What Are Possible Tea Tree Oil Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
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  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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Tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil, can potentially treat several different health issues, although it is perhaps best known for its ability to kill bacteria and fungus. Despite its many benefits, however, there are some tea tree oil side effects that consumers should be aware of prior to usage. When swallowed, it can cause severe health issues, and some people are allergic tea tree oil even if it is only used topically as directed. If used in combination with medications that can affect the skin, severe dryness is one of the most common tea tree oil side effects. In some cases, it can cause hormonal changes in young boys when combined with lavender oil.

Generally, tea tree oil is considered safe for most people when used topically; however, this is not true when ingested. If swallowed, tea tree oil can be toxic, and potentially cause a coma. In most cases, tea tree oil side effects when ingested include disorientation, loss of control over one’s limbs, and the development of a painful rash. When tea tree oil is consumed, immediate medical attention is necessary.


As with most topical skin treatments, there are some people who will be allergic or sensitive to tea tree oil. Irritation at the application site is one of the primary indicators that a person is allergic, including itching, redness, and inflammation. A true allergic reaction to tea tree oil can cause the same type of health issues as other allergic reactions, including difficulty breathing and a breakout of hives.

One of the most common tea tree oil side effects occurs when it is combined with other medications that cause dryness in the skin. In many cases, tea tree oil is used to treat acne, and can help to kill any bacteria causing breakouts as well as dry out existing breakouts so that they heal more quickly. When combined with other acne medications that work similarly, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, excessive dryness can occur, which may cause peeling, itching, or extreme discomfort.

The combination of tea tree and lavender oil can cause young boys to develop excess breast tissue. As of 2011, researchers have yet to discover why exactly this occurs, although some believe the combination of the two products causes changes in a boy’s hormones. While there are some products that contain both of these oils, these side effects can occur even if the two oils are not contained in the same product, but a person uses two products containing one of the oils at the same time.


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Post 3

I think I'm allergic to tea tree oil. I used a face wash with tea tree oil today. I had never used anything with this oil before. Soon after I used the product, my face started to burn. I looked in the mirror and my face was completely red. I washed my face again and again. Then, I applied some rash cream which stopped the burning. I don't think I'm going to use tea tree products ever again.

Post 2

@SarahGen-- I believe that tea tree oil is toxic for dogs and other small animals. It could cause mild side effects in dogs like upset stomach and diarrhea. But it could also cause very serious side effects like liver damage and death. The side effects are usually worse if undiluted tea tree oil is used or if the dog is small.

I'm sure that there are other, safer treatments you can use for your dog. Don't use tea tree oil or any other essential oil. Most essential oils are toxic for pets.

Post 1

Does tea tree oil have side effects when it's used for pets?

I read that diluted tea tree oil can be used for lice. Can I use it on my dog?

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