- Tea tree oil is an essential oil known for its numerous skin-healing properties.
- Many people are choosing this oil to help relieve symptoms associated with eczema.
- When used correctly, diluted tea tree oil can be a safe and effective alternative to traditional creams and ointments.
Using tea tree oil for eczema has been shown to be an effective remedy when used correctly. Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from a plant called Melaleuca alternifolia and is valued for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antimicrobial properties which work to sooth and reduce the symptoms and severity of eczema.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by irritated, itchy, dry and inflamed patches of skin, which may at times blister, weep or peel off. Eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder which often results in persistently reddened areas.
The causes of eczema are not entirely understood but is believed to be a combination of factors: genetics, environmental, abnormal immune function, skin barrier defects and endocrine disorders such as thyroid disease.This condition is more common in children than adults.
Eczema is a term used to describe several skin conditions, including certain types of dermatitis.
Eczema vs. dermatitis
Dermatitis and eczema are often used interchangeably to describe inflammation of the skin characterized by red, dry patches and rashes.
|Type of Dermatitis||Symptoms|
|Atopic dermatitis (eczema)||Chronic|
Often appears on the joints
Red, itchy rash
Dry, flaky skin
|Seborrheic dermatitis (eczema)||Chronic|
Often appears on the scalp and/or face
|Contact dermatitis (not eczema)||Acute|
Occurs as a reaction to contact with an allergen or irritant
Occasional burning or blistering
There are other types of eczema as well; consult a doctor to determine what type you have.
Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Eczema
Tea tree oil has many valuable healing properties to ease the symptoms of eczema.
This essential oil contains the compound terpinen-4-ol which has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it effective at alleviating some of the redness, irritation and swelling associated with eczema flare-ups.
Often, people with eczema cannot help but scratch their itchy patches, which can lead to areas of broken skin. tea tree oil’s antiviral properties can reduce the chances of an infection developing if the eczema causes broken skin or if blisters are weeping.
The proliferation of certain yeasts are known to cause dandruff, itching and seborrheic dermatitis (eczema). This oil’s antifungal properties can help reduce the activity of these yeasts, keeping seborrheic dermatitis eczema at bay.
Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties, enabling it to prevent infections. As an eczema treatment, it can help prevent the spread of itchy patches to other areas of the body, keeping the issue localized and under control as it heals.
This essential oil contains terpinen, which has antiseptic properties. It works to stop or slow down the growth of microorganisms that cause inflammation (such as bacteria, viruses or fungi), soothe irritated skin and effectively relieve itchy, red rashes.
This oil’s antioxidant properties can protect against damaging free radicals and prevent further damage to the skin. Its antioxidant abilities also make it effective at reducing pain and inhibiting the development of wounds and the scars that often accompany them.
Those with eczema often have small areas of broken skin, typically the result of scratching itchy patches. Although further research is needed to ascertain its effectiveness, one study found that this essential oil works to accelerate wound healing.
How Well Does Tea Tree Oil Treat Eczema?
Tea tree oil is an effective natural alternative to traditional eczema treatments such as antibiotics and corticosteroids.
This essential oil has also been shown to be a more effective anti-eczematic agent than both zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate, two other alternative eczema treatments.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Eczema
Tea tree oil is too potent when used in its pure form. To use it safely, it is essential to dilute 1 drop of tea tree oil to 12 drops of a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil before applying it to skin.
You may also consider a skin care product such as soap, face wash or moisturizer that includes the already diluted oil.
Before using this or any essential oil, it is always best to do a spot-test first by applying a small amount of oil to an area of skin and wait 24 hours to see if any adverse reactions develop. Additionally, if you are also undergoing other eczema treatments, always check with your doctor before using tea tree oil.
When selecting the best tea tree oil for eczema, consider the following:
- Opt for an organic oil and ensure it is 100% pure to avoid contaminants
- Choose an oil with a terpinen concentration of 10–40% for optimal benefits
Where on the skin can you apply tea tree oil?
It is generally considered safe to apply this essential oil topically to any external area of the body. Areas commonly treated include the scalp, feet, arms and hands.
If applying the oil to your face or scalp, you may use a pure, diluted oil or choose products specifically designed for these areas. One study found that a 5% tea tree oil shampoo worked well to clear up dandruff without adverse effects.
Can Tea Tree Oil Worsen Eczema?
Yes, allergic contact eczema (or contact dermatitis) can occur with tea tree oil use or worsen existing eczema. Adverse effects are usually related to higher concentrations and overuse, however. Possible side effects in such cases include allergic skin rashes, dryness, itching, skin irritation, and swelling.
If you experience a skin rash after applying this essential oil, stop using the product and speak to a doctor.
Other Essential Oils for Eczema
There are a number of other essential oils on the market in addition to tea tree oil which can be used to treat eczema.
Chamomile essential oil can be applied directly to the skin to treat eczema, as it works to reduce the redness, irritation and inflammation associated with the condition.
Helichrysum essential oil has many different health benefits because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been shown to reduce inflammation associated with eczema due to its ability to fight cell-damaging free radicals.
Lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe the skin and relieve pain, making it an effective treatment for eczema.
Tea tree oil offers numerous potent medicinal properties that are effective in the treatment of many inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial healing properties of this essential oil can help reduce some of the most persistent and severe symptoms associated with eczema and the oil has been shown to be an effective natural alternative to traditional eczema treatments.
Always be sure to do a patch test first, and exercise caution by diluting pure tea tree oil with a carrier oil. If your skin does not tolerate this oil well, there are numerous other essential oils which may help to relieve your eczema.
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