Using tea tree oil for acne has been more effective for me than any other natural remedy I've tried. It's even effective against cystic acne, those underground monster zits that hurt so bad. As someone who used to suffer from pretty terrible acne, I know how frustrating it can be to try lots of different treatments only to find that the acne comes right back after a couple weeks. I found this to be true both with conventional and natural therapies.
However, this did not occur when I started using essential oils for skin care. And since I'm obviously always in favor of using natural remedies in place of the harsh chemical stuff, that was super exciting for me.
Tea Tree Oil for Acne: Methods I've Used
Here are a few different ways you can use tea tree oil for acne:
- Mix 1 drop with your regular moisturizer. Avoid your eyes!
- Add 1 drop to your regular cleanser. Again, be careful not to get it in your eyes!
- Mix ½ cup of sugar, ¼ cup of sesame or olive oil, 1 tablespoon of honey and 10 drops of tea tree oil for a acne-fighting scrub. This is good for run of the mill breakouts, but could be a little too harsh for cystic acne. Tea tree oil and honey are even natural preservatives so you can keep this in a jar right in your medicine cabinet. There is no need to press the scrub into your skin as you use it - you should be very gentle and you will still get the benefits of exfoliation.
- For acne on your body, you can add tea tree oil to your bath. I like to add essential oils to epsom salts or baking soda before pouring in the bath, since essential oils are not soluble in water and need a carrier.
- Add 5 drops of tea tree oil to ¼ cup of plain yogurt and apply as a mask. Rinse with cool water after 15-20 minutes.
- Make an acne-fighting facial serum (learn how here). You can also buy the one I make here.
How Tea Tree Oil Works
Tea tree oil (also called Melaleuca oil) has powerful antibacterial (and even antifungal and antiviral!) properties and is effective against MRSA, which is a strain of bacteria that has developed resistance to some man-made antibiotics. So it's a natural product that can fight the spread of harmful germs. Its properties also make it useful in fighting acne. My skin is really fussy, but tea tree oil never fails to whip it into shape when I break out.
What Brand of Tea Tree Oil Should I Use?
I especially love that it's a very affordable option for naturally clearing up my skin. A little bottle of tea tree oil only costs a few dollars and lasts quite a long time, since you don't use very much at all at a time. I've tried several brands of essential oils and find that they are definitely one of those things where you (usually) get what you pay for. Essential oil quality matters big time and they are not all created equally. A lot of people will automatically go for the big name, top dollar brands doTERRA and Young Living. Those are fine, HOWEVER (and I'm sure I'm going to get some flack for this) they are, in my opinion, overpriced. When you can get the same results from a less expensive brand, and the product is pure, why wouldn't you?
I've purchased some essential oils that ended up not being pure. It's really annoying! Two brands that I have come to trust are:
- Aura Cacia - Love them! This is the most cost effective option, especially if you love using essential oils for many different purposes like me, and it's not as pricey as you'd think when you consider how much acne skincare stuff can cost sometimes.
- Plant Therapy - Available on Amazon, Plant Therapy is one of the most trusted essential oil brands by herbalists and aromatherapists. I haven't tried all of their oils, but I love their tea tree oil and the others I have used.
It's best to dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil before using it to treat rashes, cuts or acne. Additionally, sensitive skin or not, it is possible to overdose with external use. Tea tree oil should be used sparingly no matter what the application is.
Tea tree oil is definitely an effective remedy for acne, but it shouldn't be used "neat," that is: straight from the bottle. It needs to be diluted to avoid essential oil sensitization. Here's how to dilute tea tree oil for acne in a way that's safe, yet effective.
- Choose a carrier. You might use a carrier oil like jojoba oil or sesame oil (both great options for acne-prone skin). You might choose a mild moisturizer you love or plain yogurt to make an acne-fighting mask. Basically anything you love for your skin that doesn't already contain strong active ingredients could be considered.
- Aim for a 2% dilution. This equals about 12 drops of oil per 1 ounce of carrier. So if you're making an acne fighting yogurt mask, you would add 24 drops of tea tree oil to ¼ (2 oz) cup of yogurt. If you were blending oils, you might add 12 drops of tea tree oil and 12 drops of lavender oil (24 EO drops total) to ¼ cup of yogurt.
Essential oils are potent and powerful! Safe usage is so important. That's why it's so crucial to know how to dilute tea tree oil for acne so you can get the benefits without any harmful side effects.
What are your favorite ways to add essential oils to your skincare routine?
So, I hope you've found this info useful and that you'll be on your way to clear skin soon. I know how frustrating and embarrassing acne can be, which is why I wanted to make this post as informative as possible. If you have any questions at all, leave a comment below.