You have probably heard of tea tree oil, the healing Australian essential oil that has been used to treat a variety of health issues for over 100 years. Chances are you have not heard of a tea tree oil derivative that has some very specific uses and additional benefits. Indeed, it is somewhat surprising to hear that tea tree oil has any products compounded from it since it is an amazing, potent drug on its own. Tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic and antifungal medicine that can be used to treat an amazing variety of concerns from athlete’s foot too bad breath. So how is it possible that another compound derived from it can actually improve upon tea tree oil? Tea tree oil or, as it is also known, melaleuca, even in its tincture form is an extremely potent substance. In fact, if taken orally, it is toxic. Before it can be applied to the skin for treatment, it must be combined with other substances, such as coconut oil, to prevent reactions. For this reason, there are those sensitive treatment areas, around the eye for example, where the ointment would be helpful but is far too acerbic.
The Need for Cliradex
The desire to use tea tree oil safely and effectively around the human eye led to the development of Cliradex. More than most individuals realize, there are many medical problems centered on the eyelid. Apart from allergy issues, about 1 in 10 Americans suffer from some kind of eyelid issue. One concern often reported is MGD (Meibomian gland dysfunction), in which the eye does not adequately produce the oil necessary for functional teardrops. Sties are a frequent, often persistent problem. Many people encounter rosacea, a red rash that may include pus pockets. While rosacea is experienced on the cheeks and other parts of the face, it can affect eyelids as well. Another frequent concern is chalazion, an eyelid cyst that forms typically when an oil gland is blocked. The most frequent eyelid health concern is actually blepharitis. This is an inflammation of the eyelid that occurs in 4 out of 5 Americans after the age of 60. The two primary causes of blepharitis are a bacterial infection and the Demodex mite. This microscopic bug is ubiquitous. Virtually every pet has Demodex mites. As for humans, the mite only causes a problem when it infests the eyelid. Because of its broad antiseptic and cleansing abilities, there was a great need for a tea tree oil treatment that could be used on the eyelid, which resulted in the creation of Cliradex.
The Uses and Benefits of 4-Terpineol
In an effort to confer the healing potential of melaleuca to a treatment that could be used around the most sensitive part of the body, scientists were able to extract Terpineol from tea tree oil. This is only one of many compounds found in melaleuca, but the one that is most effective in eliminating the ever-present Demodex mite. Typically it is presented in two forms, as a foam, and as a towelette. Mild to moderate eyelid problems can be treated with foam, while serious and severe issues require the direct use of the towelette. It is important to note that Cliradex possesses many other healing qualities of Tea Tree Oil as well, meaning it can be successfully used for a number of eyelid problems:
- Cleansing of the eyelid
- Clearing of eye glandular blockages
- Elimination of bacteria from the eyelid
- Extermination of Demodex mites
- Reduction of redness and swelling of the eyelid
- Facial cleansing
- Post-surgical cleansing and moistening
- Treatment of dry eye syndrome
Environmentally conscious consumers have noted that the products are paraben-free and, though rigorously scientifically examined, have not been tested on animals. As a product of tea tree oil, it is a sustainable, natural resource. Another concern often voiced by those who are dealing with eye issues has to do with the application of the compound: specifically, does it burn or sting when applied to sensitive tissue? While the eye should remain closed while being applied, most users do not report any pain or burning. Products should not be applied to broken skin, which might result in a burning sensation. Any unpleasant feeling may be the result of an allergic reaction, as some people are allergic to tea tree oil and other essential oils.
Scientific Evidence Supporting 4-Terpineol
Consumers can be assured that 4-Terpineol has been rigorously tested in regard to its effectiveness and safety. Perhaps the most interesting study was published by the National Institute of Health in its report on the impact of 4-Terpineol on the elimination of Demodex mites. Researchers isolated a total of 15 substances from TTO (their abbreviation for tea tree oil) and found that the single most effective compound was 4-Terpineol which, they said, could be used alone to eliminate Demodex Mites. Interestingly, the study concluded that 4-Terpineol could be used to treat fungal infections of the eye conditions as well. Another study, also published by the National Institute of Health, concluded that 4-Terpineol was not only highly effective in killing the microorganisms that caused blepharitis, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), but that it was also safe. The report stated: “It was seen that 2% T4O formulation did not cause ocular irritation, skin irritation, sensitization or allergic contact dermatitis in human subjects.” Finally, an interesting study was published in the IOVS ophthalmology journal that detailed the result of research comparing the treatment of Demodex mite with 4-Terpineol in Cliradex to two other substances: Avenova and mineral oil. Cliradex killed all mites within 40 minutes. Avenova killed just over 20% of the mites in 90 minutes, with 100% of the mites surviving more than 90 minutes in mineral oil.