wikiHow to Treat Skin Conditions with Tea Tree Oil

Four Methods:Treating Rashes and ItchingAlleviating IrritationsHealing Infections and FungusUsing Tea Tree Oil Properly

Although medical science has yet to confirm the use of essential oils to treat medical conditions, many people find using home remedies like tea tree oil on common skin conditions to be helpful. Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). [1] This essential oil has powerful antibiotic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a fitting solution for skin conditions. It should always be diluted with either water or another oil before applying to the skin.

Method 1
Treating Rashes and Itching

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    Use tea tree oil on psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that creates an extra layer of skin especially on the scalp, nails, and sometimes joints. There is no cure. Tea tree essential oil has been known to reduce the spread of psoriasis because of its anti-inflammatory properties.[2]
    • No published research exists to support effective of use tea tree oil for psoriasis, though it may still be worth a try.
    • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a few drops of a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil. Rub this mixture on the affected skin, leaving it on for a few moments before washing off with soap. Pat it dry and rub on a tea tree lotion that treats psoriasis.
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    Rub tea tree oil on acne. Many people use tea tree oil to treat outbreaks of acne. One study compared tea tree oil to using benzoyl peroxide as acne treatment. The study showed that while the peroxide worked slightly better, the tea tree oil had fewer side effects.[3]
    • Mostly tea tree oil is used because of its ability to reduce the redness and inflammation associated with acne.[4]
    • First wash your face. Then soak a cotton swab, cotton ball, or cotton pad in water before applying one or two drops of tea tree oil on it. Rub the affected skin with this cotton, leave it a few minutes, then wash it off and pat it dry.
    • This same anti-inflammatory property of tea tree oil is used to treat eczema and soothe the redness of rosacea.
    • You can find acne washes and lotions containing tea tree oil at the store, or you can make some yourself.
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    Relive itchy rashes. Outbreaks like scabies, hemorrhoids, and contact-allergies like poison ivy and poison oak or sumac all make you suffer with itchy rashes, and all may benefit from tea tree oil. Tea tree oil’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties combine to relieve the itching and swelling that comes with these rashes.[5]
    • Make your own rash treatment by mixing 5-6 drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil and store it in a colored glass jar at room temperature. Massage a small amount onto any rashes, then wash it away after a few minutes.
    • If you believe you have come in contact with poison ivy or its brothers and sisters, wash your skin with soap and water to minimize your reaction.[6]

Method 2
Alleviating Irritations

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    Remove skin tags. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil also work to get rid of skin tags. To do this, take a completely wet cotton ball (soaked in water) and drip 3 drops of tea tree oil onto it. Apply this cotton ball directly onto your skin tag by rubbing it in a circular motion for a minute or two, and repeating this process 2 times a day until the skin tag disappears.[7]
    • It can take up to 10 days to see results.
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    Soothe burns and other wounds. The antibiotic properties of tea tree oil have been known to not only soothe burns, but to prevent skin wounds from getting infected. This includes a wide range of skin sores, from minor kitchen burns to puncture wounds to open sores to sunburns.[8]
    • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil and alternate running the burn under cold water and rubbing in the tea tree oil mixture for ten minutes.
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    Try it on corns. Traditionally, tea tree oil has been effective in treating corns. Corns are bumps that usually occur on the feet. They are characterized by a thick layer of skin that is tender to the touch.[9]
    • Tea tree oil can be rubbed in with a wet cotton ball or in a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil to reduce the swelling and irritation. After letting the tea tree oil rest on the corn a few minutes, wash it away.
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    Treat dandruff. Tea tree oil can be used for dandruff because dandruff can be caused by many things that are treated with tea tree oil—eczema, fungus, and dry skin, to name a few.[10] The same principles that apply to these other skin conditions apply to tea tree oil and dandruff.
    • It is tea tree oil’s antibiotic, antifungal, and antiseptic nature that helps with dandruff caused by skin conditions.
    • You can add 10 drops of tea tree oil to an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo, making sure you scrub it into your roots.
    • You can also combine a few drops of tea tree with a carrier oil and rub it into your scalp, leaving it in 10 minutes or sleeping with it (wear a shower cap to bed to prevent oil transfer). Run a comb over your scalp to loosen flakes before washing it out with shampoo.

Method 3
Healing Infections and Fungus

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    Reduce the inflammation of staph infections. The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil, mainly due to a component called terpin-4-ol, have been known to heal boils caused by staph infections, including the problematic infection known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).[11]
    • Applying tea tree oil several times a day until the infection is gone may help just as much as antibiotics.
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    Soothe infected wounds. Any time that you get an infection in an opening of your skin, consider applying a diluted form of tea tree oil to help reduce the inflammation. Tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties help infections heal.
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    Relieve ringworm. Ringworm is a fungus that manifests in a red, raised, circular bump on the skin. Tea tree oil’s anti-fungal properties can take care of this unsightly ring through repeated application. Try soaking a cotton ball in water, adding 3 drops of oil to it, and rubbing it on the ring 1 or 2 times a day until it disappears.
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    Rub tea tree oil on nail and foot fungus. Other kinds of fungus can be eliminated through use of tea tree oil. Its antifungal properties have been shown to take care of dermatophytes, fungi that can infect hair, skin, and nails.
    • Tea tree oil can fight fungi that cause athlete’s foot and other nail and feet infections (called onychomycosis and interdigital tinea pedis).[12]
    • Soak a cotton ball in water, then add two or three drops of tea tree to it. Rub this cotton over each nail or on your foot, letting your nails dry or washing it off of your skin.

Method 4
Using Tea Tree Oil Properly

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    Gather supplies. In order to apply tea tree oil (and any essential oil), you must first dilute it. This is especially important with tea tree oil because it is such a potent oil. It is suspected to be toxic, so it should never be even slightly ingested. To dilute it, you will either need a wet cotton ball, a container of water, or what is known as a “carrier oil.”[13]
    • The most effective way to dilute any essential oil is with a carrier oil.
    • A carrier oil is a pure oil that is not potent and can be safely rubbed onto the skin. Examples include olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and other natural oils (including neem oil and castor oil).
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    Place carrier oil in a container. Before dripping out the tea tree oil, you need to set up a space for it to be mixed with a carrier oil, and the carrier oil should be poured out first. You can do this in a small dish or in the palm of your hand.
    • You only need one or two drops of carrier oil for a single treatment, but it can be useful to mix up an ounce of carrier oil with 15 drops of tea tree oil.[14]
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    Drip a few drops of tea tree into the carrier oil. Any time that you use tea tree oil to treat a skin condition, you should only use a few drops. If you are using a carrier oil, drop between 1 and 3 drops of tea tree into the oil and mix it together with your finger.
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    Use water. If you are using water, use a lot, somewhere between half a cup and a whole cup, as water makes essential oils spread. If you are using a wet cotton ball, place about 3 drops onto the cotton.
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    Rub into the affected area. Once you have properly diluted the tea tree oil, you can rub it onto the skin condition you are treating. In most cases, you will need to repeat this treatment once or twice a day until the condition has gone away.


  • Always dilute tea tree oil (such as with a carrier oil like coconut, olive, almond, etc.).
  • Consult your physician before using tea tree oil.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene so that you don’t spread contagious skin conditions like ringworm or athlete’s foot.
  • Other skin disorders tea tree might be used for include cold sores, removing ticks, preventing lice and fleas, and as a daily wash to prevent skin problems.


  • Never let tea tree oil come in contact with your eyes. If this happens, see a doctor immediately.
  • If a skin disorder persists after applying tea tree oil for several days, you should consult your doctor.
  • Never swallow tea tree oil.[15]

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