A Guide to Tea Tree Oil for Eczema

Medically Reviewed By Kerry Boyle D.Ac., M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., CYT

Though more research is needed, tea tree oil may help relieve some symptoms of eczema, such as itching and inflammation. However, it may cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis in some people. Your dermatologist may recommend applying diluted tea tree oil to a small area of your skin to see if it causes irritation. Common carrier oils for tea tree oil include jojoba oil, almond, and sunflower seed oil.

This article examines the potential benefits and risks of tea tree oil. It also covers other remedies for eczema.

Does tea tree oil help with eczema?

A person using a dropper to apply oil to their hand
Eddie Pearson/Stocksy United

Tea tree oil contains various compounds that can offer antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic or pain-relieving effects. These effects may help relieve eczema symptoms for some people.

However, studies that specifically focus on the use of tea tree oil for eczema are limited. More research is needed to determine how the oil may fit into an eczema treatment regimen.

What are some potential benefits of tea tree oil for eczema?

A study published in 2010 found that tea tree oil may be beneficial as an anti-eczematic agent. It may work against the effects of allergic contact dermatitis.

A 2022 review Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source of several studies also suggests that tea tree oil has an antiparasitic effect. While more research is needed, it may help counteract house dust mites, which can trigger eczema symptoms.

People with eczema often have Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source damaged skin barriers that are prone to recurrent infections. A 2018 study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source explains that the antimicrobial properties of essential oils such as tea tree oil may help treat wound infections.

Tea tree oil has also been shown Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source to have antifungal properties. Some evidence Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source suggests that certain fungi, such as Malassezia and Candida, may influence eczema symptoms.

Learn 8 health benefits of tea tree oil.

What are the possible risks and side effects of tea tree oil for eczema?

Tea tree oil may cause irritation or contact dermatitis in some people. This is according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Trusted Source National Cancer Institute Governmental authority Go to source .

When using a product for the first time, dermatologists recommend testing it on a small area of your skin. Apply the product twice per day for up to 10 days to see how your skin reacts.

If you do not develop any irritation or rashes, you may be able to continue using the product. However, if you develop a skin reaction, stop using the product. Instead, you can try applying petroleum jelly to the affected area to relieve your symptoms.

Side effects are more likely to occur Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source if you use tea tree oil in higher concentrations. You should not consume it orally. Doing so could cause serious adverse effects, such as difficulty breathing or confusion.

How should you use tea tree oil for eczema symptoms?

Tea tree oil can be drying if you use it on its own. To avoid this, try diluting it with a carrier oil, such as coconut, almond, or avocado oil. You can then apply the oil to your skin or mix it with hand creams or soaps.

You can also buy shampoos containing tea tree oil or add a few drops to your regular shampoo.

Is tea tree oil safe to use on babies with eczema?

There are no studies evaluating the effects of tea tree oil on babies’ skin. If you think that your child has developed eczema symptoms, talk with your pediatrician before trying any treatments or home remedies.

What are other home remedies for eczema?

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Trusted Source National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Governmental authority Go to source recommends the following tips for people with eczema:

  • Avoid scratching the skin.
  • Moisturize the skin, especially after bathing.
  • Limit exposure to eczema triggers, such as harsh skin care products or detergents.
  • Avoid clothing made of substances that can irritate the skin, such as wool.
  • Use fragrance-free products.

You may also benefit from a colloidal oatmeal bath or cream. A 2020 study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source noted that oats may help reduce itching, inflammation, and dryness. 

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) Trusted Source National Institute on Aging Governmental authority Go to source recommends consulting a doctor if you take medications, as some may cause your skin to become dry.  Staying hydrated, quitting smoking if you smoke, and applying sunscreen may also be beneficial.

Learn more about home remedies and medical treatments for eczema.

When should you see a doctor for eczema symptoms?

It may be a good idea to contact a dermatologist if you have eczema symptoms. These include:

The dermatologist may ask about your medical history and other factors that may be triggering your eczema.

The National Health Service (NHS) states that the following factors may increase your likelihood of developing eczema symptoms:

Learn more about eczema triggers.

Other frequently asked questions

Kerry Boyle, D.Ac., reviewed the answers to these commonly asked questions about tea tree oil for eczema.

What can I mix with tea tree oil for eczema?

Tea tree oil can be drying on its own. To help with this, you can mix it with a carrier oil of your choice. Carrier oils include almond, avocado, sunflower seed, and jojoba oil. You can also mix a few drops with your regular shampoo or cream.   

Can you put tea tree oil directly on your skin?

You can apply tea tree oil directly to your skin if it is diluted. You can also mix it with another oil such as almond or jojoba oil before applying. 

Can you use tea tree oil for eczema on your face?

Talk with your dermatologist before using tea tree oil on your face. They may recommend products that are specifically designed for the face, scalp, or eye area.

Summary

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that may be beneficial for people with eczema. However, more research is necessary to understand its effects.

Some people who use tea tree oil may experience side effects, such as skin irritation and contact dermatitis.

Talk with your doctor before using tea tree oil for eczema.

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Medical Reviewer: Kerry Boyle D.Ac., M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., CYT
Last Review Date: 2023 May 26
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