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Are there any side effects of using tea tree oil?

Like anything that’s used for medicinal purposes, tea tree oil can have side effects in certain individuals. It’s important to understand this, because some people may be more sensitive than others, therefore you should always use caution when trying something new for the first time.

Tea tree oil has been known to cause an allergic reaction in some people, and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should probably avoid tea tree oil altogether so as not to experience any nasty side effects.

Tea tree oil – list of potential side effects

Tea tree oil has been known to produce side effects such as:-

  • redness
  • swelling
  • rashes
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • burning sensation

There has also been some concern that boys using products containing tea tree oil were suffering from gynaecomastia – the growth of breasts. Most products that contain tea tree oil will have less than one percent concentration, making tea tree oil side effects very minimal.

Tea tree oil ingestion side effects

Tea tree oil should never be swallowed as it can be very toxic. Even a small amount (particularly at full strength) has been known to cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, drowsiness and in severe cases coma.

Care should be taken if you use tea tree oil near eyes, lips or genitals, and if using tea tree oil in a mouthwash extra care should be taken not to swallow any of the solution.

Tea tree oil side effects on skin

Tea tree oil side effects on skin are more common – particularly if applied to broken or dry skin or even just sensitive skin caused by conditions such as eczema or rosacea.

It’s always a good idea to perform a patch test if you are prone to allergies or if you are more sensitive than others – simply apply a couple of drops of tea tree oil to the inside of your arm and monitor for any reaction for the next 24 hours.

If the tea tree oil hasn’t produced any side effects as listed above, then it’s probably safe for you to use it, but please take extra care around areas such as the eyes, nose and lips.

Tea tree oil is safe for most people, but it can cause swelling, redness, burning or stinging in some people – especially if using tea tree oil for acne.

Always consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before trying tea tree oil – side effects are rare but are best to be avoided where possible.

The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek medical advice for any questions regarding a medical condition.