Tea tree oil acne treatment is an acne treatment that uses tea tree oil as a natural alternative to chemical substances. Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of a tree found in Asia and Australia, the melaleuca altemfolia tree. The leaves of the melaleuca altemfolia tree were, historically, used to make tea, which is how the name, tea tree, originated. The oil, which is extracted from crushed leaves, contains the substance, terpenoids, which kills fungus and bacteria.
This oil has also been used to treat cold sores, athlete’s foot, bad breath and body odors. Applied topically,(100) it has proven effective in fighting fungus, bacteria and viruses. The oil, used in tea tree oil acne treatment, is effective in fighting bacteria and lessening the inflammation associated with acne. Tea tree oil is often used to replace the chemical, benzoyl peroxide, in natural acne treatments. While tea tree oil is credited with reducing the symptoms of acne, it is not defined as a cure.
Tea tree oil is available as an ingredient in ointments, lotions and soaps. It is also available as pure oil, which is, often times, diluted for topical use. Many acne patients have acquired relief(200) from topical applications, while others have experienced sensitivity to the use of tea tree oil. Acne patients are encouraged to test the oil or oil-based products on an unaffected part of the skin to rule out any allergic reactions to the oil. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to topical applications include red, itchy rashes, eczema, skin swelling and inflammation of the mouth. Some of these symptoms could falsely indicate a worsening of acne, if applied to an area of the skin that is already infected.
Because tea tree oil(300) is a natural extraction, it is considered an herb. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration do not fully regulate herbs or dietary supplements. As such, you have no guarantee of the strength and purity of tea tree oil products. Uses of tea tree oil have stemmed from tradition and scientific theories. No thorough studies have been cited that include humans and the limited scientific theories do not adequately address safety issues.
Acne patients are encouraged to consult with their physician and pharmacist before becoming engaged in tea tree acne treatment. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are discouraged from using tea(400) tree oil or products that contain the oil. The effects on fetus, newborn and infant babies have not been studied nor fully understood. Likewise, interactions with other herbs, drugs or supplements have not been thoroughly studied.
Preliminary studies indicate that excessive dry skin and peeling may result from combining other acne treatment drugs with tea tree oil. Acne patients should use extreme caution when experimenting with over-the-counter treatments. Drugs, suspected of poorly interacting with tea tree oil, can be easily purchased at your local drug store and mistakenly combined with the oil. Tea tree oil may be advertised(500) as organic or pure, with prices ranging from $20 to $35 per 2 fluid ounces.
Taken orally, tea tree oil is toxic, even in small doses. The oil can create complications to the central nervous system, abnormal blood counts and stomach discomfort. Tea tree oil should be handled with extreme care and kept out of the reach of children. It has been reported that children have suffered the following complications because of orally digesting tea tree oil:
* Muscle weakness
* Muscle tremors
* Loss of coordination
* Difficulty walking
In addition to allergic reactions, topical applications of tea tree oil may cause other side effects that include:
* Excessive drowsiness
* Poor coordination