Consumer’s Guide to Using Tea Tree Oil and Acne

young woman wearing white headband squeezing acne pimple on forehead

Did you know that tea tree oil and acne is an effective natural health remedy?

In fact, scientists have analyzed the antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil and found that it’s just as effective as one of the leading over-the-counter acne medications without causing any side effects.

There are many popular acne products to choose from, such as Oxy 5 and Clearisil.

You’ll find that the majority of these over-the-counter products contain the active ingredients, 5% or 10 % benzoyl peroxide.

Studies show these acne medications may help reduce acne but they may also cause side effects, such as skin redness or peeling.  In some people these medications can actually make acne worse.

So if you’re looking for an effective treatment for breakouts, you’ll be delighted to learn how natural tea tree oil can help stop acne-causing bacteria and prevent future breakouts.

My Personal Acne Story….

I never had acne problems when I was a teenager, but suffered major breakouts when I reached my late twenties and early thirties.

My doctor prescribed all sorts of acne treatments, including antibiotics, benzoyl peroxides, and even Accutane.

accutane pills for acne

Accutane Pills

I never had acne problems when I was a teenager, but suffered major breakouts when I reached my late twenties and early thirties.

My doctor prescribed all sorts of acne treatments, including antibiotics, benzoyl peroxides, and even Accutane.

I found that the Accutane really dried out my skin. In fact, it actually made my skin peel and it became all raw and red; and I even still got pimples after trying this treatment.

Reading through a health magazine, I stumbled across an article touting the health benefits of tea tree oil and acne.

I never knew you could use this oil as an acne treatment. So I went out and bought a bottle of tea tree oil to try it out.

And you know what? I found it’s really works and there’s research to prove this.

Australian Scientists Discover Tea Tree Oil is an Effective Acne Treatment

bottle of Oxy5 acne medication

Camperdown, Australia – Researchers did a clinical trial on 124 patients with mild to moderate acne.

The patients were treated with either 5% tea tree oil gel or 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion.

The researchers discovered that 5% tea tree oil works equally well as benzoyl peroxide for reducing inflamed and non-inflamed lesions.

And the patients also found that the tea tree oil and acne treatment caused fewer side effects. In fact, some patients in the group using benzoyl peroxide experienced excessive dryness, itchiness, redness and skin flaking.

Study shows Tea Tree Oil Can Kill Acne-causing Bacteria

London, UK – Did you know that certain tree oils can kill the bacteria responsible for causing acne in some people?

The 3 strains of bacteria responsible for causing acne:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Staph. epidermidis
  • Propionibacterium acnes

Researchers in England discovered that the active ingredients in tea tree oils, including terpinen-4-ol, can fight these bacteria and help reduce inflammation of the oil gland which may help reduce acne breakouts.

The tea tree oils were found to be just as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide and in many cases may have a lower chance of causing dryness, peeling or redness.

Tea tree oils may also be a safer alternative for people who may be allergic to benzoyl peroxides.

5 Steps to Healthier Clear Skin

Here are some basic skincare steps everyone should follow for clean, healthy skin.

Each step has a specific purpose towards improving skin health and reducing the risk for acne.

Step 1 – Clean your Skin with Skin-friendly Soaps

Use the correct soap to remove oil and dirt. You want to clean your pores and keep your skin moisturized at the same time. Some soaps may over-dry your skin leading to more acne breakouts.

Your soap should remove excess oils but not completely strip all the oils from your skin. An effective soap for acne-prone skin should gently cleanse and moisturize the skin without harsh detergents and man-made chemicals.

Step 2 – Exfoliate Your Face

Exfoliating can prevent future breakouts and improve skin texture. It may increase circulation to the skin and eliminates rough dry patches. Exfoliating may also increase the effect of skin moisturizers by allowing it to penetrate deeper into the skin.

Choose an acne exfoliant that’s gentle on your skin and won’t cause excessive scrubbing and skin damage.

Step 3 – Use a Toner to Restore the pH Balance of Your Skin

Some people may skip this step, but I think it’s one of the most important steps if you want to control your acne. A good acne toner will control oily acne breakouts, help prevent blackheads, remove any left over soap or make-up and restore the pH balance to your skin. I found toners are also great to use on other oily areas like your back and shoulders. Products containing witch hazel, such as Thayers Witch Hazel Skin Toner can make excellent skin care products.

Step 4 – Use an Acne Treatment

Use an acne cream or oil that will fight and prevent future breakouts. It should penetrate the layer of oil and unclog your pores without causing excessive dryness, peeling or irritation. This is where tea tree oil and acne treatments come in. This healthy oil is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent that won’t cause dryness or redness. While benzoyl peroxide is a popular acne treatment, it may aggravate acne in some people, especially those allergic to it.

Step 5 – Use Make-up Sparingly

Try to use as little make-up as possible, preferably none, during your acne treatment. Make-ups with an oil-base can lead to increased oil production and block your pores. A mineral-based make-up may be more compatible with your skin.

Using natural plant-based oils can be an effective treatment for fighting acne-causing bacteria. Remember to use products that provide a high concentration of active ingredients for best results.

Research References:

A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Tea tree oil and acne study. The Medical Journal of Australia. 1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8

Antimicrobial effects of tea-tree oil and its major components on Staphylococcus aureus, Staph. epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes. Tea tree oil and acne study. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 1995 Oct;21(4):242-5


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