Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia, is better known around the world as tea tree oil. Thanks to the pungent aroma, the indigenous people of northeast Australia have used this plant for hundreds of years to treat coughs, colds, and skin ailments. It wasn’t until last century that the oil extract from the plant was discovered to have medicinal properties related to killing bacteria. Use of the oil as an antibiotic waned mid-century, as new drugs were developed on the market, but production has since rekindled due to an interest in the natural remedy market.

The reasons why tea tree oil has positive benefits was not discovered until much later. It is a great antiseptic because it is a monoterpene alcohol, also known as terpineol. Simply put, that means there’s a lot of hydrogens, carbons, and one alcohol. The way the atoms are arranged is what makes these compounds able to penetrate bacteria and other microbes, killing them. Additionally, tea tree oil has been known to fight fungal infections like athlete’s foot, staphylococcus bacterias, lice, and dandruff. Just make sure you don’t ingest tea tree oil, as it is toxic and should not be taken internally.

What does this mean for you?  By selecting skin care products with tea tree oil, you can kill acne-causing bacteria on your skin. EVOLUTIONMAN‘s Cleanse & Shave and Wash & Buff are two facial cleansers that have tea tree oil, acting as an antiseptic on the skin. These gentle cleansers are powered with antioxidants and moisturizers to leave skin feeling clean, refreshed, and moisturized.