In my decade-plus journey to clean up my skin and personal care routine, I’ve fallen in love with essential oils. When I first stumbled upon them, I thought they were just a nice-smelling alternative to synthetic fragrances that are used in aromatherapy diffusers. But over the years, I’ve learned that essential oils can be a complete game-changer to all of your DIYs and beauty regimen. The OG of the essential oil bunch is tea tree: a staple in first aid kits, skincare products, and therapeutic purposes. The crux is that tea tree oil can play an important role in your routine, if you know how to put it to use.
Let’s cover the basics…
So, what exactly is tea tree oil? Tea tree is an essential oil extracted from a small tree’s (Melaleuca alternifolia) leaves, indigenous to the Australia coast, through a highly-concentrated distillation process. It has powerful antiviral, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties that can come in handy when you need to treat various ailments. Traditionally, native Australian cultures used the leaves to relieve fungal infections, burns, insect bites, and coughs & colds.
What to know before buying…
The number of uses for tea tree oil will quickly make it a mainstay of your year-round beauty routine. However, before you buy this essential oil, please make sure you follow a few guidelines to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product.
While you may be tempted by inexpensive prices, it’s best to look stay clear of any cheap tea tree essential oils. Typically, these oils may contain additives and may not be considered non-toxic. Search for oils that have been labeled as “100%” or “pure” and list the oil’s botanical Latin name. Even though you may have to dish out a few extra dollars, try to only buy organic oils with a therapeutic grade oil or a non-GMO label – meaning they are of higher quality, undiluted, and free of toxins.
Using tea tree oil…
Despite its name, tea tree oil is to not be ingested, so it should only be topically applied. And although tea tree oil does have antibacterial and antifungal components, it’s not a be-all, end-all, cure-all for every skin type. If you have any skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema, please seek advice from a dermatologist before using.
Because they’re highly concentrated, essential oils must be handled with care. In almost all circumstances, tea tree oil should be diluted in a carrier before being applied to your skin. To dilute the oil, you can blend a few drops of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil or even water. Failure to dilute it can lead to skin irritation like rashes or burns, or possibly an allergic reaction.
Adding it to your routine…
Now that we’ve covered the general info and safety tips for how to use it, let’s talk a little bit about incorporating tea tree oil into your beauty regimen. Whether you’re looking for at-home hacks or tips, these handy uses for tea tree oil will make you add it to your beauty arsenal.
Skin. Tea tree oil is most popular for skin issues, like acne and acne scars. Since it has antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can kill acne-causing bacteria and makes room for new and clear skin. That’s why it’s highly effective for spot treatment. Make a blemish spot treatment by diluting 3-7 drops of tea tree oil into water or sweet almond oil. I like to add my oil and water mix to a small spray bottle. It helps when distributing it to a cotton pad. It’s also great for balancing oily skin and providing moisture & hydration, if combined with an actual moisturizer.
Hair. Fight the flakes! If you suffer from a dry and itchy scalp, especially this time of the year, tea tree oil can help stimulate and soothe your scalp. You can add it directly to your shampoo bottle or pour a drop or two in your hand and mix it in with your shampoo. Another way to use it is by making it a part of your nightly scalp massage. Again, you should make sure you dilute this with a carrier oil. Add a drop or two to the carrier oil and rub them both together until your fingertips are fully saturated. Gently massage your scalp. These two methods of usage will help heal mild to moderate dandruff.
Nails. Now that winter is making its introduction, we might all notice something very similar happening to all of our hands and nails — they are getting dry, brittle, and discolored quicker. This is simply because of the crisp and cold weather that winter brings. That’s why taking care of your nails and cuticles and giving them good moisture is extremely important. Tea tree oil is a wonderful way to keep your finger and toe nails looking healthy year-round. Pamper your nails by mixing 2-3 drops of tea oil into a half teaspoon of jojoba oil, oregano oil, vitamin E, or olive oil, and massage into your nails and cuticles. Let this sit for about half an hour, rinse with lukewarm water, and moisturize as usual.
There is an essential oil for whatever your need may be. Which oil is your favorite to use?