When you have a breakout, you want to get rid of your acne fast. You’ve likely grabbed spot treatment products that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. While these products do help, they also are known to irritate some people’s skin. Therefore, are you looking for a more natural spot treatment for your blemishes?
Tea tree oil is one alternative method that may help. Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of a native Australian tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). This essential oil has been used to heal and soothe skin for centuries, but can it help treat acne?
Can Tea Tree Oil Treat Acne?
Tea tree oil is often used for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, especially to keep hair, nails, and skin healthy. Due to its natural antiseptic properties, it has shown promise as a treatment for acne.
Tea tree oil can help disinfect your skin and unblock your pores. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the appearance of blemishes with time. One study found tea tree oil as effective as benzoyl peroxide for treating acne, and it had fewer side effects. However, the tea tree oil may take a little longer to work compared to benzoyl peroxide.
In 2018, Mazzarello and colleagues found that a cream made of tree tea oil, aloe vera, and propolis reduced the amount of acne and erythema scars in participants. The cream performed better than a placebo and an erythromycin cream condition.
Overall, there is some evidence that tea tree oil may help treat acne, although further testing, particularly with larger sample sizes, is needed.
Can All Skin Types Use Tea Tree Oil?
While tea tree oil can help with blemishes, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right choice for your skin. While many people use tea tree oil topically, side effects can occur. If you experience a burning sensation, your skin dries out, a rash forms, or your skin gets red, you should stop using it.
If you don’t usually use tea tree oil, you may want to test it on an inconspicuous part of your arm before using it on your face. Mix one drop of tea tree essential oil with a carrier oil. Apply the diluted mixture to the inside skin of your arm and wait at least six hours. If you start to feel a reaction, rinse your arm gently with cold water. If you don’t have a reaction, then you can try to use it on blemishes.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Get Rid of Acne
If you want to use tea tree oil for blemishes, you have options. You can apply diluted tea tree essential oil or look for over-the-counter skincare products that contain tea tree oil. When using an over-the-counter product, follow the item’s directions for use.
If you choose to make your own treatment using a tea tree essential oil, you’ll want to mix it with a carrier oil, not water. Don’t apply undiluted tea tree oil directly to your skin—it’s a highly concentrated ingredient that is likely too strong for your skin, especially with repeated applications.
The diluted tea tree oil should be applied in the evening after you’ve completed the rest of your skincare routine. You only need to gently dab a small amount directly onto the blemish. Avoid putting the essential oil on the skin surrounding the pimple, and don’t add too much. Using too much tea tree oil can irritate and dry out your skin.
Avoid These Mistakes When Using Tea Tree Oil
Diluted tea tree oil can help reduce breakouts when used appropriately. That said, it can irritate and over-dry your skin if you’re using too much of it, using it too often, or applying it to blemish-free skin.
To ensure you get the most out of homemade, diluted tea tree essential oil, be sure only to use it:
- Once a day or every other day—too much can irritate your skin
- At night, since it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun
- After completing your skincare routine and when your skin isn’t too warm
- As a spot treatment—don’t apply it all over your skin or add to your moisturizer or other products
- On the actual blemish
- By itself and not at the same time as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinol as that could irritate your skin
While tea tree oil is considered safe when applied topically to skin, it’s not safe to ingest it. Also, avoid getting it in your eyes, since this can cause irritation and redness.
Using Tea Tree Oil as a Spot Treatment Can Reduce Your Acne Breakouts
If you’re looking for a natural spot treatment for breakouts, tea tree oil can help due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. While this essential oil is generally safe to apply to skin when diluted with a carrier oil, test it on your arm to make sure you aren’t sensitive or allergic to it before trying it on your face.