You’ve probably heard of tea tree oil before. But if you’re like most folks if you’ve ever experienced it, it was only as an ingredient in a high-end bath product.
And that’s really a shame because this hard-working essential oil is so super versatile it can go from smoothing rough skin to cleaning off a counter top.
In fact, we think everyone should keep a bottle of two of tea tree oil around. And we’re betting you will agree once you learn how many things you can use it for.
More on some of those surprising uses in just a moment, but first let’s learn just a bit more about this powerful oil.
A native to Australia, there are actually over 300 different species of plants that fall into the category of tea trees. And the oils from these trees have long been a part of the native Australian aboriginal people’s traditional medicine.
The aborigines have used tea tree leaves and oils extracted from them for centuries to heal wounds, smooth skin and treat skin infections. And soon you can put this healing oil to work for you too.
The tea tree oil we use today typically comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. The oil has a bright fresh smell and is usually a light yellow to nearly clear color.
Using tea tree oil for skin care
Depending on how you intend to use tea tree, sometimes it will need to be mixed with a carrier oil.
For facial use, for example, you can mix your tea tree oil with one of the following nourishing, face-friendly oils:
- Jojoba oil
- Borage oil
- Apricot kernel oil
- Peach kernel oil
- Macadamia oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Canola Oil
For body applications there are some additional carrier oils that you can add to the mix including:
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Argan oil
- Rosehip oil
- Wheatgerm oil
10 ways you can begin using tea tree oil TODAY
This adaptable oil has many different uses, and more are being discovered all the time. Today we’re going to touch on just 10 of them.
1. Beat back foot odor:
If you’re battling foot odor tea tree oil may be able to help. Tea tree has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, which means it’s a great choice for battling the bacteria that cause your feet to smell.
You can use the oil undiluted if you wish, but since it is potent it’s best to test in one small spot first to make sure the straight oil doesn’t cause you any skin irritation.
If you don’t have a skin reaction begin by washing your feet with your normal mild soap and drying them off.
Next place 2 or 3 drops of tea tree on a cotton ball and gently swipe across the bottom of your foot and between your toes and then massage in. Reapply the oil—and change cotton balls—as needed, but use sparingly.
Do this twice a day to keep foot odor at bay.
If you have sensitive skin, wish to add more moisture or simply want to make your tea tree oil stretch further you can mix 6 drops of tea tree oil into 1 teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil—such as almond oil or coconut oil—from either of the lists above and follow the same steps.
2. Axe athlete’s foot:
Since tea tree oil is a natural antifungal it’s a great drug-free choice for treating athlete’s foot.
In fact, one study found that tea tree was just as effective at managing the itching, burning, scaling and inflammation of this fungal infection as an over-the-counter drug.
To treat athlete’s foot add about 5 drops of the oil to 1 tablespoon of witch hazel and then apply directly to the problem areas using a cotton ball or cotton swab. Repeat these at least three times a day until the infection has subsided.
Again make sure to do a spot test first to be sure the oil doesn’t cause you any skin irritation.
3. Keep acne under control:
A mixture of tea tree oil and witch hazel is good for more than just fighting foot infections, it could also help keep your skin clear of acne.
In an Australian study researchers tested tea tree oil against a top-selling over-the counter acne medication. The 5 percent solution of tea tree oil performed just as well as the benzoyl-peroxide based brand.
If you want to give tea tree oil a try on your own acne mix 3 or 4 drops of tea tree with around thirty five drops of witch hazel and swipe over your problem areas once or twice a day.
Just like store bought brands this remedy can be drying, or cause skin irritation in some people, so once again a spot test is called for.
4. Fight toenail fungus:
Tea tree is a natural choice for fighting toenail fungus too.
If you’ve ever battled a toenail fungus (onychomycosis) infection you know how tough they are to beat. In fact, some people suffer with these infections for years. But tea tree is proven to be effective.
In one study undiluted tea tree oil applied for six months matched the effectiveness of prescription strength antifungal drugs.
To give this one a try you are going to want to use the undiluted oil.Twice a day use a cotton swab to apply the oil to your toenails for six months until the discoloration is gone.
Make sure to only apply the oil to the nail itself and not the surrounding skin.
6. Banish jock itch:
We bet you’re starting to sense a pattern here.
Jock itch is caused by a fungus, and once again tea tree oil may be able to come to the rescue.
Mix 8 to 10 drops of tea-tree oil into 2 tablespoons of the carrier oil of your choice from the above list. Apply a thin layer to the affected area using a cotton ball and then massage in.
Apply once or twice a day until your symptoms subside.
If you prefer, instead of a carrier oil you can mix the tea tree oil into 2 tablespoons of witch hazel and apply the same way.
6. Gently remove makeup:
Tea tree, mixed with a carrier oil, makes a great makeup remover for most skin types from normal to dry. It might be a bit too much oil for skin that’s already oily, so test a small amount to see.
Mix anywhere from 8 to 10 drops of tea tree into around ¼ to ½ cup of your favorite carrier oil from the list of face-friendly oils above. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball and use as you would any other makeup remover.
Store the leftovers in a sterile container with a tight lid. You can purchase small dark glass bottles online or in certain stores that are perfect for this.
And as always, spot check whether or not your skin is sensitive to the tea tree before using it on your entire face.
7. Soothe dry cuticles:
Put rough dry cuticles behind you once and for all.
Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil into about a tablespoon of your favorite carrier oil from the list above. For variety you can use 5 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of another aromatic essential oil of your choice such as lavender or lemongrass.
Massage several drops of the oil onto your cuticles every day to keep them supple and soft.
Store any leftovers in a sterile container with an airtight lid. The oils may separate a bit between uses so be sure to mix them again before applying.
8. Banish boils:
Boils are often caused by the Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bug and tea tree oil, a natural bacteria fighter, has shown some promising results again staph.
You can apply several drops of the undiluted oil to the boil on a cotton swab twice a day, or mixed with a carrier oil. Continue to apply until the boil has subsided.
Once again be mindful of skin irritation and do a spot test first to be sure the oil doesn’t irritate your skin.
9. Soothe psoriasis:
Tea tree oil is a perfect choice for relieving psoriasis symptoms. The oil can help soothe irritation and itch and soften and loosen psoriasis plaques.
Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil into 2 tablespoons of your favorite carrier oil from the lists above. Massage into any visible psoriasis patches twice a day.
Don’t forget to spot check first!
10. Help keep the house clean:
Tea tree oil can be used to make a terrific bacteria-fighting household cleaner.
Mix two cups water, 1 cup of vinegar and around 20 drops of tea tree oil together and place in a spray bottle. Feel free to add in a few drops of other fragrant essential oils such as lemongrass, lemon or lavender oils to create your own personal mix.
Use your homemade cleaning spray in the bathroom to clean the sink, toilet and tub and use it in the kitchen to clean countertops and appliances.
A couple of words of caution. Always check with your doctor if you’re going to be using tea tree oil for help with healing any sort of infection or medical condition.
As we mentioned earlier tea tree oil can be irritating to your skin if you’re sensitive to it so always do some spot checking first before applying your remedy. And never swallow or use tree tea oil internally or orally.
These are just a few of the MANY uses for tea tree oil. Have you discovered any of your own? If so please share them with us in the comments below.