Tea Tree Oil: A Natural Alternative For Acne
Many natural or home remedies have been touted for their ability to cure acne. Unfortunately, the sheer number of such supposed remedies makes it very difficult to separate the real thing from the hype.
Also, acne treatment reviews tend to focus on one of two types of remedies: traditional commercial treatments, and natural remedies. So if you have been reading about traditional acne treatments like topical creams, retinoids, and prescription medications, you may have missed this one. Tea tree oil stands apart from the pack as one of the alternative/natural
remedies that has a truly impressive track record. Acne sufferers and doctors alike have touted the benefits of this potent natural oil, and its effectiveness has even been backed up by scientific studies. Let’s take a look at the unique properties of tea tree oil and see why it might help you improve the appearance of your skin and fight your next breakout.
Properties of Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the tea tree (also known as the melaleuca), which is indigenous to Australia. It has an array of beneficial properties that have made it a popular natural remedy for many different ailments (though of course many of them have not been proven).
For one thing, tea tree oil is antibacterial and anti-microbial, so it helps to fight the P. acnes bacteria that gets lodged in hair follicles and causes pimples. In fact, a comparative study from the early 1990s found tea tree oil to be equally effective as benzoyl peroxide, one of the most popular acne medications. It seems to take a little longer than benzoyl peroxide to see results,
but the side effects were less numerous and less severe, a tradeoff that many people would be willing to make.
Tea tree oil is also a natural solvent, and it is very effective at penetrating deep into the skin and breaking up the dirt, skin oil, and other matter that can build up and clog pores. Another advantage of tea tree oil over pharmaceutical medications is that it is safe to use long term, as the side effects are typically mild, though allergic reactions are not unheard of, mostly resulting in redness and mild burning or occasionally a topical rash. Your body also does not adjust or become immune to tea tree oil, as it does with most medications and antibiotics, so it retains its effectiveness in the long run.
How to Apply Tea Tree Oil
The methods of applying tea tree oil are numerous. Many companies make solutions that contain tea tree oil diluted in some other oil or liquid. Some even include it in soaps, cosmetic creams, lotions, and other topical products. Many people prefer to buy pure tea tree oil, however, so they can control the concentration they use by diluting it themselves or even
applying it without diluting.
Tea tree oil is a very potent substance, and some people experience skin irritation if they apply it full-strength. It’s a good idea to try it first on a discreet and less sensitive part of the body before applying it to your face. You may want to swab a little bit of it on your wrist, for instance, and let is sit overnight to see if you experience any irritation or redness.
People who use tea tree oil commonly mix it with a variety of different ingredients, including water, honey, moisturizer/cleanser, aloe vera, or even yogurt (which is purported to make a good facial mask). There are many possibilities, as long as you know your skin responds well to the substance you’re mixing the tea tree oil with. One of the keys to using tea tree oil is to
experiment until you find the right level of dilution: one that is strong enough to have a significant effect on your skin, but not so strong that it causes undue irritation. This level is different for everyone.
The best acne treatments are usually a combination of multiple approaches. Tea tree oil may not cure your acne, but it may be one more weapon in your arsenal that can make a big difference. If you are wary of the side effects of conventional acne treatments or are simply looking for an approach that is both natural and more economical, tea tree oil may be worth