Tea Tree Oil For Piercings – How To Use And Possible Risks

No matter what type of piercing, tea tree oil is the best healing agent!

Medically reviewed by Dr. Priya Gill, MBBCH, MRCP Dr. Priya Gill Dr. Priya GillMBBCH, MRCP facebook_icon
Written by , MSc Annie Jangam MSc Experience: 11 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) Experience: 3 years
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Many piercing experts recommend using tea tree oil for piercings as it works wonders. The antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and healing characteristics of tea tree oil make it a great aftercare therapy for piercings. It works by relieving inflammation and reducing the risk of infection. So, if you have recently gotten a piercing, this article is for you. Read on to learn why you should use tea tree oil for piercings, how to use it, and possible adverse effects.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Tea tree oil has a camphoraceousi  Similar to or related to the smell of camphor. It is often used as an insect repellant due to its intensely aromatic medicinal scent. odor. Its color may range from pale yellow to clear and nearly colorless.

How Can Tea Tree Oil Help In Healing Piercing?

1. May Prevent Infections

Woman cleaning her piercing to prevent infection
Image: Shutterstock

Piercings are prone to infections, and tea tree oil can help prevent them. It contains terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineoli  A terpene alcohol that is used mainly as an aromatic compound in perfumes, oils, cosmetics, and flavors. , responsible for its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiprotozoali  The property of a drug that helps treat infections caused by single-cell organisms that are parasites. properties. Tea tree oil can protect the wound from infections caused by microbes and fungi like Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and Trichophyton rubrum (1), (2).

2. May Reduce Inflammation

Tea tree oil can soothe inflamed skin by reducing redness and swelling around the piercing. A mice study found that terpinen-4-ol in tea tree oil reduced swelling associated with contact hypersensitivity (an allergic condition that causes swelling, redness, and irritation) (1). Thus, topical tea tree oil may also reduce the swelling, itching, and discomfort associated with piercings and speed up healing.

3. May Promote Wound Healing

Woman cleaning her piercing with tea tree oil
Image: Shutterstock

Tea tree oil can speed up wound healing by reducing bacterial activity. A study evaluated the wound healing potential of tea tree oil in 10 participants and reported that it reduced healing time in nine of them (3).

You can use tea tree oil on body jewelry piercings to ensure effective and fast healing. However, be careful before using it on piercings on sensitive areas like around the eyes and inside the mouth. The next section discusses how you may use tea tree oil safely on the piercings.

How To Use Tea Tree Oil On Your Piercing

Tea tree oil to clean piercing
Image: Shutterstock

External Piercing

Spot treatment works best for external piercing on the nose, eyebrows, ears, lips, and navel. You must dilute the TTO before applying it to your skin.

  1. To dilute tea tree oil, mix 2-3 drops of the oil with a tablespoon of any carrier oil like olive, almond, jojoba, or coconut oils.
  2. Apply the oil mix to the pierced area with a cotton swab or Q-tip.
  3. Repeat several times a day until the skin heals.

Alternatively, you may combine tea tree oil with other treatments. A blogger, writing under the name vikingwizardeyes, recommends a combination remedy of salt soaks and tea tree oil that helped treat her infected nose piercing. She writes, “Using the tea tree oil at the end (of the healing process) when it was already getting better was good because it took care of the very last part in about three hours (i).” She first began treating her bumpy piercing with a sea salt soak right before bed and did not wash it off until the next morning. This significantly reduced the bump for her after two days, though she mentions how it may take about two weeks for others, depending on how bad the infection is. She then proceeded to apply a thin layer of tea tree oil over the reduced bump, which pushed the residual gunk out, clearing the infection completely.

Internal Piercing

Woman gargling with tea tree oil and warm salt water
Image: Shutterstock

Rinses and soaks are the way to clean piercings on sensitive areas like the tongue and genitals.

For tongue piercings

  1. Mix 10-15 drops of TTO and warm salt water.
  2. Swish or gargle it for 30 seconds and spit it out. Do not swallow this mixture.
  3. Gargle lukewarm water.

For genital piercings

  1. Soak a clean cotton towel in two drops of TTO and saline solution.
  2. Squeeze the excess water and gently dab the area with the wipe.
  3. Wash the area with lukewarm water and pat dry.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Melaleuca alternifolia, the tree species from which tea tree extract comes, native to the northeast coast of New South Wales and Queensland in Australia.

Do a patch test before using tea tree oil to avoid allergic reactions. Moreover, you have to be cautious when using it for oral piercings. Keep reading to learn the adverse effects of using tea tree oil.

Side Effects Of Using Tea Tree Oil For Piercings

Woman using tea tree oil on nose piercing
Image: Shutterstock
  • May Cause Poisoning: Ingesting tea tree oil may cause poisoning and lead to drowsiness and confusion. Animal studies found that lower doses of TTO caused lethargy and loss of muscle coordination. Higher doses of TTO could be lethal. However, no human deaths have been reported due to TTO ingestion (1).
  • May Cause Allergic Reactions: TTO is considered safe for external use unless you are allergic to it. Essential oils are potential allergens and may cause redness, rashes, swelling, itching, and hives.

Avoid using tea tree oil if you are pregnant or lactating, as the safety and effects of using tea tree oil during pregnancy are unknown.

Remember that tea tree oil for piercings is a complementary natural remedy and cannot replace medical treatments. Hence, always follow the doctor’s advice for proper wound care. Also, consult your doctor if you notice swelling, foul odor, pus, or blood on the piercing site.

How Long Does It Take Tea Tree Oil To Heal Piercing?

It can take up to two weeks for tea tree oil to heal the piercing. The downtime also depends on the type and location of piercings. It may take longer to heal piercings on sensitive areas like the genitals, nipples, and around the eyes.

Infographic: Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil For Pearcings And How To Use It

Fresh piercings hurt and are prone to infections. However, using tea tree oil to clean the pierced area may help speed up the healing process. Of course, you have to make sure that you are not allergic to it. The infographic below lists its benefits and the different ways you can use it, depending on the placement of the piercing. Check it out.

benefits of tea tree oil for pearcings and how to use it (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Tea tree oil has been used for decades to treat bruises, bug bites, and skin irritations. In addition, it is commonly used as part of the aftercare for piercings on the face and body. Follow the steps outlined above to use tea tree oil safely on piercings. Keep in mind that while tea tree oil can help with wound healing and infection prevention, it is not a substitute for medical care. To avoid infections and other side effects, visit a doctor and do a patch test before using tea tree oil on piercing wounds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is tea tree oil good for piercing bumps?

Yes. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that make it ideal for treating piercing bumps and preventing further infection (4).

Can tea tree oil make keloid worse?

No. There is currently no evidence that indicates that tea tree oil can make keloidsi  A type of scar that is thick, raised, and forms after an injury has healed. Excess protein in the skin during the healing process causes it. worse. However, ensure that you conduct a patch test to check for adverse effects.

How do you help piercings heal faster?

You can follow simple aftercare tips such as cleaning your piercing carefully every day, taking proper piercing care, and resting to promote faster healing.

Key Takeaways

  • Tea tree oil has terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineoli  A terpene alcohol that is used mainly as an aromatic compound in perfumes, oils, cosmetics, and flavors. , which have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It helps in preventing infections after piercing.
  • This oil reduces inflammation and promotes wound healing.
  • For external piercing, it can be used with coconut oil and applied directly.
  • It generally takes 2 weeks to heal with tea tree oil.
tea tree oil for piercings_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team


Tea tree oil is a popular natural remedy for many ailments but the hesitation to use it on piercings is understandable. Watch the video below to find out the potential risks and benefits of using tea tree oil on piercings.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
    https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/cmr.19.1.50-62.2006?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub++0pubmed
  2. Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention and Treatment.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92761/
  3. The Effect of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) on Wound Healing Using a Dressing Model
    https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2012.0787?cookieSet=1
  4. Pharmacological attributes and nutritional benefits of tea tree oil
    https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.652.3826&rep=rep1&type=pdf
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Dr. Priya Gill

Dr. Priya GillMBBCH, MRCP

Dr. Priya Gill is a consultant dermatologist in Klang, Malaysia, with over 16 years of experience. She specializes in the management of all medical and surgical dermatology issues and has a special interest in laser therapy and phototherapy. She has more than 25 publications in local and international journals to her name. She is passionate about public and patient education...read full bio

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