We’ve reported on why baby bottles are dangerous for boys. Now we’ve discovered another danger for growing boys: tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a substance from Australia that is found in drinks, lotions and shampoos commonly sold in health food stores. Doctors have discovered that it can lead to gynecomastia (male breast enlargement) in boys. This condition sends more men to plastic surgeons that almost any other problem. Lavender oil can also cause this condition.

In the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the University of Colorado report on 3 children whose gynecomastia went away after they stopped using lavender and tea tree oils. One boy got better after his mother stopped applying a “healing balm” to his skin that contained lavender oil. A 10-year-old boy got better after he stopped using hair gel that contained both oils. A pre-pubescent boy got better after he stopped using lavender scented soap.

The effect of these oils on adult males is unknown, but men would be wise to stop using them, since they could also have a bad effect on the sex drive (libido) of mature men.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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