Is Tea Tree Oil Safe During Pregnancy?
Tea tree oil is a potent essential oil with a wide variety of uses. Diffusing this incredible oil has been known to help induce clear thinking and ease the mind. There are soothing tea tree oil recipes for everything from acne bumps to itchy scalps.
Parents often add tea tree oil to medicated head lice treatments to help with lice in their children’s hair. Tea tree oil balms and cuticle creams help ward off nail fungus. In fact, tea tree oil is commonly added to soaps, shampoos, body washes, household cleaners and many other products— some you may already be using.
Considering the amazing benefits of tea tree oil (and its prevalence in common products), one of our most frequently asked questions from expectant mothers is “Can tea tree oil be used safely during pregnancy?”
Just because you can find an ingredient in hundreds of common products doesn’t mean it’s safe to use while pregnant. Before using tea tree oil during your pregnancy you should learn the facts, and understand how to properly use it for maximum benefits.
We’ve compiled a list of the most important information you need to know about using tea tree oil while pregnant, and some safety precautions to follow. Remember, it’s also always a good idea to consult with a trusted medical professional if you have doubts about using any product during your pregnancy.
Tea Tree Oil Benefits & Facts
Derived from the leaves of an Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil has many useful benefits when used topically or with an essential oil diffuser. Topical benefits of tea tree oil include helping avoid breakouts, soothing mild skin issues and naturally combating body odor.
The amazing benefits of tea tree oil for skin are mostly from its antimicrobial activity. Reducing bacteria and fungi on the skin by cleansing with tea tree oil helps calm breakouts, itchy scalps, toenail fungus, body odor and chance of infection in minor wounds.
Around the house, the antibacterial quality of tea tree oil can be used as a natural all-purpose cleaner, and as a natural safer way to discourage prevent bugs and pests. Diffusing tea tree oil also has potential to improve indoor air quality, which is great for cold season and freshening stale air.
Tea tree oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that helps comfort irritated skin to reduce puffiness and redness. Blemishes and minor first-aid issues can be calmed by applying a mixture of tea tree oil with natural ingredients such as aloe.
Homemade Natural Solutions
Considering the antimicrobial and soothing properties of tea tree oil, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular essential oil for homemade personal care recipes. Tea tree oil is a wonderful alternative especially when you’re trying to cut out as many harsh synthetic chemicals as possible.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil Safely and Effectively
First and foremost, these are the essential oil safety guidelines should always be followed when using tea tree oil.
Always Dilute the Tea Tree Oil Prior to Use
It is imperative that you read about how to properly dilute essential oils before using tea tree oil. This can be done in several easy ways. First, consider blending it with a carrier oil. Second, you can also blend tea tree oil into unscented body care products.
Additionally, tea tree oil can be diluted by diffusing in an essential oil diffuser. The oil is not only diluted by the water in the diffuser machine but also the vapor your diffuser produces is then further diluted by mixing with air.
Always Test for Tea Tree Allergies When Using Topically
You should never use essential oils topically without testing how your skin will react. Allergies are very personal and what is fine for some may cause irritation in others. Before using tea tree oil, you should perform a small skin patch test to see how your skin reacts.
To test how tea tree oil reacts with your skin, you will need soap and water, a clean dry towel, 1-2 drops of jojoba oil, tea tree oil and an adhesive bandage. Follow the instructions below.
Choose a test area. The inner elbow or inner wrist are good areas because they’re sensitive but also to quickly rinse off if you experience irritation.
Use soap and water to cleanse the test area and pat dry.
Mix 1-2 drops of aloe or jojoba with 1 drop of tea tree oil. Dab mixture on test area, apply bandage.
Leave undisturbed for 24 hours, unless you feel burning or itching. If you feel uncomfortable wash the area with soap and water immediately.
After 24 without discomfort or irritation, you’re good to go.
Use Extra Caution If You Have Sensitive Skin
In certain cases, tea tree oil has been found to irritate the skin. This is why it is so important to do a patch test and also dilute tea tree oil before using. If you suffer from overly sensitive skin, you should avoid using tea tree oil in your skin care routine until you’ve consulted with a doctor.
Specific rare side effects of applying tea tree topically include dryness, itching, redness and a stinging sensation. If you experience any of these effects, stop use and check with your dermatologist for recommendations for incorporating tea tree oil into your beauty routine safely.
Never Ingest Tea Tree Oil
As a general rule, essential oils should never be taken orally or ingested in any way. Tea tree oil is considered toxic if it is consumed. Side effects of ingesting tea tree oil may include severe disorientation, diarrhea, rashes, stomach pain, full body skin inflammation and the inability to walk or move your legs.
It’s important to keep in mind that while essential oils are beneficial for many different reasons, they also have the potential to harm our digestive lining. If you have accidentally ingested tea tree oil, please seek immediate medical attention.
Avoid Using Tea Tree Oil to Treat Serious Medical Conditions
Essential oils are not medicine— not even the superstars like tea tree oil that have a ton of benefits and uses. We recommend using tea tree oil strictly for beauty, household and aromatic purposes.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil Safely During Pregnancy
When used properly, tea tree oil is considered safe to use during pregnancy. We recommend a 1% dilution rate for using tea tree oil topically while pregnant and strictly following the essential oil safety guidelines above. Most importantly do not ingest tea tree oil and always make sure it’s diluted for topical application.
Additionally, doctor of naturopathic medicine and prenatal care expert Jill Edwards N.D. recommends waiting until the third trimester before incorporating any essential oils into your self-care and beauty routines.
In an article for fitpregnancy.com, Edwards is quoted as stating “In the second and third trimesters, some essential oils are safe to use, as your baby is more developed.” Some essential oils like cinnamon, clove, rosemary and clary sage should be avoided throughout your entire pregnancy as they may cause uterine contractions.
Tea tree oil, however, is considered safe to use diluted topically and in essential oil diffusers after your third trimester. If you have any doubts or questions about using tea tree oil, talk to your doctor about how best to use it safely during your pregnancy.
Talking to your doctor before using tea tree oil is especially important if you’re taking any medications during your pregnancy. Currently, there’s no known common tea tree oil drug interactions, but it’s better to double check with your doctor to make sure there are no interactions with your specific existing medications.
Safe Tea Tree Oil Recipes for Pregnant Women
Our three favorite ways to use tea tree oil in homemade recipes are homemade hand sanitizer, acne spot treatment and a soothing balm for minor cuts and scrapes. We’ve modified some of our most popular tea tree oil recipes below to follow the 1% dilution rate recommended during pregnancy.
Make Your Own Homemade Tea Tree Oil Hand Cleanser
What You’ll Need:
8 ounces aloe vera gel
1 tbls witch hazel
¼ tsp lavender essential oil
¼ tsp tea tree oil
¼ tsp jojoba oil
Mixing bowl and spoon
Dark glass pump dispenser or bottle*
*Tea tree oil, like all essential oils, can be degraded by light and heat over time. It’s important to always properly store your tea tree oil mixtures to preserve their effectiveness.
Step 1: Combine tea tree oil and all other ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Step 2: Mix well and transfer to your bottle or dispenser.
Step 3: Apply to hands as needed.
DIY Tea Tree Oil Acne Spot Treatment
What You’ll Need:
2 tsp aloe vera gel
2 drops tea tree oil
10ml makeup pot*
* You can use any small clean container.
Step 1: Add tea tree oil and aloe vera gel to makeup pot. Use cotton swab to mix thoroughly.
Step 2: Dab tea tree oil mix on any problem spots. Let sit overnight, wash as usual. Can be used under makeup.
Homemade Soothing Tea Tree Oil Balm
What you’ll need:
3 oz jojoba oil
2 oz virgin coconut oil
1 oz beeswax pellets
¼ tsp tea tree oil
6 oz shallow round balm tin for storing
Microwave safe bowl, spoon
Step 1: Combine jojoba oil, coconut oil, and beeswax in bowl.
Step 2: Microwave in 15 second increments until the mixture is liquid. Stir occasionally.
Step 3: Let mix cool slightly (but not solidify) and tea tree oil. Mix well.
Step 4: Pour tea tree mix into balm tin and let cool.
To Use: Soothing tea tree oil balm is great for refreshing feet or putting on minor cuts and scrapes. If you plan on using your tea tree oil balm for minor skin irritations we recommend always dipping in with a clean cotton swab (no double dipping) to avoid contamination.
If you enjoy making your own natural products, you can read more about tea tree oil, its benefits and our great recipe for natural deodorant. You can also check us out on YouTube for tons of DIY and tutorial videos.
You might also want to learn more about how to use essential oils to help with sleep after your baby arrives. We hope this article is useful for helping you learn about using tea tree oil while pregnant. Congratulations and we wish you joy and wellness as you prepare to welcome your little one.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is meant for educational and informational purposes only, it is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.