Tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternaifolia) was used in Australia for many years by the Bundjalund aborigines for cuts and wounds. While the Aborigines used the leaves from the tree, today an extract is found in health food stores and holistic skin care spas. Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antifungal properties. In 1925, Arthur Penfold, an Australian scientist, completed a 3-year-old study on tea tree oil that concluded it has antiseptic properties stronger than carbolic acid popularly used as an antibacterial. Containing 48 compounds, tea tree oil can be diluted, or after a skin patch test, used neat on the skin.

Things You'll Need

Keep a small bottle of pure tea tree oil in your first aid kit. Tea tree oil can be applied to insect bites, small cuts and rashes.

Make a skin astringent. Fill a dark spray bottle with 4 oz. of spring or filtered water and add 2 oz. of tea tree oil. After cleansing your skin with a mild soap, sweep this astringent to remove other impurities.

Keep tea tree oil handy for acne-prone skin. Dab a cotton ball with full-strength tea tree oil and lightly dab on the pimples. Do not use near your eyes. Repeat as needed and the skin should clear over time–of course eating well and drinking fluids will contribute to faster healing, too.

Combine tea tree with lavender essential oil if you have sensitive skin. Fill a dark colored spray bottle with 4 oz. of jojoba oil and add 1 oz. of tea tree oil and 40 drops of lavender essential oil. Shake to blend thoroughly, and apply to clean skin. It is best used on the body and not the face as it is a heavier oil. The addition of lavender essential oil will soften the tendency of tea tree oil to be drying (as it does with clearing acne).