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Andrea H.

Coming to Terms with Sensitive Skin: The Danger of Using Tea Tree Oil

By: Andrea H.

A big part of being a redhead is having sensitive skin, some redheads more than others. Sometimes it is frustrating finding products that don’t bother your skin. It’s not uncommon for some redheads with especially sensitive skin to classify their irritations as allergies due to monstrous reactions.

One of the biggest culprits is laundry detergent, next is cosmetics and skin care products. Most of the time these big reactions are due to harsh and abrasive chemicals, and it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these “evil doers”, but due to the newly popularized natural antiseptic/antimicrobial tea tree oil, I thought I’d focus this article on it and the dangers of using it as a “natural solution” to harsh chemical products.

Tea Tree Oil, also known as “Melaleuca Oil”, is a newly popular natural antiseptic which is dangerous in large and undiluted amounts. If consumed it can do damage to the Central Nervous System. Traditionally, the eastern aboriginal people of Australia use the Tea Tree plant as a traditional medicine by inhaling the oils from the crushed leaves to treat coughs and colds. They also sprinkle leaves on wounds. Tea Tree Oil is now found in numerous cosmetic products. From shampoos, to bug bite treatments, to facial washes.

Due to the sensitive nature of a redhead’s skin type and the harsh nature of Tea Tree Oil, it is not a good idea for redheads to use products that have any amount of Tea Tree Oil in them, whether those products are for applying directly to the skin or adding to cleaning fluids that may come into contact with skin. In addition to Tea Tree Oil being in cosmetics, it can also be used as a replacement or booster for floor and toilet cleaner and can be used to cut back on bacterial growth in septic tanks.

With all of that being said, it may seem like you’re missing out on a good thing, but there are plenty of great products that will work for what ever issue you may have, and, because your skin is already so sensitive, you don’t need this harsh for your skin’s issue!

There are plenty of brands that almost seem to manufacture products especially for redheads.

My favorite “redhead friendly” products are: The forever delightful Burt’s Bees, my all-time go-to brand Alba BotanicaSay Yes to Cucumbers (a division of Say Yes to Carrots) and Clinique. If Acne is your issue, Burt’s Bees and Clinique have sensitive, Tea Tree Oil-free, solutions for you. Alba Botanica’s ‘Pineapple Enzyme’ cleanser is perfection for every skin type and a dream for gently washing away the post-summer-camping or late-night-out grime. Say Yes to Cucumbers also has an array of products perfection for daily maintenance.

But if you feel so bold as to give tea Tree Oil a try, be sure to try it on the inside of your forearm and allow 24hrs to pass before making a decision on the product. If ANY irritation occurs, do not purchase the product.