Tea tree oil, derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, is widely used for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Thereupon, it has been used in many over the counter cosmetic products for treatment of acne and acne scars. Read on to find out what research shows about its efficacy.
Tea tree oil has antibacterial components.
Tea tree oil is a mixture of terpenes and similar alcohols. The main antimicrobial component is terpinene. Terpin-4-ol, terpinolene, α-terpinene, and α-terpineol help inhibit Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus. The former being a cause of acne.
Is Tea Tree Oil Good for Acne?
Studies show topical tea tree oil is an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne.
A study in 2007 shows that topical 5% tea tree oil gel is an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne vulgaris. Participants showed less total acne lesions and acne severity after 45 days of use.
Another study in 2017 shows similar results with participants who used tea tree oil gel (200 mg/g) and face wash (7mg/g) having significantly improved mild to moderate acne.
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties.
A study in 2004 used 10% tea tree oil cream on canines with eczema, an autoimmune skin condition caused by inflammation. Dogs treated with the cream for 10 days had significantly less itching compared to dogs treated with a placebo cream. Another study done in 2011 showed that topical tea tree oil is more effective than zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate in helping eczema symptoms.
Is Tea Tree Oil Good for Acne Scars?
Tea tree oil indirectly helps with the prevention of acne scars.
While there is good research evidence for the efficacy of tea tree oil for acne, there is a lack of research for its effectiveness with acne scars. At the very least, tea tree oil helps minimize acne scars by helping with active breakouts. Remember, inflammation causes darkening of scars. By decreasing inflammation, tea tree oil indirectly helps prevent severe hyperpigmentation.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Acne
Never use 100% pure tea tree oil directly on skin. The essential oil is very strong and can irritate the skin and severely dry it out. Therefore, look for tea oil face masks, creams, and washes that have been formulated for the face.
Since tea tree oil can dry the skin out, we recommend using an oil free moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated. A hydrated face will prevent irritation and skin peeling. On top of that, don't use topical tea tree oil as a spot treatment but instead apply it everywhere on your face to not only treat existing acne but also prevent new ones from forming.
Acne is a multi-faceted problem and its treatment will vary among individuals and how severe the acne is. For example, a person with mild to moderate acne may benefit from using a topical tea oil alone. On the other hand, individuals with more severe acne may need additional products to thoroughly combat acne.
Below is a list of acne treatments that may help someone with different types of acne with varying severity.
DrFormulas Dermatrope Clear Skin Supplement
DrFormulas Charcoal Mask with Tea Oil and Lavender Oil
DrFormulas Retinol Cream with Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide
DrFormulas Pimple Patches
Natural Herbs to Support Clear Skin