Also known as Melaleuca, from the name of its native Australian plant source, Melaleuca alternifolia. Tea tree oil has skin-soothing properties and is also an antioxidant.
For improving skin concerns such as breakouts, tea tree oil concentrations of 2.5% to 10% are recommended. However, the amount present in most skincare products is usually less than 1%, as higher amounts impart a strong scent many people find intolerable, not to mention increases tea tree oil’s potential to sensitize skin.
Tea tree oil is a fragrant oil whose volatile components of limonene and eucalyptol can cause sensitizing reactions. Careful use and storage of tea tree oil is advised; like all plant oils, it should be protected from routine exposure to light and air.
References for this information:
International Journal of Dermatology, July 2013, pages 784-790
Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, June 2013, pages 169-176
Chemical Research in Toxicology, March 2012, pages 713-721
Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, January-February 2007, pages 22-25
Clinical Microbiology Reviews, January 2006, pages 50-62