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What Is Tea Tree Oil Good For? (Plus, Top 9 Recommendations)

Leigh Maneri
Writer and expert6 years ago
View Leigh Maneri's profile
branch of green leaves
In an age when consumers are increasingly looking back to the earth for their food, so, too, are they looking there for medicine. And leading the pack of natural skin care treatments on the rise? Tea tree oil. The tea tree, or melaleuca, originally found along Australia’s swampy coastline, has made a name for itself as a naturopathic treatment of skin ailments, from acne to fungus. Due to its natural antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, this essential oil is both showing up in pharmaceutical products worldwide and being used on its own as an at-home remedy.While medical doctors may not prescribe tea tree oil directly, many acknowledge its benefits. Dermatologist Dr. Shauna Schneider has worked with an abundance of medications derived from plants that have medicinal qualities. Specifically in tea tree oil, she notes, “The antibiotic and anti-fungal properties give it an effectiveness that is close to some of the traditional prescription products that a dermatologist recommends.” So, knowing that tea tree oil’s main properties lend themselves to a host of ailments, what can tea tree oil treat?


You may have noticed some of the best face cleansers include tea tree oil as its leading ingredient. According to the Therapeutic Research Center, the primary ingredient of tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol. Studies have found that this compound fights pathogenic acne-causing bacteria all the while preserving the skin’s natural flora. In other words, when diluted, tea tree oil is safe enough for direct topical application and does its job without throwing off the skin’s natural ability to heal itself. Especially for those seeking natural acne remedies, tea tree oil is a safe and effective option.


“Tea tree oil may be effective in some of the mild inflammatory ailments that impact the skin,” Dr. Schneider says. According to the Therapeutic Research Center, tea tree oil can reduce both histamine-induced inflammation, such as that from a bee sting and general fluid retention (oedema) like that commonly seen in pregnant women.

Yeast Infections

Tea tree oil has shown effectiveness in inhibiting the growth of candida, a yeast which, upon overgrowth can cause infection such as candidiasis, typically found in the mouth, intestinal tract and genitals. While it is never recommended to ingest tea tree oil, some women have reported efficacy in treating vaginal yeast infections with a topical ointment comprised of aloe vera and tea tree oil.


While most assume dandruff is caused by a dry, itchy scalp, it can also be caused by an imbalance of yeast in the scalp. Tea tree oil’s ability to keep the fungus at bay lends itself to the curing of certain forms of dandruff.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s Foot is a common condition that results from Trichophyton fungi thriving in moist places, like shoes, and feeding on dead skin. In addition to disinfecting the area, tea tree oil destroys fungi. For a foot fungus of any kind, a variety of tea tree oil treatments have been recorded as effective, including foot baths, rubs and compresses with varying levels of concentration.

One 2006 study notes that humans have not shown signs of building resistance to tea tree oil’s efficacy as they have to antibiotics, leading the medical community to believe that it may be key for the long-term treatment of skin ailments. Dr. Schneider recommends trying tea tree oil on a trial basis and seeing a dermatologist if the ailment persists.

Top Beauty Products with Tea Tree Oil 

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1. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil

This facial serum combines clarifying plant oils like black cumin seed oil and tea tree oil with salicylic acid for maximum impact. Massaging this oil into the face after cleansing can not only reduce acne but can also help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

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2. Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Targeted Acne Treatment

This organic clarifying treatment combines salicylic acid with a unique blend of antioxidants, the soothing benefits of cucumber and the bacteria-fighting power of tea tree oil. Applying directly to blemishes after cleansing can lead to clearer, brighter skin.

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3. Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment

This scalp treatment is a leading naturally sourced solution for a dry, itchy scalp. While tea tree oil reduces flakiness and irritation, binchotan charcoal draws out impurities and biotin enables healthy hair growth.

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4.  jane iredale Zap and Hide Blemish Concealer

This pigmented concealer harnesses the power of nourishing botanicals and antioxidants to reduce redness and calm irritated skin, while blurring the appearance of blemishes.

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5. Arcona Tea Tree Mask

Arcona's paraben-free, simple-ingredient mask is ideal for acne-prone skin at any age, allowing you to detoxify and reset your facial skin several times per week. Salicylic acid and tea tree oil extract cleanse the skin while mint balm and lavender extract calm and nourish.

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6. The Organic Pharmacy Peppermint, Tee Tree, Eucalyptus Face Wash

Gentle, yet effective, this tea tree oil-based product washes away acne-causing bacteria and dead skin, allowing you to start and end your day feeling clean and clear.

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7. Elemis Tea Tree S.O.S. Spray

For those experiencing breakouts on the back and chest, this tea tree oil spray is a saving grace. Natural Australian tea tree oil disinfects and neutralizes bacteria.

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8. Fungal Free Nails

This topical toenail fungus treatment delivers an all-natural blend of ingredients directly to the problem nail. Tea tree oil's antiseptic and anti-fungal properties come into play along with camphor and eucalyptus. Continual use offers the promise of a new nail growing in place of the infected nail.

Leigh Maneri
Writer and expert
View Leigh Maneri's profile

Leigh Maneri is a marketing strategist who lives at the beach but lives for the mountains. Embracing the motto "always go," she is completely at home in a tent with her scrappy brown terrier mix. Leigh seeks natural products and foods to best fuel a life of adventure.