It used to be thought that oils and oily skin were a bad combination. By now, though, you’re probably well aware that that skincare myth has been long disapproved.
Coconut and jojoba seem to always be part of the “popular” group of oils that get all the attention, but there are other oils which also have incredible benefits for your skin.
One of these oils we’re talking about is tea tree oil - a common ingredient used in natural antiseptics and household/first aid products. With it’s powerful antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is also found in skincare and beauty products such as cleansers and lotions.
But how exactly does it benefit your skin and why should you use it in your fight against acne?
Australia is home to over 300 species of the Australian coastal tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) from which tea tree oil is extracted.
Used by the Aboriginal tribes for thousands of years, tea tree oil was originally extracted by simply boiling the leaves.This liquid would then be consumed as a tea or applied topically as an antiseptic to treat wounds, cuts, and infections.
In fact, it’s proved so useful that for decades the Australian army has included tea tree balm in care packs for their soldiers.
These days, tea tree oil is obtained from the steam distillation of the leaves which results in a pure oil.
The benefit of tea tree oil in skincare products was bound to be discovered after so many years of antiseptic use.
Containing powerful antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, when applied to the skin tea tree oil has the ability to kill bacteria. This is especially effective for those who want to fight the bacteria caused by the development of acne.
We've all been there; a breakout pops up and we're open to trying anything that "works" to get rid of the pimples... most people tend to turn to acne fighting products with harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. Touted as one of the best acne fighting ingredients, benzoyl peroxide might clear acne, but not without negative side effects such as burning, itching, and even skin peeling.
Tea tree, on the other hand, is a completely natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide and comes with out damaging side effects.
In fact, an Australian study comparing the effects of benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil resulted in promising outcomes. The study compared two groups both fighting acne - one group used 5% benzoyl peroxide on their skin, while the other group used 5% tea tree oil to help treat their acne. Researchers found that even though tea tree oil was slower in reducing the patients’ acne, it resulted in fewer side effects than that of the benzoyl peroxide group.
Using tea tree to treat acne - knowledge is key! When using tea tree oil on your skin to combat acne, it’s important to first dilute it with another oil or distilled water, as applying tea tree oil directly to your skin will burn.
If you are using it as a spot treatment, use the end of a q-tip to apply a small amount of tea tree oil (5%), twice a day. Or, dilute 5 parts tea tree oil to 95 parts distilled water for a gentle spray you can use throughout the day. Make sure to close your eyes before spraying!
Keep in mind using too much tea tree oil can - and probably will - dry your skin. This could then set in motion your body’s response of producing more oils which may result in worsening your acne.
Find that balance, and you'll be forever grateful for this magical plant.
You know the benefits for your skin, and if you’re battling acne/breakouts, you may be eager to get your hands on this all-natural remedy. Tea tree oil can be found in most drug and health stores. You can even find it online, just make sure to order from a trusted (organic) source!
For ease of use however, we recommend choosing a product that already contains the right amounts of tea tree oil. This can eliminate the hassle of you having to play mad chemist and figure out which percentage will work for you. You can start by using a natural cleanser (like our handmade Clear Skin Foaming Cleanser) that contains tea tree oil to balance and restore your skin and help you win the fight against acne!
Let us know if you have any questions about tea tree oil for your skin in the comments below, we’ll be happy to hear from you!