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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dipping My Toes in the World of Essential Oils (a review)

This post contains affiliate links and free product was received to facilitate my review.  Please see my full disclosure policy here.

I admit it---we aren’t exactly a “green” family.  While we do focus on preparing natural foods and aren’t crazy about using chemicals in general, we still have some processed foods in our pantry, chemical cleaners in a high up cabinet, and skin care that contains some unpronounceable ingredients. 

But I would like to move towards more natural products (really natural products, not those that just called natural), particularly when it comes to skin care and cleaning products. 

Review of 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil from Red Rover Naturals at Homeschooling Hearts & MindsDid you know that the skin is our largest organ?    And while it does serve as an effective barrier against things like harmful bacteria that would otherwise have free access to our innards, our skin is designed to also absorb stuff---that’s how chemical sunblock and nicotine patches work.

There’s no gatekeeper, though.  Your skin can absorb anything that comes into contact with it, whether it’s that soothing body lotion loaded with petroleum products and parabens, or that cleaner full of neurotoxins.

Now, I’m not an alarmist.  But I do have a kid with a rare genetic skin disorder.  He is even more vulnerable to absorbing dangerous stuff through his skin than the average kid, because his skin’s barrier function is compromised.  Plus all the doctor recommended creams used to help ease his physical discomfort contain potentially harmful ingredients.  My quest to find wholesome skincare for him that is as effective (or even  more so) than the chemical stuff is never ending.

Recently I was offered the opportunity to review Apothecary Extract's 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil from Red Rover Naturals. Tea tree oil is a natural ingredient that is often used in home skincare and cleaning preparations for its disinfectant qualities. 

100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil

  • Large 4 oz glass bottle, enough to last most people for a year!
  • Comes with a free 73-page pdf with 53 uses
  • Readily available from Amazon
  • Currently $19.99 + FREE Shipping (not Prime)

I’m not a chemist, so I can’t verify if this is 100% pure or truly comes from Australia.  It does have a powerful tea tree smell, though, and doesn’t seem to be diluted.  If you are averse to strange smells, you may want to use it as an ingredient in something with other more pleasant scents.

Winking smile

I don’t use any skincare product on my son without first trying it out on myself.  Children’s skin is so delicate and his is even more so.  So, for the past few weeks I’ve been applying this tea tree oil to my big toe (toenail fungus, blech!).  I wanted to see if it would help with the fungus and if it would cause me any irritation.

IMG_0163Avert your eyes if you are squeamish about such things, here’s the toenail before snap.

It’s just the one, weird, huh?

Now, I’m still treating the nail and have not seen a marked improvement, but this is typical for toenail fungus and this is a bad case---it’s hard stuff to beat.  On the other hand, other than the powerful scent, I haven’t experience any adverse affects, which is a good thing.  The skin around the nail even seems a little less dry. 

So far, I am pleased with the product and plan to try some of the recipes in the pdf (the Soothing Autumn Balm is similar in ingredients to my homemade skin cream, so I think I’ll try adding tea tree oil to that).

The  only part of this product that I think could be improved is the bottle.  I like the amber glass, which should protect the oil from being exposed to light, but I really wish it had a eye dropper that came with it.

IMG_0218Instead it has one of these plastic inserts.

It’s exactly like the insert they use on bottles for kids’ medicines that are designed to be dispensed with an oral syringe---in that case, you stick the tip of the syringe in the bottle, turn the whole thing upside down, and pull out the syringe stopper until you have the correct amount.  It works great for that purpose as there’s no waste and no way to spill.

For the tea tree oil, you can turn it upside down and let it drip into another container, but you have no control over the flow (it comes out pretty fast) and you have to flip it over again to stop the flow (then it can drip down the side of the bottle).  For the toenail application, I found it works well to stick a cotton swab right at the opening and then turn the bottle on its side.  The swab absorbs the oil, so no mess, but at the same time I have no idea how many drops I’m using.  This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but it is an important consideration, depending upon how you plan to use the oil.

Overall, Apothecary Extract's 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil from Red Rover Naturals seems to be a good value for the money. 

I recommend it if you want to dip your toes (no pun intended) into the world of essential oils.

What do you recommend using tea tree oil for?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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