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    Tea tree oil: What can it do for your patients?


    Factors to consider

    It is often hard to identify the concentration and purity of tea tree oil in over-the-counter products so caution should be used in solely relying on these products for bacterial eradication. In addition, is important to counsel patients that tea tree oil can be very irritating and a source of allergic contact dermatitis.10 It is thought that 1,8-cineole is likely the compound in tea tree oil that causes dermatitis. Because tea tree oil may have an irritant effect it is also worth considering for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum.11

    Patients should be counseled to use tea tree with caution given the rate of irritant and contact dermatitis. In addition, it should be used with caution in children and pregnant or breastfeeding women and tea tree oil is not for oral ingestion as oral poisoning in children and adults has been observed.3

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