Botanically known as Melaleuca alternifolia, Cheel or tea tree (Family: Myrtaceae) is a small tree native to Australia. The leaves of the plant used medicinally are the source of valuable therapeutic oil. The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of leaves. The main constituent in tea tree essential oil is terpin-4-ol, present in concentrations of 40% or more. Tea tree oil is effective against a wide range of organisms including twenty seven of the 32 strains of P. acnes. It has good penetration and is non-irritating to the skin.
What Tea Tree Oil Is Used For
• Tea tree oil is often used externally as an antibacterial or antifungal treatment.
• Tea tree oil is used for a number of conditions including acne, athlete’s foot, nail fungus, wounds, and infections.
• Other applications for tea tree oil include use for lice, oral candidiasis (thrush), cold sores, dandruff, and skin lesions.
Special role of tea tree oil in almost all skin disorders
Tea Tree Oil is considered a universal remedy for acne, eczema, skin infections like herpes, wounds, warts, burns, insect bites and nail mycosis.
According to a recent review on the use of plants in cosmetics, Tea Tree Oil is widely employed in skin care for the treatment of sores, blisters, spots, rashes, warts, burns and acne.
Studies & research that prove effectiveness of tea tree oil in acne treatment
One study performed at the Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia (published in The Medical Journal of Australia) revealed tea tree oil`s ability to perform just as well as a common over-the-counter acne treatment, without the side effects.
This clinical trial was done on 124 patients to evaluate the efficacy and skin tolerance of 5% tea-tree oil gel in the treatment of mild to moderate acne when compared with 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion.
The results of this study showed that both 5% tea-tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide had a significant effect in ameliorating the patients` acne by reducing the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions (open and closed comedones), although the onset of action in the case of tea-tree oil was slower. Encouragingly, fewer side effects were experienced by patients treated with tea-tree oil.