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Tea Tree Oil For Itch - Does It Work?

Does using tea tree oil for itch actually work?

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is believed to work for various types of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) because of its reported anti-inflammatory activities.

Our detailed article Benefits of Tea Tree Oil reveals all the health benefits so we won't discuss them here.

Let's look at one research study on how effective tea tree oil is for treating itch...


Studies on tea tree oil for itch

For those interested in research studies to backup our claims, here is the reference.

Topical tea tree oil effective in canine localised pruritic dermatitis--a multi-centre randomised double-blind controlled clinical trial in the veterinary practice.
Reichling J, et al.
Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2004 Oct;111(10):408-14.

This is a well-designed study because it is a randomized, double-blinded and controlled study. The dogs are randomly selected to either receive the tea tree oil treatment or a matching placebo cream.

The researchers are blinded so they do not know if they are using the tea tree oil cream or a matching placebo cream (without the tea tree oil). This blinding is very important as it will eliminate researcher bias when examining the skin on the dogs.

And a control group (dogs that received a matching cream without tea tree oil) is also a very important component to ensure that it is the tea tree oil is offering the benefits and not just the cream base.


And the results are as follow...

After applying the treatment twice daily for 10 days, 71% of the dogs with the tea tree oil cream showed improvement compared to only 41% for the control group. This is a significant difference.

Moreover, the dogs using the tea tree oil cream experienced faster relief from itch. As a bonus, they also experienced less hair loss (alopecia), probably from all the scratching they do.


Clinical studies anyone?

We would love to have clinical trials to show that it works in human subjects, but more often than not, these studies are not available. But the good news is that there is a clinical study to show that a tea tree oil shampoo is effective in treating dandruff.

See the article Tea Tree Oil for Dandruff for that discussion.

It all comes down to money. If someone were to provide us (or any other competent research group) the funding, the needed evidence can be obtained easily...


Recommendations - How to make a tea tree oil for itch cream

A 5% concentration cream is what the study used on the dogs. This is consistent with other uses of tea tree oil (for example, a 5% tea tree oil mixture is effective for treating acne conditions.)

We suggest diluting the tea tree oil in scent-free cream for maximum benefit. Distilled witch hazel (Hamamelis virginianum) may be also added as it is shown to be beneficial for a variety of skin problems.

Apply the tea tree oil cream twice daily.

See our detailed report Tea Tree Oil Dilutions for information on how to make this and other similar formulations.


Bottom line

Thinking of using tea tree oil for itch?

Go for it.

Granted you are not a dog or cat but hey, it's not hard to find out if it will work. If the itch stops or becomes less frequent, it works.

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Related to Tea Tree Oil for Itch

Tea Tree Oil Dosage and Dilution Guidelines



Jump to Tea Tree Oil Uses Home Page

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References for Tea Tree Oil for Itch

Revised: August 31, 2019


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