EU may ban use of tea tree oil as beauty-product ingredient

March 5, 2007

International report - The European Union has found tea tree oil, an ingredient in many beauty products, to be unsafe and may ban the ingredient in light of research showing the oil causes skin irritation and inhibits the effectiveness of antibiotics, according to Pharmaceutical Business Review.

International report - The European Union has found tea tree oil, an ingredient in many beauty products, to be unsafe and may ban the ingredient in light of research showing the oil causes skin irritation and inhibits the effectiveness of antibiotics, according to Pharmaceutical Business Review.

The research notes that regular usage of tea tree oil, which is sometimes used undiluted to help eliminate spots, acne and insect bites, may increase the risk of contracting superbug infections such as MRSA. Tea tree oil makes these infections more resistant to antibiotics.

In addition, the EU has warned against using tea tree oil undiluted, as the research shows that even small doses can cause skin rashes.

The EU said the ban on tea tree oil being used in undiluted form could come as soon as this year if manufacturers cannot convince EU scientists that it is safe for human use.