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Tea tree skin care: using tea tree oil for treating burns, scrapes and injuries

Updated on August 19, 2009

An introduction to tea tree oil

Tea tree essential oil, which is taken from the paperbark tree of Australia, is an extremely powerful and effective essential oil against many kinds of infections, and it’s an excellent remedy for burns, scrapes, and other types of skin injuries.

Tea tree skin care was first used by Australia’s aborigines, who happened on the healing properties of this tree’s oil quite by accident.

The story goes that the aborigines noticed that certain pools of water had healing properties for the skin; these pools were next to paperbark trees, and when the leaves of the paperbark would fall into the water, the water would leech out some of the tea tree oil, making the water itself seem magical.

Well, tea tree essential oil isn’t magic, but it does work. It's an important tool in our household first aid kit.

Here are a few ways you can start using first aid treatment tea tree oil today.

A tea tree oil commercial plantation in Australia. This image is in the public domain.
A tea tree oil commercial plantation in Australia. This image is in the public domain.

Using tea tree oil

Tea tree essential oil, which can be gleaned from only one of the over 300 species of Australian paperbark trees, is antibacterial, so it can be used to heal infections or to keep open wounds from becoming infected in the first place.

Unlike many other essential oils, tea tree oil is gentle enough that it can be applied directly to the skin; when you apply an essential oil to the skin or hair without diluting it in a carrier oil, aromatherapists call it using the oil neat.

Other antibacterial oils like peppermint and cinnamon cannot be used neat, so the gentle nature of tea tree oil is one of its many benefits.

Burns and tea-tree oil

Next time you get a burn in the kitchen, instead of breaking off a leaf of your aloe plant, which will soothe the wound but won’t keep it from getting infected, reach for a bottle of tea tree oil.

Firstly, of course, you should put the burn under cold, running water for at least 10 minutes.

If it's a severe burn, don't use tea tree oil instead of getting necessary medical attention.

For less serious burns, this amazing essential oil will not only soothe the pain but will also keep the burn from getting infected, something that can happen to even the most minor-looking first-degree burns.

All you need to do is rub a few drops of neat tea tree oil onto the burn one to three times a day, and it will heal up more quickly than it would have had you used nothing but a dry bandage.

If the wound is painful to the touch, put a few drops of tea tree oil on a bandage, and wrap it around the affected area.

Drawing of the tea-tree, from the 1790 book, "Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales" by John White.
Drawing of the tea-tree, from the 1790 book, "Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales" by John White.

Cuts, scraps and tea tree oil skin care

For great tea tree skin care, you can also use this oil on cuts and open wounds.

Next time your child falls on the sidewalk and skins his knee or cut his hand on the playground, simply clean the wound as you normally would and then apply a few drops of neat tea tree oil.

The oil will help the wound heal more quickly by warding off infection, and it will also encourage the growth of scar tissue, meaning your child’s wound will close up faster so he can get back to playing just like he normally would.

If you get nasty, itchy or red bumps after shaving your legs, tea tree skin care is a great solution for you.

To avoid razor burn, simply add a few drops of neat tea tree oil onto your razor before shaving, and after shaving, blend tea tree oil with sunflower, olive, or jojoba oil and rub the blend into the affected area as you would a lotion. Your legs will be smooth, razor-burn free, and moisturised, all at the same time.

Tea tree oil for bumps, bruises, boils, and cold sores

Because tea tree oil can increase blood flow near the skin, it is also a good first-aid solution for bad bumps and bruises.

Next time you smack your thigh on the coffee table, ice the affected area for a few minutes, and then apply a few drops of tea tree essential oil mixed into a comfrey salve.

The combination will be soothing, and it will help your bruise heal up more quickly by encouraging blood flow to the affected area.

Applied neat, tea tree skin care oil can also aid in the healing of boils, cold sores, and cysts. Simply put a few drops of tea tree essential oil on a cotton ball and apply the substance directly to the affected areas.

If the areas also need to be moisturized, as in the case of cold sores on chapped lips, you can also create a blend of tea tree essential oil and a moisturizing base oil such as olive oil.

Apply the blend to the cold sore and the area around it in a combination that is both healing and moisturising.

Tea tree oil in your medicine cabinet

Tea tree oil is excellent for all this and more. Instead of keeping tubes of messy antibiotic cream around your home, just invest in a few bottles of scented tea tree oil for the same purposes.


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    • profile image

      Lou Brooks 3 years ago

      I just want to know if I can use it to keep a suture scar that I received on my forearm recently, from having a few cysts removed. My dr wasn't very clear about what caused mine, but he mentioned the sebacious glands and such, and I clearly don't have HS (as I can tell by the intensity of your collective descriptions)

      I understand that it has anti bacterial properties, and is- by and large- extremely versatile. I still don't really have a clear idea of whether or not it will help suspend, retard, or simply lessen the likelihood of a "frankenscar" on the outer side of my Very Visible forearm, just before the bend at the elbow.

      Any educated, possibly sourced information someone can offer would be Greatly appreciated. Thank you so much

    • profile image

      Mike 5 years ago

      I have found tea tree oil is excellent for sunburns or other minor burns. It is not only immediately soothing, but continues to sooth and heal over time. I won't leave home without it!

    • sweetguide profile image

      sweetguide 6 years ago from River side

      Informative one .Thanks

    • profile image

      Obi Igwe 6 years ago

      Just had a nasty bruise, and after applying the tree oil, most of the pain was gone! Thanks for posting this, you just saved me a great deal of pain.

    • Patricia Rae profile image

      Patricia Rae 7 years ago from Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada

      It's a natural product and as you said, gentle enough to use directly on the skin. Thanks for sharing. Hope more people read this.