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How to Use Tea Tree Oil For Acne (5 Easy Steps)

Ultimate Guide to Get Rid of Acne with Tea Tree Oil

by Christine GlasgowNovember 22, 2016

There are so many different products available to treat acne that one walk down the skincare aisle at your local drugstore in search of such a product is enough to make your head spin. Benzo this, salicylic that, creams, powders, potions; where do you start? And how much does this little tube cost? Are you kidding?

While some manufactured acne treatments are indeed effective for some, not everyone is too keen to deal with them. That may be because they, like many, are not too comfortable with slathering more chemicals onto skin that is already exposed to too many of them every day anyway. For others, the cost is an issue. And for yet others, they have actually tried these prominently marketed potions and pills and well, the results were less than impressive.

So, for whatever reasons that make sense to them, people do tend to seek out natural, and maybe cheaper, ways to treat their acne problem. One of the most widely used at the moment is to make use of a clever little substance called tea tree oil.


What is Tea Tree Oil Anyway? Is Tea Tree Oil A Good Acne Treatment?

Tea tree oil is a uniquely Australian ‘thing’. It is derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia, a tree known as the tea tree, that can only be found in the Southeast Queensland area and the Northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia.

Locals had made use of tea tree oil for centuries, but it wasn’t until well after the area was fully colonized by the British that others became interested in it. Specifically, one Arthur Penfold, a keen entrepreneur, began testing various native oils and found that the tea tree oil could demonstrate rather impressive antiseptic properties.

In the near century that has followed people began putting tea tree oil to all kinds of uses. One of the most common of them is to use the pale oil to battle acne.


Does Tea Tree Oil Help Clear Acne and Blemishes?

  • There are several different reasons why the seemingly rather innocuous tea tree oil can be such an effective weapon in the ‘battle’ against acne:
  • Its natural antiseptic properties help neutralize bacteria on the surface of the skin, bacteria that can quickly cause acne.
  • Even though it itself is considered an oil, tea tree oil is rather good at ‘mopping up’ excess oils on the skin that can clog pores and cause acne.
  • Its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties are long lasting, so even after a tea tree oil treatment is applied to the skin and washed off the bacteria fighting continues for several more hours.


Where Can You Buy Tea Tree Oil? 

Once rather hard to find, tea tree oil is readily available these days, as even some grocery stores carry it in their health and beauty aisles. When shopping for it though, look for a 100% tea tree oil product – not one mixed with other essential oils or that has been diluted – and that is sold stored in a tinted bottle.

The tint on the bottle is important, as the substance that gives tea tree oil its ‘power’, terpinen-4-ol, has been shown to be light sensitive. Expose it to too much light and its effectiveness is seriously diminished. A dropper is also helpful as many acne remedies using tea tree oils call for a droppered amount rather than formally measure quantities.


How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Acne

OK, so now you know what tea tree oil, why people use it to treat acne and where to buy it. So, it’s about time that we look at just how you can make use of the powerful plant oil to get clearer and healthier skin.

There are, as you may have noticed, an increasing number of products on the market – from soaps to cleansers to moisturizers to hair care products and deodorants – that claim to contain tea tree oil as an active ingredient. Most do, but the concentration is not very high and so much of the possible efficacy is lost. That’s why, when we talk about using tea tree oil to get rid of acne we are talking about using the real stuff, straight from that little dropper bottle.


1. Using Tea Tree Oil Alone to Get Rid of Acne

If you have a stubborn cystic acne pimple using tea tree oil ‘as is’, straight of the bottle, can be a great idea.

  • Apply a few drops of tea tree oil directly to the pimple, using a clean cotton ball
  • Leave on overnight, or for 2-3 hours at the very least
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water
  • Repeat every day until the pimple is healed.


2. Using Tea Tree Oil as a Daily Astringent to Prevent Acne

By diluting tea tree oil in just the right way you can make a gentle astringent treatment that will help prevent cystic acne, whiteheads and blackheads all at once.

  • In a small bowl combine one part tea tree oil and nine parts water (distilled water is best)
  • Wash your face in your usual manner
  • Apply the mixture to the whole face, using a clean cotton ball
  • Leave in place for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinse away with lukewarm water and follow with a cold rinse to close pores
  • Repeat every time you wash your face.


3. Tea Tree Oil and Honey to get Rid of Acne

Some of the most effective natural acne fighting treatments are created when you combine two ingredients that are effective on their own but even better when paired up. Tea tree oil and honey are two such substances. This acne treatment harnesses honey’s own antibacterial properties as well as its ability to gently soften skin to boost the tea tree oil’s acne fighting power.

  • In a small bowl combine two teaspoons of raw honey with 6-8 drops of tea tree oil
  • Mix the ingredients until a smooth paste is formed
  • Apply the paste – with a cotton ball – directly to the pimples you want to treat
  • Refrigerate any unused mixture so it can be used again.
  • Leave treatment on overnight and then rinse away with lukewarm water in the morning
  • Repeat every 2-3 days for the best results


4. Green Clay and Tea Tree Oil Mask 

Clay face masks are, it’s generally agreed, a great way to unclog pores and draw out impurities. Green clay – which is available in powder form at health food stores and online – is often considered to be the most effective of all and when it’s combined with tea tree oil a powerful acne fighting mask is the result.

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of green clay powder, 4-5 drops of tea tree oil and two tablespoons of water together in a small bowl.
  • Mix the ingredients until you are left with a smooth, slightly thick paste.
  • Apply the mixture to the whole face and leave to dry
  • Rinse mask off with lukewarm water and then wash and moisturize face as usual
  • Repeat once a week for the best results


5. Tea Tree Oil for Bacne and Other Body Acne 

As some people know all too well acne doesn’t just affect the complexion. It can, in fact, strike anywhere on the body, but can be especially bothersome on the back – a condition sometimes called bacnechest, shoulders and even thighs.

Treating body acne is not easy, but a tea tree oil bath is a great way to start. It’s gentle, offers an easy way to treat the whole body and when used regularly can be very effective:

  • Run a bath as usual and then add 10 drops of tea tree oil to the water and mix it around
  • Take a bath! The tea tree oil will get to work while you soak.


More Tips on Using Tea Tree Oil to Get Rid of Acne

  • Although it looks like harmless stuff, and for the most part is, there are some things you should know about tea tree oil before you start making use of it on a regular basis:
  • If you have very sensitive skin, tea tree oil in its full-strength form may be too drying for your skin. You can solve this problem by diluting it before use.
  • Tea tree oil is for topical use only. Ingesting tea tree oil is not a good idea as it is mildly toxic. And never let your pets lick it up either, as the toxic effects can be far more harmful to them.
  • Opt for real 100% Australian tea tree oil if you want the best possible results. Over the years synthetic versions of tea tree oil been created but they are just that, synthetic, and as such are not as effective.

Now we’d like to hear from you. Have you tried using tea tree oil to get rid of acne? Have you tried using one of the many OTC skincare and cosmetic offerings that contain tea tree oil extract? Did they work for you? Let us know, we are always hoping to learn from others as we teach!


Christine Glasgow
Canadian girl addicted to beauty and fashion. I'm a Blogger, Entrepreneur and web influencer 👑 I mostly talk about anything related to skin care and beauty. I created this site to share science-based information on skin conditions, treatments and skin care.

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