Tea Tree Oil for Piercings

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 21, 2019
    Last Updated: March 16, 2021

This essential oil is derived from the native Australia tree Melaleuca alternifolia. Tea tree boasts a plethora of health benefits and uses — all of which have cultivated global confidence in its application. Its astringent properties can be excellent as a skin cleanser, although it’s an ongoing debate in the body modification community as to its use for piercings.

For a general cleaning routine for new and healing piercings, it can undo the healing, so it’s best to stick to a saline solution here. With that said, it can be useful for certain situations.

Using tea tree oil for piercings is a good choice due to its following properties:

  • Anti-inflammation
  • Antiseptic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal

When to Use Tea Tree Oil

This aromatic oil mimics the tea tree plant by drawing moisture out from the area it’s applied to. If a piercing becomes too dry, it can be irritating, itchy and develop a rash, which is why you shouldn’t use it as a cleaning and aftercare solution. For other conditions, pierced skin can develop keloids or liquid-filled scars, which can benefit from a short-term treatment of tea tree oil. 

If you’ve noticed your piercing developing some unusual lumps or raised scars, it’s best to get it reviewed by a professional piercer or, better yet, a physician to identify potential scarring or keloids. If they do develop, as tea tree is a concentrated solution, you’ll need to follow directions of dilution and application.

Diluting Tea Tree Oil

When purchasing the oil, you want to ensure that it’s labeled as a pure oil and doesn’t contain extra additives. As it’s all-natural, it can be quite potent, and so direct use of the oil can create irritation.

To use effectively, dilute the tea tree solution with another liquid — this is known as a “carrier.” Some possible carriers that also have antibacterial or healing benefits include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Almond oil
  • Olive oil
  • Vitamin E oil

Simply add 6–10 drops of pure tea tree oil to 2 tablespoons of chosen carrier oil.

How to Apply Tea Tree Oil to a Piercing

Before using your diluted solution as a topical treatment, perform an allergy test. Keloids or scarring are already sensitive areas, so it’s diligent to check that you aren’t going to react to the oil. 

  1. Apply a small amount of diluted solution to the inside of your arm or thigh
  2. Wait 24 hours
  3. If no sign of reaction has occurred, continue to use as a treatment

For the application, avoid using a towel, tissue or q-tip as they can result in fibers being caught in the wound, which can cause infection:

  1. Ensure you have clean sanitized hands — we suggest using antimicrobial soap
  2. Dip a finger in the solution, and apply to the affected area using gentle touch to make sure the whole area is covered
  3. Apply this morning and night after a full clean of your piercing
  4. Apply periodically throughout the day if deemed necessary

After continuous use, you will notice the lump or scarring begin to heal. Maintain use until the condition is normal and then discontinue use.

Risks and Side-Effects of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can be toxic if ingested — seek immediate medical care in this instance. It has many speculations as to what side effects it has and whether overuse of this oil can create more harm, including studies of hormonal changes. To avoid this occurring, never use it anywhere near your genitals, eyes and mouth.

Adverse reactions are rare, but after the affected area is healed, continued use can create reverse healing. The most reported issues that can occur from use are:

  • Hives/welts
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Itchy skin
  • Irritant dermatitis

 If any of these occur, discontinue treatment straight away and consult your physician.

Get the Most out of Your Tea Tree Oil

While tea tree oil has wonderful qualities to remove bacteria, it’s not the best option for new piercings still in the healing phase. However, it can be an excellent tool as a treatment for problems that can arise with our piercings. If in doubt, always consult a medical professional before you use tea tree oil as a treatment.

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