Can Tea Tree Oil Be Used To Treat Acne?

One of the skin conditions that most people fear is acne. However, it is the one that affects people the most. You can find dozens of acne treatments being sold on the market ranging from low-priced generic products that provide less than desirable results to established high-end brands that are more often than not expensive. Most of these treatments available are oftentimes chemically based which is not ideal. 

In the past decade, the number of people who have switched to natural remedies has tremendously grown. Tea tree oil for acne is one of the most popular natural treatments to be discovered in recent years.

Best Tea Tree Oil Brand For Acne

essential oil dripping on the green leaf from pipette

Tea tree oil (sometimes referred to as melaleuca oil) is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree. Known locally as the narrow-leaved tea tree, it is a species unique to Australia and naturally found in Northern New South Wales. Tea tree oil possesses wonderful healing properties. It can help get rid of acne and keep it from coming back over time. The key part it plays in the healing of various skin disorders has made it an integral ingredient in body lotions, facial creams, and washes.

The Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for the Skin

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Tea tree oil ranges in color from pale yellow to almost colorless. Its fungicidal and antimicrobial properties can be used in various ways for the treatment of skin disorders.

1. Solves Athlete’s foot

Tea tree oil is a very good herbal treatment for athlete’s foot, a common infection that occurs between the toes of the feet. It is marked by blisters, inflammation, and itching on the affected area. Combining tea tree oil with some olive oil and applying the mixture to the infected part creates a soothing effect and hastens the healing process.

2. Effective Disinfectant

Studies have shown that tea tree oil’s germ-killing properties can be used as an effective disinfectant for cuts and burns, as well as various forms of skin diseases. It can soothe the pain when applied to minor burns. Since it is antimicrobial, it lessens the chances of infection from occurring in the affected area.

3. Minimizes the formation of Corns and Warts

A drop or two of tea tree oil can minimize the formation of corns and warts. If your skin shows signs of sensitivity to tea tree oil, you may need to use a blend of this oil that has been diluted with a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil.

4. Quick relief from insect bites

Tea tree oil can provide quick relief to the itching or swelling caused by insect bites.

5. Fights certain Fungus and Bacteria

The oil fights the fungus and bacteria that are known to trigger allergic reactions.

6. Prevents skin allergies

At bath time, add 2 – 3 drops of this oil to the water to help prevent the occurrence of skin allergies.

7. Acne Treatment

Tea tree oil works as well as popular acne treatments. Unlike some popular acne medications, tea tree oil will not cause further harm by taking away your skin’s natural oils.

The Proper Use of Tea Tree Oil on Acne and Cysts

Finding the right brand of tea tree oil for the treatment of your acne problem is one thing. The other thing to consider is what manner of application will be compatible with your skin. 

A good quality brand will contain purely concentrated tea tree oil. If possible, stay away from oil products that have already been diluted. Other ingredients could have been added into the formulation that could possibly weaken the oil’s potency. Tea tree oil can be topically applied in a variety of ways:

  • You can place one or two drops of oil on a sterile cotton bud which you can dab directly on the acne.
  • You can add a few drops of this oil to your facial cleanser, thin the blend with a little water, and use this as a toner.
  • You can also make a homemade facial mask by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to plain yogurt.

When buying tea tree oil for the first time, pay attention to its label. The usual recommendation is to never use the oil undiluted. This means it has to be thinned out with a few drops of carrier oil. Tea tree oil contains strong active ingredients that may cause some skin irritation and diluting it with carrier oil will help tone down the reaction. Tea tree oil is a very effective treatment for cystic acne. 

While applying the oil on the cyst full strength will be highly desirable, thinning it with a carrier oil or just water will make it less irritating for individuals with sensitive skin. Individuals react differently to essential oils, according to their skin’s tolerance. If you haven’t used tea tree oil before, you will first need to do a skin test. Place a drop of oil on your wrist to see if there will be any allergic reactions after an hour or so. 

Be aware of your face and where its sensitive spots are. Many people have applied undiluted tea tree oil on different areas of their faces without experiencing any reaction. However, applying the oil on the eye or cheek areas may cause skin dryness the following day.

How Tea Tree Oil Works Against Acne

papulopustular rosacea, close-up of the patient's cheek

Can tea tree oil stand toe-to-toe against the more expensive over-the-counter acne medications? From the foregoing paragraphs, you have learned that tea tree oil is an ideal skin treatment, particularly for oily and acne-susceptible skin, without the high cost of popular drugs. As nature’s alternative in treating acne, recent studies have revealed that:

  • Tea tree oil is just as good as commercially-sold acne solutions like benzoyl peroxide.
  • The antibiotic and germicidal components in tea tree oil are effective deterrents against bacteria that trigger acne breakouts.
  • This highly potent oil can go deep beneath the skin surface to help clear up clogged sebaceous glands, neutralize the infection, and dry up acne.
  • The oil dissolves acne-causing dirt and grease on the skin and provides the dermal layer protection against oxidation.
  • Bathe yourself in water mixed with some tea tree oil to clear other parts of your body of acne.

In a nutshell, tea tree oil possesses the following microbe-fighting properties:

  • Rids the skin of disease-causing microorganisms
  • Inhibits the growth of fungus
  • Anti-viral
  • Stops the development of acne-causing bacteria
  • A solvent that thoroughly dissolves grease and dirt

Tea Tree Oil Side Effects

Like everything, tea tree oils also have a few sideeffects which you must know before you start using it to treat your acne breakouts. These side effects include:
Skin irritation.

  • Dryness.
  • Allergic skin rash (dermatitis)
  • Itching.
  • Burning.
  • Stinging.
  • Scaling.
  • Redness.

Hence, before you use any kind of serum or oil that includes tea tree oil, be very wary of these side-effects as they may exaggerate the problem that you already have.

If you experience these and they do not go away, seek help of a medical profession as soon as possible.

FAQ: Can Tea Tree Oil Be Used To Treat Acne?

1. Can you apply tea tree oil directly on acne?

No, it is not recommended that you apply tea tree oil directly on your face. This stands for any kind of essential oil. Doctors recommend against this because essential oils like tea tree oil are quite strong and applying it without diluting it can cause issues such as redness. 

Other than redness, you can also experience eruptions and other reactions that may exaggerate the acne issue that you already have.

The correct way to apply tea tree oil is to add 2 to 3 drops of it onto another kind of oil like almond, olive, or even coconut oil. These oils act as carrier oils and minimize the potency of strong oils such as tea tree oils. 

2. Can tea tree oil be left on the face overnight?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to leave tea tree oil on your face overnight. Various studies have found that tea tree oil is an amazing remedy for inflamed and non-inflamed acne. 

Most tea tree oils are made to stay on your skin for an extended period like a few hours or even overnight. The best way to remove oil that has been sitting on your face for that long is to rinse it out with warm water.

By repeating this process, acne breakouts can be minimized to a certain extent. 

3. What should Tea Tree Oil be mixed with if it is to be applied on the face?

If you want to apply Tea Tree Oil on your face, mix it with other kinds of oil to dilute it. You should not apply it directly on to your skin since it is quite potent. 

Oils such as almond oil, olive oil, and coconut oil are perfect as carrier oils. Add in 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil in every 12 drops of carrier oil.

4. Can Tea Tree Oil clog pores?

A common concern when applying any kind of oil on your face is that it will clog pores. However, this is not the case with tea tree oil. This oil is non-comedogenic and will not clog your pores.

Additionally, tea tree oil also has some antioxidant properties which is a huge bonus and will definitely help you reduce acne breakouts on your face.


Tea tree oil has been proven to be one of the most effective natural alternatives to high-priced pharmaceutical acne medications. Scientific studies have shown that its germ-killing components are so effective that only a few drops per use can clear up acne in a short time. 

It has become easily available in various stores all over the country, from regular formulation to extra strength quality. Can tea tree oil be successfully used as an acne treatment? The answer is a resounding yes. If you are tired of high-priced chemical-based drugs that carry a lot of harmful side effects with no guarantee of full success, then you should set your eyes on the all-natural, low-cost, and highly effective tea tree oil.