If you’ve regularly perused the skin care aisle, you’re by no means unfamiliar with tea tree oil and the mystical properties it claims to have. However, with every miracle product comes the inevitable unknowns, so before you rush to the drug store, here’s what you may not know about tea tree oil.
What it is:
Not that you should be using it on deep cuts or infections (for the love of all that is good, if you’re dealing with a skin infection, use only a physician-prescribed antibiotic), but tea tree oil acts as an anti-septic, which explains why it shrinks acne and blemishes so quickly. Also an anti-inflammatory, tea tree oil minimizes the bacteria associated with skin problems “ which helps explain why using it as spot treatment (or as part of a cleaner) is a great way to keep skin looking healthy and fresh.
What it can do:
True, tea tree oil has medicinal properties that add to its near-legendary reputation, but with such strong anti-septic qualities, it can also leave skin dehydrated. Even all-natural products can leave skin burned chemically, so if you fail to follow up a tea tree oil treatment with a decent moisturizer, you’ll find yourself with peeling checks and a damaged t-zone before you know it.
What you can use it for:
The Body Shop’s iconic tea tree oil line helps cement it as a acne and blemish buster, but in addition to abolishing pimples and their counterparts, you can use tea tree to rid yourself of toenail fungus, warts or even oily hair. Naturally, it’s best to speak to a dermatologist before using tea tree oil on anything other than your face (and even then, make sure it’s in a naturally-based face wash), but before you sign up for a prescription-only substance, make sure to ask about tea tree and other natural alternatives.
What you should know:
While you may think tea tree oil is available only in its literal sense, it’s important to realize that tea tree comes in many forms “ including shampoo, face wash and traditional oil. Of course, depending on what it is you’re vying for, it’s key to ask a professional about what they think is best. And if you fear that you might have more of a problem then just a blemish, speak to your doctor before diagnosing on your own.