Having attractive skin is what everyone wants. But after an injury or trauma, restoring your body back to its original state can be virtually impossible. As the pieces fall back into place, be sure your complexion isn’t forgotten. After all, your skin is the largest organ you have and it’s arguably the most important.
Without properly maintained and functioning skin, your internal organs would have no protection from the outside world. In response to that dire need, the human body sometimes over corrects when an injury is sustained. Enter: keloids – an innocuous skin condition that befalls many who have endured physical trauma to the skin.
But can anything in your essential oils stash do something about it or do you have to pay the piper on this one? As it turns out, that little bottle of tea tree oil in your cupboard could make a big impact if you know how to use it right.
What Are Keloids?
Defined as firm yet rubbery scars that develop on the skin, keloids are fibrous growths that develop at the site of healing skin after injury or trauma. Although not always associated with injury or trauma, keloids are a relatively common condition that affects more than 200,000 people every year. Non-life-threatening, albeit unappealing, keloid diagnosis is non-invasive and typically requires simple lab testing or imaging.
According to the latest research, keloids are caused by an overgrowth of collagen during the healing process. There may be a genetic component as well. And while generally unpainful, people with keloids still experience a wide variety of symptoms that can significantly decrease the quality of their life. In some cases, keloids persist for several years, if not for a lifetime (if left untreated).
What Are the Symptoms of Keloids?
The symptoms of keloids are subjective to the sufferer and can vary widely in longevity and intensity. In extreme cases, keloids may become painful or require immediate medical attention to prevent a local infection (when the skin has been broken). If severe pain, bleeding or uncontrollable itching occur, see a doctor right away.
Most commonly, however, people only experience the following symptoms when they have keloids:
- Redness or darkening of the skin
- Various-sized lumps on the affected area
- Swollen or broken blood vessels
Keloid development may have a primarily cosmetic component, but obviously these growths have the power to affect a person’s comfort and self-confidence as well. And since they can become difficult to hide and manage, action is sometimes necessary to regain a normal life. Fortunately, modern-day treatments can help to reduce or eliminate the presence or development of keloids on your skin.
Most Common Treatment Options for Keloids
While most keloid formations can be easily managed with the right individualized approach, it’s important to understand that each patient is different. In extreme cases, keloids must be surgically removed and/or drugs must be administered to inhibit excessive tissue growth. In minor cases, however, frequent applications of gentle topical products can reduce or eliminate the presence of keloid scars.
Currently, there is no known cure for keloids. As such, treatments are generally aimed at improving the appearance of the skin after keloid scarring. The top five most common doctor-managed treatment options for keloids include:
- Anti-tumor medication
Keep in mind that many of the aforementioned treatment options have side effects of their own. Therefore, keloid sufferers may be better served seeking natural remedies first. Consult your doctor for more information or to formulate a more personalized treatment plan.
Can You Use Tea Tree Oil for Keloids?
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca alternifolia, is an essential oil made by isolating and pressing the leaves of the naturally growing and innately advantageous tea tree. Additionally, it has a fresh and exhilarating scent, which is one of the primary reasons for its use in essential oil diffusers for aromatherapeutic purposes.
Organic, cold-pressed tea tree oil ranges in color from pale yellow to nearly clear and has been respected as an effective home remedy for centuries. Throughout history, tea tree oil was reportedly used for the following:
- Herpes outbreaks
- Nail fungus
- Insect bites
- Poison ivy
- Bacterial infections
- Skin fungus (such as athlete’s foot)
- Anti-aging (i.e. dark circle, age spots, fine lines, etc.)
Tea tree oil works for all of those things because of its natural properties. Not only is it an antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial substance, but it’s also a supreme moisturizer for all skin types. And according to the most recent findings, one of the best ways to prevent or improve scarring is to keep the skin constantly hydrated.
Research shows that using tea tree oil for keloids is effective, albeit somewhat slow in many cases. Safe, gentle and natural, tea tree oil’s ability to reduce inflammation in various parts of the body is already well-documented. However, new discoveries are pointing to the fact that tea tree oil can also inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes, thereby preventing the growth of excessive scar tissue and reducing pain at the same time.
Safety Tips for Using Tea Tree Oil for Keloids
Tea tree oil is unpatented and not a drug that’s been approved by the FDA. However, it’s still an extremely powerful and potent substance that can be poisonous if consumed by mouth. Furthermore, some people may experience varying degrees of skin irritation at the application site due to unpredictable product potency and/or allergies. That being said, be extremely careful about where you buy tea tree oil, especially if the manufacturer is unknown.
Conduct a spot test on your skin before using tea tree oil for keloids. Expect a slight tingle, especially if the skin is broken or inflamed. Never use essential oils in place of legitimate medical attention, and don’t ever use tea tree oil for keloids on children or people with autoimmune deficiencies without a doctor’s guidance. As always, keep your tea tree oil stored in a cool, dry place that’s out of direct sunlight and follow all directions on the bottle.
If you found this article on keloids informative, you may also like to read The Best Essential Oils for Acne.