T4O is 4-terpineol, sometimes written as Terpinen-4-ol, the most important of the 15 major components of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a species of tree native to Australia. Historically this essential oil has been used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes, but until recently no one knew exactly why it worked so well in so many different applications, including to kill Demodex mites. These tiny arachnids live on people’s skin and eyelashes and can cause a host of issues. It turns out that it is better to apply isolated T4O on its own to kill the mites than tea tree oil itself. This is because other compounds also found in the oil can have an antagonistic effect, which can reduce the miticidal capacity of tea tree oil as a whole. (Source).
Where Terpinen-4-ol Is Found and Its Uses
T4O is a monoterpene alcohol and is also found in other essential oils, such as marjoram, turpentine, lavender, rosemary and some fruits. In addition, it is useful in eliminating Demodex. (Source). It has disinfectant, sterilization, and antiseptic properties. It is a chemical that either in its isolated form, or in an essential oil is used commercially in many products. These include body lotions and cleansers, flavors, in antibacterial soaps, in preservatives, and shampoos.
What the NIH Has to Say About T4O
Clearly T4O is a pretty interesting and important chemical. An enormous amount of additional information about it, the science behind it, and its varied commercial uses can be found on the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) website. The NIH has also published the primary study on its ability to disrupt the lifecycle of the Demodex mite and eliminate Demodex populations on human beings, as well as its other properties:
“… our results showed that Terpinen-4-ol is the most active ingredient in TTO in exerting Demodex mite-killing effects. This finding is particularly exciting… (Source).”
Treating Eye Issues with T4O
Demodicosis is literally the issue that Demodex mites cause for people. A number of studies have shown that large populations of Demodex mites are related to skin and eye conditions including rosacea, blepharitis, and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). These conditions can lead to further complications that include permanent vision loss if not treated. This makes treatment of Demodex an important medical concern to eye care and skin care professionals.
Cliradex currently offers commercially available eyelid cleansers that have been formulated with 4-terpineol for eye hygiene. Additionally, Cliradex products are naturally-derived and free of preservatives and other common components that could result in irritation.Cliradex Towelettes and Cliradex Light Foam are both designed to gently and safely cleanse the delicate eye area to remove Demodex mites. Because these products are so gentle on the eyes and skin, you can use them as part of your morning and nightly routine, or whenever you feel the need to cleanse your eyes throughout the day. With regular use, our customers have seen significant improvements in symptoms of dry, red, and itchy eyes. In fact, many eye care professionals carry Cliradex products and recommend using them to help adequately cleanse your eyes if you struggle with certain common conditions. (Source).