You’ve maybe already heard about tea tree oil benefits in treating acne. Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial, and primarily anti-bacterial properties.
In that way, tea tree oil can successfully reduce the activity of acne causing bacteria, eventually killing them.
But, if you’ve (unsuccessfully) tried so many acne treatment options, tested almost all of the anti-acne skincare products, or you have severe acne breakouts – you may be wondering if tea tree oil is really effective? Is it actually going to help you clear acne? Is tea tree oil non-comedogenic?
If you are having these questions and worries on your mind, you’re in the right place.
This article will not only give you the answers to your questions, it will teach you how to correctly incorporate tea tree oil into your skin care routine, for the best results, avoiding potential side effects.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil, derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia – the Australian tea tree. It is known natural treatment for several skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis, for example, as it exerts antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Furthermore, due to its antifungal properties, it is used in the treatment of fungal infections.
This herbal remedy represents a great alternative to conventional treatment for various skin issues. It is a magical essential oil. Keep reading to find out why!
Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil For Acne
Tea tree oil has so many benefits for your skin and can be beneficial for all skin types. But, my focus in this article will be on problematic, acne-prone skin.
Tea tree oil acts antibacterial, meaning that it destroys bacteria that cause acne. Furthermore, as it has anti-inflammatory properties, it helps reduce redness and skin inflammation related to acne. It is, in fact, entirely natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory skin care asset.
How? Well, it definitely helps with acne, as the oil has really been found to have antibacterial effects against (I know this will scare you) Cutibacterium acne.
I know this name may sound like something dangerous – but it’s not. It is a type of bacteria normally found in healthy skin. However, it is also the one involved in acne formation.
Also, according to dermatologists, it is not merely beneficial in the spot treatment of inflamed acne. It can also be beneficial in clearing your skin of non-inflammatory whiteheads and blackheads.
In fact, one study1 compared tea-tree oil versus benzoyl peroxide, a common conventional treatment for acne.
The results revealed that both benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil were equally effective in treating acne and reducing the number of inflamed and non-inflamed acne. And, although the onset of action of tea-tree oil was slower in the treatment of acne spots, fewer side effects were experienced by patients treated with tea-tree oil.
In other words, tea tree oil is as effective as a conventional treatment for acne – although it needs more time to start working, it results in fewer side effects! It’s worth trying, right?
Another study tested its efficacy by comparing it to placebo treatments2. And guess what?
There was a huuuge difference between tea tree oil and placebo! That means that applying tea tree oil really does its work in spot treatment, ensuring you clear skin, without blackheads and whiteheads.
While tea tree oil is overall safe, in some instances, it may cause some unwanted effects, as probably any other ingredient.
First of all, tea tree oil can be toxic if ingested. So, be careful not to ingest it. For that reason, keep it away from children and pets, too!
Also, although rarely, it may cause mild allergic reaction in some people. That means that it may cause irritated skin and allergic contact dermatitis.
While allergic reactions to tea tree oil are really rare, make sure you perform a patch test before using tea tree oil.
Put 1-2 drops of tea tree oil on the small area of your skin and wait for 24 hours to see if there will be any reaction.
Also, it is recommended (especially if you have sensitive skin) to use a diluted version instead of undiluted tea tree oil. You can dilute it yourself using some carrier oil, like olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil.
Another side effect of tea tree oil is eye irritation. So, be careful when applying tea tree oil to the area around the eyes.
How To Use Tea Tree Oil For Acne & Pimples?
There are so many ways to incorporate this magical, tea tree essential oil into your skin care routine to get rid of those boring blemishes, acne, and pimples.
But, before you first start using it, again, perform a patch test! Essential oils can be irritating to your skin, causing itching, redness, burning, or other unwanted things. So, start with caution, to prevent irritation.
You can add tea tree oil to your regular skincare products, including cleansers, moisturizers, toners, face washes, of course, in the diluted form.
Believe me, you don’t want to risk irritation by applying tea tree oil directly to your skin. Essential oils should not be applied to the skin undiluted. The same goes for our tea tree essential oil.
You can add it to your regular products, such as cleansers, moisturizers, toners, or face wash, in a diluted form. Otherwise, you can dilute tea tree oil using a carrier oil and use it to put it directly on the skin.
Another option to apply tea tree oil is to gently dab your blemishes with it, using a cotton ball or swab, or a Q tip. Following this step, you should allow them to dry.
For even better results, you can opt for overnight treatment. If you choose this way, apply diluted essential oil with carrier oil, on freshly washed skin using a cotton bud, leave tea tree oil overnight, and rinse off your face with warm water in the morning.
Of course, you can also buy some ready-made products containing tea tree oil, like tea tree oil gel, cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, creams, or ointments.
If you have salicylic acid on your mind – yes, this can be a great combination too, as salicylic acid and tea tree oil for acne – act synergistically.
However, be careful if you have sensitive skin, as this combination may cause some sensitivities. If that is the case, you can mix tea tree oil with aloe vera gel which will soothe your sensitive skin and also promote skin healing.
You can even make your own (or buy ready-made) face mask based on tea tree oil. Face mask can be also used overnight, or any other way you are used to in your everyday skin care.
Another convenient option is to buy pimple patches with tea tree oil. You just put the pimple patch onto your newly emerged pimple (or pimples). This option is great – unless you have your face all-covered in pimple patches.
How To Apply Tea Tree Oil?
As previously discussed – you shouldn’t use pure essential oil, as you may end up with skin irritation.
Rather dilute it with some carrier oil, like olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, or even aloe vera gel.
You can use it both before and after the moisturizer (unless you use tea tree oil-based moisturizer – that’s probably the simplest answer).
However, it is always recommended to let it dry. That helps it be effective and prevents the spreading of acne-causing bacteria to other parts of your face. For that reason, you should consider putting it as the last step of your routine.
Also, in your spot treatment, you should really take care of hygiene. So, it would be great if you could avoid putting the skincare products with your fingers.
Rather use some cotton bud/swab. You don’t want to trigger inflammation – and eventually acne scars.
And, you don’t want to expose your skin, already acne-prone. That helps prevent new breakouts.
How Often Should I Use Tea Tree Oil For Acne?
As it is with most acne treatments, you will probably want to use your tea tree oil spot treatment every day for the best results, to treat acne before they cause bigger trouble (including acne scars).
Well, if you have done a patch test and it went well – and you know it’s entirely safe to use (diluted) tea tree oil on your skin, you can apply it to the affected area twice a day.
You can even combine it with other spot treatments, just make sure you start gradually, to see if it will cause you any sensitivity.
Tips For Using Tea Tree Oil For Acne On Your Back
It can be difficult to treat those boring acne on your back… And some of these options above may not be possible.
Applying tea tree oil on back acne is not easy, as you can’t reach a huge part of your back by yourself.
- Depending on where the pimples are, you can try to apply diluted tea tree oil using a cotton swab. Otherwise, ask your friend or partner to apply it over your pimples.
- It is important to evenly massage it over the pimple, so make sure it’s done correctly. If you can’t do it correctly – ask for help.
- In any case, it is still crucial to dilute tea tree oil with other, carrier or base oil. Add a few drops of tea tree oil into the carrier oil for the natural antibiotic ointment for your back acne.
How NOT To Use Tea Tree Oil For Pimples
Yes, there are some things you need to be careful about, as incorrect use can be harmful to your skin.
Never put tea tree oil on open wounds, freshly popped pimples, or skin that is flaking, scaly, broken, or irritated. It can worsen it!
If you feel like your face burns or gets red after using it, or it dries out your skin, you should stop using it.
It is not recommended to combine it with other active ingredients against acne, like retinoids, if you are just starting to use it. You can combine them later on, when you are absolutely sure it is not irritating your skin.
Don’t use tea tree oil treatment on warm skin, like after exercising, face steaming, or after sauna. Rather wait until your skin cools down.
Also, as it is photosensitive, don’t expose your face to direct sunlight after using it. Always use your sunscreen. Dermatologists suggest using sun protection in any case before exposing your skin to direct sunlight, especially when using some photosensitive ingredients.
What Can I Put On A Popped Pimple?
Pimples can sometimes really call for popping. And – although it’s not recommended, popping happens, let’s be honest. Let’s prevent your next panic attack after you “accidentally on purpose” squeeze that huge pimple on your face. What to do?
Before doing more harm – no more messing with it. Allow your skin to heal without picking it further! Just keep your hands away from it – not to worsen it, and not to cause inflammation.
After popping a pimple, throughout cleansing is of high importance. You can use your regular cleanser, but be gentle. And yes, try not to knock it off.
You can also disinfect it, using alcohol, for example. But, be prepared for stinging. Otherwise, you can apply the solution of witch hazel using a cotton ball.
This is a natural, non-stinging ingredient that will surely reduce inflammation after popping your pimple, and will eventually improve its healing, preventing acne scars.
If the popped pimple is swollen and red, you can use the ice cube to soothe your skin and reduce inflammation. Plus, it will really feel nicely relieving.
And – of course, you can always opt for antibiotic ointment. Antibiotic ointment will prevent further infections.
In the end, you may continue with your regular acne treatment product – including tea tree oil, as its anti-inflammatory properties may only help.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.