Is Tea Tree Oil Good For Piercings? What To Know Before Putting It On Your Skin

Tea tree oil has become a popular remedy in recent years, though its medicinal uses have been known for a very long time. In addition to all of its uses, tea tree oil may help when you get a piercing, too.

The oil comes from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree found in Australia. It has been used by ​​Aboriginal descendants for many years, who often inhaled the oil from crushed tea tree leaves to help with colds and coughs (via Healthline). It also does wonders for the hair as tea tree oil helps control dandruff and a dry, flaky scalp.

However, one of the best-known ways tea tree oil can be effective is on the skin. It can be used as an antiseptic and even as a hand sanitizer. Its innate properties can help kill fungus, keep cuts and abrasions free of bacteria, and help wounds heal, which is one way it can help aid piercings. Yet there are some things to be aware of before applying it to your skin.

How tea tree oil may help piercings

Tea tree oil has natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help curb the risk of infection, which is a common concern with new piercings and help decrease inflammation (via Cleveland Clinic). This may seem ideal for helping heal new piercings, but there are some precautions you should take.

Topical applications of tea tree oil are diluted mixtures of the natural oil. This is important because when the oil isn't diluted well, it can cause irritation and dryness. It's best to use a dab of tea tree oil mixed with argan or coconut oil for a piercing. You can also just add two drops to 1 ounce of distilled water.

"Tea tree oil may well have a place in your piercing aftercare, but that's a question of personal preference," Dr. Simon Hodes, family physician, tells Cleveland Clinic. "I think it's something I'd be very cautious about recommending medically because if you've got irritated or sensitive skin, you need to be very careful."

Don't use tea tree oil on these piercings

Though tea tree oil may help aid in the healing of piercings, there are certain types of piercings you should never use it on, as per Healthline. Putting tea tree oil on any piercings that come in contact with the mouth, such as a lip, cheek, or tongue piercing, should be avoided. This is because tea tree oil is toxic if ingested so it should never be placed in or around the mouth.

Secondly, genital piercings are of particular concern. Since tea tree oil can be harsh on the skin, it may be even harsher on the skin in the genital area, where the skin is typically more sensitive than the rest of the body.

When using tea tree oil, you should always start off by doing a patch test to see how your skin responds. Tea tree oil should never replace the directions given by the piercer for post-care treatment. It should only be an added step once the proper aftercare instructions have already been executed.