1. Tea Tree
Botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia
Why I keep it around:
Tea Tree is revered for its antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antiseptic and powerful antifungal properties. I use it for pretty much all skin issues and since it is one of the essential oils that you can apply neat to the skin (without diluting in a carrier oil like jojoba, sweet almond, grape seed etc.) it is easy to use.
I personally like the smell of Tea Tree, but some people find it a bit intense. If you are one of these people, try creating a Tea Tree/Lavender mix to mellow out the Tea Tree scent. I use this mix for spot treating acne and bug bites, and for enhancing the smell and antibacterial properties of homemade natural cleaning products.
Other uses: Tea Tree is used to treat athlete’s foot, burns, Candida, cold sores, corns, dandruff, eczema, insect bites/stings (or other itches), lice, nail fungus, psoriasis, respiratory infections, ringworm, chicken pox, sore throat, strep throat, thrush, warts, cuts, as an insect repellent and more.
Contraindication: Tea Tree can be toxic when used internally, and it is best to avoid when pregnant or lactating. This essential oil can be used neat on the skin, but some people are sensitive to it. To test if you have a sensitivity, try diluting tea tree in a carrier oil (i.e. sweet almond, jojoba, sesame, grape seed) oil before applying a small amount to your skin (avoiding the face and other sensitive areas to begin with.)