MedlinePlus names tea tree oil as a possible effective treatment for athlete's foot, mild-to-moderate acne and fungus infections of the nails. The oil is also used as an antiseptic for treating stings, insect bites, boils, vaginal infections, herpes, sore throats and ear infections. According to WebMD, little research has been done on tea tree oil, but some studies consider it a safe and effective treatment for infections.
A wide variety of hygiene and body care products include tea tree oil, including toothpaste, lip balm, shampoo and skin creams. According to WebMD, experts consider the oil to be safe when used topically, and it can be used on a daily basis. Some people may develop a rash when using the oil, and it can cause irritation or an allergic reaction. The oil can be used in its pure form, or it can be diluted with olive oil, almond oil or vegetable oil.
Tea tree oil should never be taken orally, according to Mayo Clinic, as the oil is toxic when consumed by the mouth. Despite its name, tea tree oil has no relation to the common tea plants that are used to make black or green teas designed for consumption, notes MedlinePlus.