- Sometimes, after an injury, your body makes too much scar tissue, resulting in a keloid or hypertrophic (raised) scar which may feel regularly inflamed or sensitive to the touch.
- Over time, keloid scars may begin to flatten and fade, but they may never completely go away.
- Tea tree oil’s antibacterial properties can reduce your risk of developing an infection in an open wound which can act preventatively against scarring, and may also help to reduce existinging keloids.
Tea tree oil’s antibacterial properties can reduce your risk of developing an infection in an open wound, making it a potentially effective preventative measure against keloid scar formation.
What Are Keloids?
Typically, an injury to the skin results in the body naturally repairing itself with collagen, or thick connective tissue–also known as scar tissue. Sometimes, however, your body overproduces scar tissue, and the result is a keloid or hypertrophic (raised) scar.
Although keloids can begin to flatten and fade over time, they usually never disappear.
Keloid scar treatment has been deemed particularly challenging, largely due to the fact that the cause of keloid scars is not fully understood, however some studies have shown it may be a combination of genetic, local, and systemic factors, and is connected with chronic inflammation in the skin.
Although keloid scars are not harmful, they can be difficult to live with due to their raised, often inflamed appearance, as well as a chronic sensation of irritation for some.
While many people opt for surgeries, laser treatments, or cortisone injections to get rid of keloids, natural alternatives like tea tree oil are highly sought after.
Can Tea Tree Oil Treat Keloids?
The answer is yes and no.
The limited research has found tea tree oil to be effective at treating inflammation-related skin problems, but in the case of keloids, tea tree is more effective used preventively.
The anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antifungal and anti-microbial properties of tea tree oil prevent bacterial infections and accelerate wound healing, acting preventatively against the formation of keloid scars.
However, while some say tea tree oil can help diminish the appearance of keloids and inhibit their growth with regular use, there is no evidence to show that tea tree oil reduces existing keloids. It’s likely that those who see some success are treating freshly formed keloids.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Keloids
To use tea tree oil on a wound or freshly formed scar, use the following recipe for best results.
Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils
Tea tree oil helps kill infections that may cause keloid scarring while lavender essential oil’s anti-inflammatory properties may help limit the potential size of a keloid.
- 2-3 drops tea tree essential oil
- 2-3 drops lavender essential oil
- Mix equal parts lavender and tea tree oil.
- Apply onto your keloid.
- Leave it on as you would an ointment.
- Repeat daily.
Pairing antiseptic and anti-inflammatory tea tree and lavender essential oils may help reduce the likelihood of scarring after. However, there is no research on their combined effects.
Using tea tree oil for piercings
Tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties make it an effective ingredient in piercing aftercare.
It can be used to care for piercings during the healing process as well as long-term to minimize irritation and prevent infection.
However, tea tree oil should not be used as a substitute for your piercer’s recommended cleansing routine.
Using it for keloids on the face
Topically applied tea tree oil is considered safe for topical use in most areas, including the face.
However tea tree is strong and may cause redness, burning, or irritation if applied in its undiluted form. Mix tea tree oil with an equal amount of carrier oil (such as almond or coconut oil) to create a milder topical solution.
Can Tea Tree Oil Make Keloids Worse?
Unless you have a sensitivity to tea tree oil, it should not make keloid scars worse when properly diluted.
If you experience itchy, red skin after using tea tree oil, you may have an allergy or intolerance and should cease use immediately.
While tea tree oil is a powerful natural remedy for many skin conditions, it won’t help remove existing keloid scars.
Instead, try applying diluted tea tree oil to fresh wounds to reduce your risk of infection and speed up the healing process. This may reduce your risk of scarring.
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- Ogawa R. (2017). Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars Are the Result of Chronic Inflammation in the Reticular Dermis. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(3), 606. doi:10.3390/ijms18030606
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- NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2016) Tea Tree Oil. nccih.nih.gov/health/tea/treeoil.htm