I have been a big fan and user of very diluted Tea Tree Oil for years. I know it works on killing Demodex which a clear destroyer of meibomian gland structure and function.
New research from Dr. Sullivan, a well respected Harvard colleague, shows 2-4% of Tea Tree Oil used for a period of time can damage meibomian gland cells.
I would not give up, though, completely on Tea Tree Oil. Here are the take home messages I will be using personally:
1. Make sure it is very diluted tea tree oil: 1-2 % is likely effective and will likely do minimal damage if washed off completely afterwards. I will be using 1 drop of TTO with 9 drops of water to diluted TTO.
2. Always wash off tea tree oil.
3. Leave on for a few seconds and then wash off
4. Get meibography 2x/year if concerned about TTO’s effects on meibomian glands
5. Prefer to use IPL, Manuka honey (but wash off also in am): to kill Demodex