Tea tree oil has strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects. Hence, it has been widely used in lotions, shampoos, creams and soaps for its medicinal values. However, when used in large quantities, it also has side effects. Listed below are a few possible side effects of tea tree oil.
Side Effects of Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil might cause allergies. If the oil is allowed to age or exposed to air for a long time, some of the bio-compounds might be oxidized. When such oxidized oil is used, it might result in allergic reactions. A few of the allergic reactions include itching, hives, rashes, vomiting, dizziness, etc.
Skin irritation is often reported with the use of tea tree oil. When the oil is applied on the skin with cuts or dry patches, it results in skin irritation. It might lead to redness, itching, and inflammation. Sometimes, the reaction might be quite severe, which can even lead to rashes. So, it is always better to perform a skin test before the application of the oil.
The estrogenic activity of this essential oil is considered problematic on young boys before puberty. It might increase estrogen levels in young boys and lead to the development of prepubertal gynecomastia. It is also said to interfere in the normal performance of male hormones.
Oral Cavity Problems
The essential oil is used for its antiseptic properties in dental care. It is used in toothpaste and mouthwashes. However, one should be careful while using dental products containing this oil because it might cause bad taste and irritation in the soft tissues. It might also cause mouth inflammation and bad breath.
Tea tree oil has been used to treat ear infections since a long time. However, tea tree oil should be avoided from being used in the middle ear. It might become toxic and can cause unpredictable allergic reactions when used in larger amounts.
Oral ingestion of the oil is highly toxic. Accidental ingestion can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, light headedness, vomiting and confusion. Though no death has been reported with accidental or intentional ingestion, severe reactions might lead to coma. It is a cytotoxic agent.