Let’s be honest, I obsess over many things. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I have an addictive personality, but there’s a reason behind my severe OCD! There are times, however, when my obsession is justified. Cooking, travelling, shoe shopping, makeup – these are all obsessions which have fulfilled my life immensely and for good reason (arguably). Much like the above, tea tree oil has also become an obsession which has long surpassed its label of being a mere ‘phase’.
Studies have shown that scents have the power to trigger emotions or evoke memories. Tea tree oil is one of those scents; which brings me right back to my adolescence. My teenage years were filled with an array of scents – The Body Shop’s White Musk, cherry lipgloss, burnt hair (from all the crimping), and so on, but the pungent punch of tea tree oil sends me travelling down memory lane like no other.
Many of us are aware that tea tree oil is used widely across Australia and has been for many years, but where does it come from? Well it’s the essential oil derived from their native plant Melaleuca Alternifolia; which is indigenous to the south east region of Australia. Its volatile strength and antiseptic properties makes it a popular choice for natural remedies of viruses, fungi, mosquito bites and all sorts of bacteria. Coined as the ‘medicine in a bottle’, tea tree oil is one of those multi-purpose products; which you cannot afford to exclude from your home.
Along with its eye-watering effects, tea tree oil has many cosmetic benefits; which we can incorporate into our every day routine. Most popularly known for its ability to fight against acne due to its anti-bacterial properties, tea tree oil is the perfect blemish treatment on the cheap. Although I’m not a ‘spotty’ person, I do get the odd stress spot (pimples that come up at the most inappropriate of times) and a dab of tea tree oil literally dries them out overnight . Tea tree oil can also be used to cure minor skin aliments such as ringworm, scarring (acne or chickenpox), boils, skin tags and rashes.
I will warn you, however, that tea tree oil must not and I stress MUST NOT be used directly on the skin. This stuff is not for the faint-hearted and although it’s a natural substance, it can cause severe irritation for even the most robust skin. Personally, I would use toxic waste on my skin if it promised a youthful glow, but even I’ve experienced the ‘burn’ from pure tea tree oil on my face.
The simplest way to use tea tree oil is to dilute 8-10 drops with some water and store in an air-tight container (as above). You can use a carrier oil if you’re using the solution as an all-over treatment i.e. facial oil, but simple water will do just fine for blemishes. Use a cotton bud to apply the solution directly over the spot and leave it to ‘dry-out’ overnight. I did once use my fingers, but as a contact lens wearer, let me warn you on how idiotic that idea was.
You can pick up a bottle of tea tree oil from pretty much any drugstore-related retailer on the high street. I picked mine up from Superdrug for a measly £3 and each bottle has lasted me around 4 months. The Body Shop’s infamous Tree Tree Oil range is also a good place to start if you are acne-prone and want to safely transition into a full skincare line. I recently wrote a blog post on my DIY drying lotion; which is also a great alternative to using pure tea tree oil on your skin. If you do decide to go down the authentic route, ensure that you are using pure, organic oil for best use.
Would I recommend tea tree oil to my family and friends? Absolutely! I’ve dabbled in various blemish treatments over the years and although I have come across some great contenders, tea tree oil is by far one of the best homemade remedies for drying out a spot. If you can get over the smell, it pretty much does all the hard work of keep your skin clear and beautiful while you sleep; which is, of course, my preferred kind of beauty treatment!
What are your favourite uses of tea tree oil? Comment below.