Tea Tree Oil Acne Relief

by Matt Johnson

Posted on Tuesday 14th of October 2008

The world is fast waking up to the wonders of tea tree oil. The famous beauty brand “The Body Shop” has an entire line of products made from tea tree oil. These products are very helpful in preventing blemishes. They deeply purify and cleanse your skin along with absorbing excess oil. Body Shop is one of the many companies that have woken up to the amazing uses of Tea tree oil especially for acne.

Tea tree leaves were earlier used as a substitute for tea, which is how tree oil got its name. The Tea Tree oil is obtained from steam distillation of the leaves of the tree Melaleuca alternifolia. Among the 100 compounds contained in the oil terpinen-4-ol mainly accounts for most of the antimicrobial actions. This tree is native to the New South Wales located in Australia.

Tea Tree oil was used in Australia as a potent antiseptic much before any scientific research. However the recent studies support use of tea tree oil in skin care and various aliments including acne, dandruff, toenail infection, fungal infection, and Athlete’s foot. It is also used in toothpaste, mouthwashes, soaps and shampoos all over the world. It is also used to cure flu, cough and to clear congestion.

Tea Tree Oil Acne Treatment

Tea tree oil contains terepinen-4-ol that is mostly responsible for its antimicrobial properties. This helps in killing the harmful bacteria. Using tea tree oil to acne lesion helps to kill Propionibacterium acnes, the skin-dwelling bacteria that is responsible for causing acne.

Tea tree oil is very effective in treatment of moderate acne. A random trial was done to prove this by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Department of Dermatology on 124 people. This trail compared the effectiveness and tolerance of 5% tea tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide. The results showed that there was significant reduction using tea tree oil, albeit with slower onset of action.

Even though tea tree oil took more time in showing results, there were fewer side effects like burning, itching, dryness and stinging that benezoyl peroxide group showed.

Another study in 2007 on 60 patients with mild to moderate acne vulgaris also gave notably better results than placebo.

Using Tea Tree Oil for Acne

Unadulterated tea tree oil should not be applied to acne lesion as it causes burning, itching, dryness, redness, skin irritation and even blistering. The concentration that is advised is 5% tea tree oil gel which can be applied to effected areas.

To make 5% tea tree oil solution mix 5 parts of tea tree oil to 95 parts of water (5cc of 100% tea tree oil to 95cc of water).

Brenda Harper, Calfornian aesthetician uses it on a regular basis with clients who experience acne, with "wonderful results,". She recommends application of Glycolic acid after dabbing tea tree oil on the affected areas and waiting for 15 minutes.

While tea tree oil is safe, as long as not used internally. Data on oral use of tea tree oil is very little and reports of side effects of oral ingestion.

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