In the last decade there has been a major push toward the use of lavender and tea tree oils in products. However, a preliminary study has found that the use of these oils in shampoo, soaps, and lotions can temporarily leave boys with enlarged breasts. I’m not talking muscular physique here, I’m talking titties, and boy does that suck.
The study reported on the condition, gynecomastia, in three boys ages 4, 7 and 10. They all went back to normal when they stopped using skin lotions, hair gel, shampoo or soap with the natural oils.
It’s unclear how often this problem might crop up in other young children.
The suspected effect in this study is blamed on some chemical within the oils that the body processes like estrogen, the female hormone that promotes breast growth.
The three boys were brought to their doctors with overdeveloped breasts that looked like those of girls in early puberty. They were sore in one case. For each boy, doctors could tie the problem only to their use over several months of the natural-oil products.
The researchers suspected that the oils might be upsetting the boys’ hormonal balance. So they did a series of laboratory tests to check how these oils work within human cells. The oils appeared to mimic estrogen and block the male hormone androgen.
On product labels, the oils sometimes are listed by their scientific names: Lavandula angustifolia (lavender oil) and Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). Such products do not require government approval to be sold unless they make specific health claims.
Marijuana and soy products also have been linked to gynecomastia.
Dr. Clifford Bloch, a hormone specialist in Greenwood Village, Colo., who treated the three boys, recommended that parents “be cautious” with such products, especially for prolonged use. “I would not give these products to my children,” he said in an interview.
Bloch said he also suspects the oil played a role in a handful of young girls he saw for a similar condition, including a 17-month-old whose parents were washing her bottles with a lavender-scented soap.
This interests me on a couple levels, but what caught my eye, besides the obvious, was the information about the oil from the species Melaleuca alternifolia.
For the uninformed, there is a network marketing company called Melaleuca. I have actually been a customer of theirs for over two years now and I have had nothing but a positive experience. The company manufactures their own products and they use the Melaleuca alternifolia in a lot of there product line. However, I’ve never heard of any negative side affects of using products with tea tree oil in them, just a lot of benefits.
Just when you thought you were informed, something like this comes out of nowhere.