Formulation study of tea tree oil patches

Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Jan;4(1):133-7.


The antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil (TTO), the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia are well documented. In order to optimize its therapeutic activity, TTO patches were designed. The aim of this work was the formulation of monolayer patches containing TTO. Moreover, the performance of oleic acid (OA) as a skin penetration enhancer in patches was evaluated. Terpinen-4-ol (T4OL), the main component of TTO, was the marker used to evaluate TTO skin permeability. The permeation study was performed through human epidermis by using Franz diffusion cells. Patches were prepared by using methacrylic copolymers, Eudragit E100 (EuE100) or Eudragit NE (EuNE), and a silicone resin, BioPSA7-4602 (Bio-PSA). TTO and OA contents were fixed at 10% w/w and 3% w/w, respectively. The patches were prepared by a casting method and characterised in terms of T4OL content and skin permeability. All the selected polymers were suitable as the main component of the patch matrix. Since the main critical issue in the use of TTO is related to its toxicity after absorption, the local administration of TTO can take advantage of the use of patches based on EuE100 because of the high retained amount and the low permeation of T4OL. In this matrix, OA slightly increased the T4OL retained amount, improving the efficacy and safety of TTO patches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dermatologic Agents / chemistry*
  • Dosage Forms
  • Humans
  • Permeability
  • Skin
  • Tea Tree Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Tea Tree Oil / chemistry*


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Dosage Forms
  • Tea Tree Oil