Although both silver (silver nitrate) and tea tree oil can individually fight a range of micro-organisms, their low-dose combination have been found to boost their anti-microbial powers, points out Li Low and his team at the University of Wolverhampton.
On carrying out lab tests on pathogens (involved in skin infections), it was found that common kind of bacteria and yeasts that were the causes behind skin infections, abscesses and fungal infections were killed.
These positive findings prompted researchers to apply the tea tree oil-silver mix on the infected wounds, with the help of liposomes (microscopic spherical bodies made of phospholipids).
Both tea tree oil and silver, when used alone, caused side-effects in patients. Excess exposure to silver could lead to bluish-grey discoloration of the skin, while applying excess tea tree oil can lead to skin irritation.
However, creams containing both the agents in low dosages may prove to be safe over-the-counter antiseptic compounds, for effective treatment of wounds, without causing skin damage.