#incredibleingredient : Tea tree oil

Tea Tree is a pretty wondrous oil that seems to remedy a wide range of ailments, as well as provide protection against, and treatment for, bacterial infections, fungus and even viruses. It’s been a staple in my skincare routine for years now, and has become one in the same for friends and family of mine at my encouragement.

Especially for cystic acne, tea tree oil is pretty magical. Growing up and even sometimes still, I’ve had to deal with horrible skin. I can still have the normal breakouts, but used to suffer terribly from cystic acne; the kind of acne that feels ten layers beneath the surface of the skin and creates so much pressure that the pain is a constant reminder that you have a monster about to erupt through your chin. It was so bad so that I was a regular at the dermatologist and went on Accutane not once, but twice. Read: I was desperate. Each time I was on that hardcore prescription, my skin would clear into my life no matter the precautions I took.

Then I really started getting interested in skincare and cosmetics. I decided going for a job with Clinique would be not just a way to pay the bills, but to have access to great skincare. I had grown up using some of their stuff, and their brand just seemed so clean with their packaging and right up my alley, since it’s main focus is healthy skin. I was able to find a position with Clinique, but still suffered from horrible bumps from time to time. NOTHING could prevent them or stop them in their tracks; they simply had to run their course. However, I knew there had to be something, so I started digging around on the internet.

Mind you, when I do internet research I pay very close attention to the source, the way an article is written – grammatical or punctuation errors abundant? I move on without trusting the source. And as I continue to read from website to website, I take the common denominators from each, and make sure they don’t all use another one article as their source of information. By doing this, I feel like I can get a pretty accurate assessment of what works and what doesn’t, as well as the true benefits (and potential dangers) of what I’m researching.

Anyhow, I digress….

After a ton of research and sampling of random products, I decided there had to be something all-natural I could find that would be the magic potion. Alas, I came across tea tree oil. I don’t mean tea, as in black or green tea; and I don’t mean just any kind of oil in any kind of container; I mean the pure essential oil of the tea tree leaves that is kept and sold in amber-colored or dark glass jars. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and I loaded up on some bottles and hoped for the best.

Puritan's Pride Vitamins

Before I educated myself on the need for a carrier oil (or at least dilution of a pure oil) I put that stuff right on a cotton ball and all over my face. And let me tell ya…. That shiz burns around the eye area! I later caught on to dampen the cotton ball with a touch of water first, then apply the oil; this makes for a much more pleasant application! And let me let it be known, just because the word “oil” is in the name, does NOT mean it is oily and you do not need to apply a moisturizer. It dries, (and can actually dry out your skin) so you absolutely need to have a good, soothing moisturizer to apply to replenish your skin of good oils and hydration. Once you’ve stripped those natural oils and hydration from your skin from washing your face and applying the tea tree oil, you have to replenish them, or your skin goes into overdrive producing more oil; ergo overdrive in producing more acne. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

When I first started using it, I applied the tea tree oil every single night after I washed my face and before I applied my moisturizer. Now that I’ve gotten my skin pretty much under control (save for those lovely once a month “thanks for eating that apple, Eve!” days and if I eat or drink horribly), I’m able to use the tea tree oil once or twice a week only.

Tea Tree OilTea Tree Essential Oil, Organic

So tea tree oil has been my go-to savior for my skin, but it delivers tons more benefits than just acne treatments. Whenever I’m getting a head cold, a horrible cough or feel stopped up and unable to relieve pressure in my sinuses, I run a warm sink of water, drop a little bit of the oil in it, and sit on the bathroom counter with my feet in the water, head between my knees. It immediately makes me feel a little bit better.

People have been known to use tea tree oil to treat athlete’s foot, ringworm, head lice, and so much more. It’s become a well-known ingredient in shampoos as well, having been thought of to help relieve dandruff and scalp issues; can be found in toothpaste for help to clear up dental plaque, gingivitis and bad breath. And according to Rodale Wellness (I’m obsessed with everything Rodale, btdubs), it’s one of the five best essential oils to have on hand.

Are you a fan of tea tree oil? If so, what do you use it for? And what other oils do you recommend for other needs?

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