Tea tree oil and lavender oil: A cause of gynecomastia?

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Tea tree oil and lavender oil: A cause of gynecomastia?

Question

Is it true that lavender and tea tree oils found in many lotions and bath products may cause breast enlargement in boys?

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Answer

Maybe. In February 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine reported on three boys younger than 12 years who developed enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) after application of products containing lavender oil or tea tree oil or both. No other causes of gynecomastia could be identified, and the breast enlargement decreased when use of the oils was stopped. Although three case reports don't prove a direct cause and effect, they do raise questions about the safety of such products. Avoiding the use of tea tree oil and lavender oil — at least in young boys — seems like a prudent approach until more definitive studies are available.

Last Updated: 02/09/2007
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