Tea Tree Oil: Can It Cause More Harm Than Good?
The skin care oil craze has taken the nation by storm—from avocado, to coconut, to jojoba…the list goes on—and some skin care buffs are swearing by the benefits of these (and seemingly magic) options. One oil in particular that has been thrust into the spotlight is tea tree oil. The oil—derived from the leaves of Australian-native plant melaleuca alternifolia—quickly shot to fame stateside thanks to its powerful antiseptic properties. Today, you can find it in anything from facial cleanser to toner. That’s all fine and dandy, but is tea tree oil actually all it’s cracked up to be? We asked Dr. Michael Kaminer, board certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com expert, to share his thoughts. Spoiler alert: Don’t ditch your skin care products just yet.
“I’m not a big fan of products like tea tree oil,” Kaminer says. “They can do more harm than good in terms of allergies and more.” Some side effects of tea tree oil can include skin irritation. Yikes! Still, you don’t have to toss your tea tree oil away. “When used as a minor ingredient in topical creams, I am fine with that,” he continued. “But it is not the cure-all that some people think it is.”
Kaminer explains that there’s actually very little, if any, science behind the use of tea tree oil, and most of the reports about its efficacy are anecdotal. It may work well for some people, but it’s certainly not proven to do so. “It is possible that some people can actually be helped by using it, but it would not be my go-to.”
There you have it, folks. When in doubt, always visit your dermatologist for guidance on the best treatment plan for your skin concerns.