Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca tree. Tea tree oil has only just begun to be scientifically investigated for potential effectiveness against bacterial infections like acne, fungal infections like yeast infections or athlete’s foot, mites such as scabies and head lice and even against viruses such as herpes, chicken pox, shingles, etc. Because it has so many potential uses, tea tree oil appears in a wide variety of lotions, ointments, cleansers, soap, antiseptic treatments. It is particularly commonly marketed as a natural acne treatment – an alternative to benzoyl peroxide. But just like other topical acne treatments, it can lessen the symptoms, but it can’t cure acne. And just like benzoyl peroxide, it can also irritate the skin, so you may need to use smaller doses to build up your skin’s tolerance, or reduce the frequency of use.

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