Many people have been told that tea tree oil is a good option for cleaning your eyelids, but it must be used carefully. While tea tree oil certainly has potential benefits for eye health, it can also cause eye problems is used incorrectly.
What is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of a tree that is native to Australia and called the “tea tree.”
This oil in its purest form can be slightly yellow or nearly colorless but has a very strong and distinct aroma.
As an essential oil, tea tree oil is extremely potent and concentrated.
How is Tea Tree Oil Used for the Eyelids?
While in the past pure tea tree oil has been used as a treatment for some eyelid conditions, currently there are many other options to gain the beneficial aspects of the tea tree oil without the risks associated with pure tea tree oil.
There are eyelid cleansing wipes which are infused with tea tree oil and can be used directly from the package without having to combine or mix the tea tree oil yourself.
There are also spray foams and liquid sprays that are used in conjunction with a non-treated lid wipe. These sprays are pre-mixed with the appropriate concentration of tea tree oil to be effective and still safe for use.
If using a tea tree lid wipe, remove it from the package and gently scrub the upper and lower eyelids including up to the lashes.
Then, flip the wipe over and repeat the same process on the other eye.
If using a spray foam or liquid, apply the directed amount of spray onto the lid wipe or other soft cloth and do not spray directly onto the eyes or eyelids.
Take the lid wipe or cloth and complete the same gentle scrubbing as if using a pre-treated lid wipe.
Why Tea Tree Oil is Beneficial
Tea tree oil is included in many lid scrubs or lid wipes as it has shown certain properties which can be anti-infective.
In some cases, eyelid redness or eyelid irritation is a result of a bacterial infection or a parasitic infestation of the eyelid and eyelashes.
In many healthy individuals, these bacteria or small parasites are normally found and do not cause any reactions but if these pathogens cause excessive inflammation, it can cause irritation.
Tea tree oil is especially useful for these cases as the low concentration of tea tree oil does not harm the eyelid skin but can be toxic to any bacteria or pathogens infecting the eyelids.
Concerns with Tea Tree Oil as an Eyelid Treatment
Tea tree oil should never be applied into the eyes directly. If pure tea tree oil was put into the eye, it would cause a painful reaction.
To avoid these painful complications, most current uses of tea tree oil for eyelid problems use only a low concentration of tea tree oil and are never designed to be applied into the eyes.
All of the treatments are only used on the outside of the eyelids to avoid any unwanted exposure to the tea tree oil while maintaining the effectiveness of the treatments.