The findings of a recent research published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, do not support the previous reports, which stated that exposure to low concentrations of tea tree oil may lead to antibiotic resistance.
Tea tree oil, which has antiseptic properties, is used in many personal care and cosmetic products on the market and they contain up to 2 per cent tea tree oil. It is well known that exposing bacteria to some kind of antibacterial agents can make them less susceptible to others. This has raised concerns of bacterial resistance to other antibiotics.
In order to investigate the previous findings, researchers from the University of Western Australia exposed 30 strains of staphylococcus bacteria that cause common skin diseases to tea tree oil.
When the microbes were exposed to 0.25% concentration of tea tree oil, the bacteria died.
Then the bacteria were exposed to .0075% concentration of the oil for three days and their susceptibility to other antibiotics was tested and found to remain unchanged.
Hence, the authors conclude that the possibility of developing resistance cannot be fully eliminated but can be considered as very low.