A list of essential oils is incomplete without the mention of tea tree oil. This essential oil with a fresh camphor smell is also known as melaleuca oil. Tea tree oil has a number of medicinal properties and it is also used for quite a few topical purposes. Whether it is to treat skin infections or to be used as carrier oil, one can definitely reap a great amount of benefit from this oil.
But like every other essential oil, tea tree oil also has certain side effects which you should be aware of so that it does not cause any harm to you. We have listed down 15 of those side effects. Read on to know what they are!
Tea Tree Oil Side Effects
1. Allergic Reactions
You should never ever take tea tree oil by mouth! There have been a number of instances reported where people have faced various allergic reactions due to taking it by mouth. There are also people who have suffered allergies by applying it on the skin. People who are sensitive to tea tree oil or are allergic to any part of the tea tree oil should stay away from it.(1)
2. Bad Breath
There are quite a few beauty and health blogs which suggest that you can use tea tree oil as a mouthwash. You will also find quite a few recipes on how to go about doing so. But there is a side effect to this use of tea tree oil. Bad breath! Yes, using the tea tree oil as a mouthwash can result in bad breath, bad taste or you can also have a mild burning sensation when the oil comes in contact with the soft tissues in the mouth.(2)
Whether there are any serious side effects of tea tree oil when used by women who are pregnant or lactating is not confirmed yet but they should definitely not consume tea tree oil as it is toxic. In case you want to use it to apply on your skin, it is best to talk to your doctor first and then do the needful.
4. Skin Irritation
When you apply tea tree oil on dry area or broken skin, it will result in one of the most common side effects which is skin irritation. Some of the symptoms of skin irritation include stinging, burning sensation, redness in the area, etc. It is always recommended to do a patch test before using it on any part of your skin. In fact, you should follow this rule before applying any new product as it can save you from a lot of problems.(3)
5. Hormonal Effects
This is a side effect which might affect young boys who have not started their puberty. As per the National Institute of Health, when you use tea tree oil on young boys, there is a possibility that they might get affected with a condition called prepubertal gynecomastia. What it means is that there would be an increase in the production of breast tissues in the boys.(4)
Though some people use diluted tea tree oil, it is advisable not do so. Like we mentioned earlier, it should never be ingested since it is highly toxic. According to the American Cancer Society, swallowing tea tree oil can result in coma, hallucinations, blood cell abnormalities, ataxia wherein your ability to move your voluntary muscles get affected and also your muscle coordination.(5)
7. Blistering Disorder
Another side effect of using tea tree oil is a blistering disorder. This side effect is especially seen in those people who have a linear IgA disease which is an immune disease. So if you are suffering from this immune disease then you need to be extra cautious while using tea tree oil.
You will find a lot of beauty recipes which suggest using tea tree oil with some other carrier oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc. But you need to be extra careful when you use a combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil. This is because this combination may not suit everyone and it can result in rashes all over you skin.
[ Read: Is There Any Side Effects Of Castor Oil ]
Do not use tea tree oil in your middle ear since doing so can be really harmful for you! When you apply large quantities of tea tree oil in your middle ear, it can become toxic. This is another side effect of tea tree oil that you need to be aware of.(6)
10. Stomach Upset
The next side effect of using tea tree oil in our list is an upset stomach. This is again a side effect which occurs only if you ingest the tea tree oil. So as long as you avoid consuming the oil, you are safe from this side effect.
Just like an upset stomach, vomiting is also a side effect which results only when you ingest tea tree oil. All you need to do is remember no ingestion, no vomiting!.(7)
More than a side effect, drowsiness is just a warning that you need to keep in mind while using tea tree oil. I case you notice any drowsy feeling, you can stop using the oil.
Using tea tree oil can result in various inflammation such as mild contact dermatitis which is skin inflammation or inflammation of the mouth, etc. If the inflammation is severe, then do get yourself checked with a doctor.
14. Decrease In White Blood Cells
Ingesting of tea tree oil can lead to another side effect which is a decrease in your white blood cells.
15. Drug Interaction
People who take dietary and herbs supplements should be cautious while using tea tree oil as it can interfere with few of the drugs by using the “cytochrome P450” enzyme system of the liver. Do consult with your doctor before using this oil along with your supplements.
Tea tree oil when used in the correct way is actually quite beneficial to us. So make sure not to loose out on those benefits just by keeping all the above side effects in mind. A proper use will only do you good rather than any harm!
- Tea tree oil- https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-tea-tree-oil/art-20364246
- Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033?via%3Dihub
- Tea tree oil: contact allergy and chemical composition- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cod.12591
- Prepubertal Gynecomastia Linked to Lavender and Tea Tree Oils- https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa064725
- Ingestion of tea tree oil (Melaleuca oil) by a 4-year-old boy- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12813303/
- Abstract- https://avmajournals.avma.org/view/journals/javma/244/1/javma.244.1.95.xml
- Melaleuca oil poisoning in a 17-month-old- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8588296/
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