint Shampoo and Conditioner," says G. Goldenberg
While there’s no substitute for allergy medication if you’re dealing with a serious aversion, tea tree oil can help to combat the redness and itchiness that often accompany an allergic reaction.
All-Natural Hand Sanitizer
Many hand sanitizers rely on alcohol and chemical ingredients, but tea tree oil’s power comes from its natural antibacterial properties. Keep an ounce or two on hand for germ-related incidents.
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, and sometimes you have to fight oil with oil. Tea tree oil helps to keep naturally occurring skin oils in check, which, together with tea tree oil’s antiseptic qualities, can help to reduce acne breakouts. "However, it’s important to remember that facial skin is sensitive and this ingredient can cause an allergic reaction causing dryness redness and scaliness in the skin," Goldenberg warns, "I always recommend first trying a test area to make sure there is no reaction before applying it to the rest of the face.
Since tea tree oil is outstanding at killing bacteria, one of the best uses for tea tree oil is as a natural mouthwash. Mix a tiny amount (a drop or two will do) with warm water and swish for about 30 seconds once or twice daily.
Clean Your Toothbrush and Retainer
Take it one step further by also using this miracle oil to disinfect your toothbrush and retainers. Due to tea tree oil's ability to kill bacteria, it is a great natural way to keep these product clean and bacteria free. Mix 5-10 drops of the oil in with water water and soak your oral products for a few hours to fully clean.
One of the lesser-known uses for tea tree oil is as an insect repellent. Tea tree oil can be rubbed directly on the skin or mixed with water and applied as a spray.
As cold and flu season persists, it’s the perfect time to put your essential oils to work. Enjoy the air-purifying benefits (and calming scent) of tea tree oil by combining it with lavender and adding it to a vaporizer or diffuser.
All-Purpose (and All-Natural) Cleaner
As with other natural remedies derived from tea tree oil, a successful all-purpose cleaner can be made with a very small amount of the substance and is one of the best uses for tea tree oil. Mix 15 to 20 drops of tea tree oil with a half cup each of warm water and vinegar, spray a surface and wipe clean.
Soothes Insect Bites
Tea tree oil soothes itching and helps with inflammation, making it the perfect holistic way to treat insect bites. From itchy mosquito bites and beyond, dilute a bit of the oil in some water and apply using a q-tip to the affected area.
Treat Cuts and Scrapes
Because of its capacity to fight fungus and bacteria, tea tree oil is an ideal choice for treating minor scrapes and wounds. Apply directly to clean skin two to three times daily to speed the healing process.
K. Goldenberg states, "Tea tree oil is great for cuts and scrapes for two reasons. Firstly, it has antimicrobial properties that help prevent infections of open wounds. Secondly, tea tree oil has anti inflammatory properties that can help the wound heal faster. It helps reduce redness and swelling. Small amounts of the oil can be applied directly on the skin."
"Remember to not use Tea tree oil instead of conventional therapies but in addition to since there is not enough evidence to show that tea tree oil is as effective as medical therapies. It has been show to accelerate healing though," K. Goldenberg warns.
Tea tree oil is anti-fungal, meaning it kills bacteria. Try it for treating athletes foot and other common fungal infections. Add about 20-30 drops drops into a bath or basin and soak the infected area for 20-30 minutes. Repeat as often as necessary.
The common cold has nothing on tea tree oil. Due to its ability to calm inflammation, it's a great way to clear congestion such as a runny or stuffy nose. Apply a few drops into your diffuser or add to a warm bath. Relax with some deep breathes.
Make Your Own Deodorant
The combination of sweat and bacteria is what makes our armpits, well, smell. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in some water and apply to underarms as a great natural deodorant. The oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial to keep you smelling fresh all day long, naturally. "However, it can cause irritation since the skin of the underarms is very sensitive," K Goldenberg says.
"If one wants to use tea tree oil in their deodorant, I recommend moisturizing the area with a gentle moisturizing cream (not lotion) multiple times a day to prevent irritation," says K. Goldenberg