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Here is an interesting tea tree oil tip: The ability to penetrate the skin is critical to effective dispersal of the active ingredients of tea tree oil. Unlike many antiseptics, tea tree oil kills bacteria as effectively in the real environment of the body as in the test tube. The solvent nature of melaleuca alternifolia oil allows it to penetrate into skin layers, reaching deep into, for example, muscle tissue, or under a toenail or fingernail or an abscess in the gums. This penetration is key to allowing this wonderful natural medicine to work its magic.