Background: Topical tea tree oil has become increasingly popular as a general-purpose medicament for various dermatological conditions. Although recent reports of adverse cutaneous reactions have highlighted concerns about the risk of inducing acute allergic contact dermatitis, few published studies have attempted to evaluate objectively the true irritancy and allergenicity potential of this commonly used essential oil. Objective: To perform predictive testing for irritancy and allergenicity of tea tree oil in a large group of human subjects. Methods: Various concentrations of tea tree oil (5, 25, 100%) in different vehicles were applied under occlusive patch testing to the skin of healthy, human volunteers (n = 311) using a protocol based on the Draize human sensitisation test. Patch test sites were assessed every 48 h and scored according to the severity of any resulting cutaneous reaction using a clinical grading scale from 0 to 4 over a 21-day induction period. After a 14-day rest period, subjects underwent challenge testing with the same tea tree oil samples to determine if sensitisation to tea tree oil had occurred. Results: The mean irritancy score for each test sample was low, ranging from 0 for 5% tea tree oil to 0.2505 for neat 100% tea tree oil. However, 3 subjects developed grade 3 skin reactions during the induction period suggestive of an allergic reaction. Conclusions: Topical application of tea tree oil is associated with negligible skin irritancy. In the group of subjects studied, the risk of developing an allergic dermatitis from topical tea tree oil usage was found to be <1%.

This content is only available via PDF.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.