There’s no doubt tea tree oil has become increasingly popular in beauty products all over the world. Consumers can find it in shampoos, conditioners, ointments, cleansers and even moisturizers. So, what is it about this wonder ingredient that’s making it the latest buzz word?
What is it?
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca, is a natural antibacterial disinfectant. For thousand of years, aboriginal tribes have used tea tree for healing skin cuts, burns and infections by crushing up the leaves and placing them on the affected area. Tea tree oil comes from Austrailia where over 300 species of tea trees naturally grow, although only one of these three hundred species actually produces the medicinal oil.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from a specific type of tea tree known as “Melaleuca Alternifolia.” The oil is light yellow in color, has a scent similar to nutmeg and is made by steaming the tea tree leaves and then squeezing out — or expressing — the oil.
So, what makes it so good for you and why can it heal wounds?
Here’s the deal: Tea tree oil contains constituents called terpenoids. Terpenoids have been found to have antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Tea tree oil is known to effectively fight a number of infections that are resistant to some antibiotics; making it an excellent natural remedy for hundreds of bacterial and fungal skin ailments such as :
-rashes and other minor wounds/irritations.
In fact, a 1990 study by the Department of Dermatology, published in the Medical Journal of Australia found tea tree oil to be as effective in treating acne as benzoyl peroxide, but without the negative side effects of redness and peeling. Furthermore, the Australian Army includes tea tree oil in soldiers’ first aid kits believing in its great healing power. It’s important to note that as with many other essential oils, tea tree should be used diluted with a carrier oil such as almond, and, as with many other products, it’s a good idea to check in with a professional to make sure that you’re using this product correctly.
So, next time you’re looking for a good, pure way to calm down irritated skin or even help out with your acne–look for products that contain tea tree oil and watch your skin heal itself naturally.