04/03/2014 01:26 EDT | Updated 04/03/2014 01:59 EDT

Tea Tree Oil Uses: 16 Treatments Lice, Acne And More

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You've probably noticed tea tree oil in a variety of products while doing your household shopping. Found in everything from toothpaste to facial wash to household cleaners, why is this oil there to begin with?

Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the Melaluca alternifolia or tea tree — which is not the same as the plant that is used to make green and black tea. It is used as a topical treatment for a variety of ailments, including acne, nail fungus, cuts, and ear infections. However, health experts say it should not be used internally.

Research has shown that tea tree oil can have beneficial properties for our health. In 2004, an American study found evidence that tea tree oil could be helpful as a supplementary therapy in treating wounds involve bacteria like MRSA. Some smaller clinical trials have shown that tea tree oil can help with minor ailments like athlete’s foot and dandruff, and another found that tea tree oil was just slightly less effective than benzoyl peroxide in treating acne, but had fewer side effects.

Here are 16 ways tea tree oil could help your health, from head to toe:

Photo gallery 16 Uses Of Tea Tree Oil See Gallery

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