Tea tree oil (TTO), also called melaleuca oil or ti tree oil, is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which grows in Southeast Queensland, Northeast coast of New South Wales and Australia.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has a smell of fresh camphoraceous odor and has a color that changes from pale yellow to mostly colorless and clear. The tea tree is quite different from the tea plants that is used to make tea.
According to the International Standard ISO 4730, tea tree oil contains 15 components, and having a fresh and camphor-like smell.
Tea tree oil composition, as per ISO 4730 (2004)
 SCCP/1155/08 Scientific Committee on Consumer Products SCCP OPINION ON Tea tree oil – European Union Commission Health and Consumer Union protection director general – adopted 18th plenary of 16 December 2008
Six different chemical combinations have composed tea tree oil, a terpinen-4-ol type, a terpinolene type, and four 1,8-cineole types.
Among all these oil compounds, terpinen-4-ol is the major component and responsible for antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
So the chemicals containing in tea tree oil can eliminate bacteria and fungus, and reduce allergic skin reactions.
What do you need to notice about tea tree oil?
For most people, tea tree oil is safe to use. But in some cases, it causes skin irritation and swelling. Sometimes, people with acne may find skin to be dry, itch, sting, burn and red after using tea tree oil. So do not overuse tea tree oil because of its high potency.
To young boys who are not puberty, it should be careful to use any products that contains tea tree oil or lavender oil. It’s because these products may have hormone effects, which can disrupt the normal boy’s hormones. The consequence is to cause boys to develop abnormal breast growth called gynecomastia. There is no evidence to show that tea tree oil has side effect to girls.
Tea tree oil can not be taken by mouth. Any undiluted essential oil could cause severe side effects by taking by mouth. Taking tea tree oil will cause confusion, inability to walk, unsteadiness, rash and coma.
Tea tree oil or Melaleuca is a truly versatile essential oil. Tea tree oil has an outstanding effect on cleansing and rejuvenating skin.
Tea Tree Oil Benefits
Right now tea tree is widely uses in many fields. In the following, the two main benefits are introduced.
Tea Tree Oil for Acne
The most common and widest usage of tea tree oil is to treat acne. It is also considered to be one of the most effective home remedies for acne. Before understanding why tea tree oil works, we need to know what causes acne.
Acne has become many people’s concern, which can start at the age of 11-14 and continue to our 50s. At the age of 11-14, hormones in both males and females surge and stimulate the oil glands of face, chest and back to generate more oil.
The oil gland and hair follicles are connected, and the skin is filled with oil through the hair follicle. The overabundant oil, sebum, is mixed with dead skin cells to generate a plug. Then bacteria will grow under the nourishing of oil and cells. Bacteria cause inflammation breaking down the follicle. The skin round the oil, dead cells and bacteria is infected, having more inflammation, swelling and pus.
Terpinen-4-ol is contained in tea tree oil, having the amazing function on antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. And the chemicals of tea tree oil can eliminate bacteria and fungus, reduce allergic skin reactions.
A tiny amount of tea tree oil can penetrate the skin and unblock sebaceous glands, in the meanwhile, disinfect the pores.
Tea Tree Oil for Hair
One other common use of tea tree oil is for hair. Considering tea tree oil topical cleansing, rejuvenating and purifying ingredients, tea tree oil can offer a chemical-free care to hair and scalp, in a soft and gentle way. Tea tree oil can soothe dry flaking skin and remove dandruff.
Besides dandruff, tea tree oil can also release an itchy scalp, with a gentle way, not causing other problems like hair loss. It’s because an itchy scalp is always caused by a fungus, bacteria or an allergic reaction. And tea tree oil has incredibly effect on these problems. In some cases, it may help cure scalp eczema and scalp folliculitis.
How do I apply tea tree oil?
According to the study of the Department of Dermatology, Australia’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, “5% tea-tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide had a significant effect in ameliorating the patients’ acne.” Apply the tea tree oil to skin once or twice a day with a cotton swab.
For hair care, you can choose the shampoo with tea tree oil ingredients, or you can add 2-3 drops in the shampoo before washing hair.
or you can drop 10 drops of tea tree oil on your scalp before your hair is dry with soft massage. It’s very effective to remove dandruff.