Tea Tree Oil & Acne

Tea Tree Oil can help to combat acne in a variety of ways. It helps by killing acne-causing bacteria, and continues to help by drying out oil that can clog pores. However, caution must be observed for home treatments.

For those suffering from acne, finding the perfect treatment is an appealing prospect. Millions of dollars in acne medications, masks and cleansers are sold every year. Some work, while others may do more harm than good. Even those that work can be harsh on the skin, leaving some to seek out more natural means of acne treatments. While there are many natural acne treatments used, tea tree oil is one of the few with actual medical organizations recommending it to patients.

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is the essential oil stemming from the paperbark tree in Australia. It has been used for centuries as an alternative treatment for all manner of skin conditions, ranging from burns and cuts to acne and eczema. It has a somewhat harsh, astringent smell, but offers a cooling sensation upon application.

How Does Tea Tree Oil Help Acne?

Tea tree oil may help prevent acne in various ways. One of the most commonly known ways tea tree oil may help treat and prevent acne is through the killing of bacteria which can lead to breakouts. It may also help dry oil which can clog pores. Tea tree oil also stimulates the immune system, according to Asa Hershoff, a naturopathic doctor, allowing it to work more effectively over the long-term. This may help prevent additional breakouts from occurring if bacterial infection is the underlying cause.

Tea tree oil has also been shown to soothe the skin, allowing it to reduce inflammation which may contribute to breakouts.

How is Tea Tree Oil Applied?

Tea tree oil may be applied in many ways. There are already mixed tea tree oil applications and masks which may be used. Many medical experts buying these rather than trying to mix an oil mask or cleanser yourself. However, it is possible to combine tea tree oil when combined with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, or with aloe vera gel. Add a few drops to your carrier ingredients and then apply directly to pimples.

Never apply tea tree, or any essential oil, directly to skin. These are powerful and highly concentrated oils, and they may lead to burns and other injuries if applied at full strength. If you don’t trust yourself to mix the oils precisely, buy a pre-measured acne treatment.

Start off with smaller amounts of oil and work up to a stronger blend, if needed. Add only a few drops per 1-2 tablespoons of carrier ingredient.


Despite it being natural, and generally accepted as safe, tea tree oil does have a few precautions you should keep in mind. Those with sensitive skin should avoid tea tree oil, or use it with extreme caution with a weaker mixture to start. Although some have used tea tree oil for eczema, it is not advised for eczema sufferers unless overseen by a doctor.

It is also very important that you do not take tea tree oil orally. Internal use is dangerous and can be lethally toxic, depending on the amount ingested. For this reason, tea tree oil should be kept out of reach of children, says WebMD.

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