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If you’ve ever explored the store shelves in the vitamin section, you may have noticed a little bottle labeled tea tree oil. Tea tree oil, a plant extract, has antiseptic qualities, meaning that it kills germs, and that makes it a useful tool for skin care. Since African-American skin is susceptible to discoloration, using tea tree oil to treat and prevent potentially scarring skin problems such as acne can reduce the risk of dark spots.
Acne is caused by bacteria buildup within your skin’s pores, so to clear up a breakout, you need to get rid of the bacteria. That’s where tea tree oil comes in handy. Since it kills germs, you can use it on your skin to treat acne. Tea tree oil reduces bacteria and inflammation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Apply a few drops of the oil directly onto your skin on the affected areas.
If you’ve ever gotten a fungal infection underneath your fingernails or athlete’s foot, you know how important it is to treat the infection before it spreads. Tea tree oil is considered by some to be a remedy for fungi, according to the website Web MD, but there is not much research to support its effectiveness. To treat and prevent athlete’s foot, apply a few drops of tea tree oil on the skin between your toes or to the infected areas of your feet. To treat fungal infections on fingernails, apply tea tree oil to your nails and the skin around them two to three times a day.
When you mix it with yogurt, tea tree oil acts as a moisturizer for dry skin, says Cynthia B. Olsen, author of “Australian Tea Tree Oil First Aid Handbook: 101 Plus Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil.” Olsen suggests adding a few drops of neroli, carrot seed and tea tree oils to a small container of yogurt and then applying that mixture to your skin. You should leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse it off.
You can use tea tree oil to treat oily skin if you mix it with clay, Olsen says. Create your own face mask by mixing a few drops of lavender oil and tea tree oil into enough clay to cover your face. Apply the mask to your face and let it sit for up to 20 minutes. Then rinse the homemade mask off with warm water followed by cold water to close your pores.