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 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 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 1/4 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'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.