I have been recently trying to swap chemical-based beauty products with natural products. I don’t like the feel of harsh chemicals against my skin. I have used benzoyl peroxide to control my acne breakouts for years. While it did fade the red acne marks overnight, it was only a temporary fix. Moreover, my cheeks would itch badly right after the application.
So when I finally decided to go au naturel, I started doing research online, browsed several sites, read tons of user reviews and blogs and finally settled with this tea tree oil solution by The Body Shop.
It is a pre-diluted solution with 15% concentration of raw tea tree oil. I was already aware of the skin benefits of tea tree essential oil. It is quite strong and with proper application, it can actually show significant improvements in a short time.
But that’s only a surface-level knowledge. I decided to find out more about the skin healing properties of tea tree oil and how it actually works. Here’s my takeaway from what I learned:
The Chemistry of Tea Tree Oil: How Does It Actually Work on Our Skin?
From deep cleansing of pores to spot treatment of acne, pimples blemishes- this oil has a wide array of dermatological benefits. When topically applied, it releases a soothing cool effect that provides instant relief from minor itching and burning.
Tea tree oil was first used by Australian aboriginal tribes. The oil is extracted from a native plant called Melaleuca alternifolia. What makes it such an effective solution for acne, blackheads and other oily skin problems are its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Terpinen-4-ol is the main active ingredient of tea tree oil. This isomer has stellar antifungal and antimicrobial benefits.
When it penetrates deep into your skin pores, it fights off the bacteria associated with acne. When the oil reaches the sebaceous glands, it removes all the dead skin cells in its way.
Clogged pores can cause oily, greasy skin, blackheads, whiteheads, acne and pimples. By naturally exfoliating your skin, it unclogs and shrinks your pores. This, in turn, helps you get a fresh, glowing and, healthy-looking skin.
It doesn’t just cure existing acne. By creating an unfavorable environment for bacteria growth, it prevents future breakouts as well. Benzoyl peroxide has the same working principle, but it comes with many side effects. While tea tree oil can initially sting a bit, it usually does not cause any major side effect.
Going by all the logic above, you would think that any tea tree oil brand would work the same. What’s the fuss about The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil then?
The answer lies in the combination of ingredients used in this particular product. In addition to pure tea tree oil, it uses a number of other herb extracts to enhance the potency of the formula.
Care to take a look at all the major ingredients used in this oil blend? Let’s do that:
What is Inside the Body Shop Pre-Blended Tea Tree Oil?
1. Steam-Distilled Tea Tree Oil
The tea tree oil used in this blend is obtained by steam-distilling Melaleuca Alternifolia plant leaves. The process takes place in a small farmers’ cooperative in Kenya. The leaves are distilled within 12 hours of harvest to keep the key benefits of the oil intact.
The slowly distilled extract has a high concentration of terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole. The combined insecticidal, antibacterial and antimicrobial effects of these two inhibit the growth of Gram-positive bacteria, the main culprit of Propionibacterium acnes.
It works like a moisturizing solvent. Unlike water, it can easily cut through the grease and dirt on your skin to reach the deep pores underneath. Then it disinfects your pores by clearing off the bacteria and other contaminants stuck inside them.
By rinsing off all the impurities trapped inside, it helps to shrink your enlarged oil glands. With the reduced size of oil glands, you can expect skin blemishes to go away in a few weeks.
This blend uses 15% tea tree oil extract which makes it quite safe for everyday use, even on sensitive skin.
2. Lemon Tea Tree Oil
Lemon tea tree oil is highly aromatic and rich in citral aldehydes. This compound heals damaged skin and acne scars by promoting cell regeneration. It also helps with the redevelopment of scar tissues around old wounds.
Remember not to use this oil on fresh wounds. It might sting a lot! It also increases the bacteria-fighting ability of tea tree oil with its own antimicrobial properties.
3. Tamanu Oil
This exotic oil is derived from a Tamanu tree, a tropical evergreen tree native to French Polynesia. This odorless oil has excellent antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Combined with the other two oils mentioned above, it speeds up your skin’s healing process.
It helps to lighten the redness and discoloration of acne scars. Its cooling effect eases the itching and discomfort caused by insect bites and sunburn. By promoting the formation of new skin tissues, it also improves the health and appearance of your skin.
Do not confuse it with lemon essential oil, though. While the names are quite similar, both are different. The soothing, refreshing fragrance of lemon tea tree oil covers up the strong medicinal smell of tea tree oil.
Another name for Vitamin-E. It is an essential vitamin for our skin as it provides powerful protection against UV damage. It also deeply nourishes and moisturizes your skin, keeping your skin blemish-free, pimple-free, spotless and beautiful.
It also helps to even out your skin tone and works as a deep pore cleanser for oily skin.
Apart from these 4, there are a couple of other ingredients in the formula including denatured alcohol and t-Butyl alcohol. Since alcohol can dry out the skin too much, you should only use 2-3 drops of this oil, not more.
What Are the Skin Benefits of the Body Shop Tea Tree Oil?
This oil mainly aims to deliver blemish-free, acne-free, young-looking, spotless skin. Despite containing two types of alcohol, it does not dry out the skin. You only need two or three drops of this oil to reap its benefits.
Upon topical application, it can immediately calm down skin irritation and soothe rashes. While it is no alternative to professional skin treatment, it definitely works incredibly well for spot treatment of acne and pimples. If not anything else, you can simply use it as a pore cleanser.
All the primary and secondary ingredients in this blend have disinfectant properties. Massaging your skin gently with this oil will flush out all the gunk from your skin pores, leaving you with a perfectly clean skin. Remember to use a moisturizer after using this oil to avoid skin dryness.
Instead of relying solely on this oil blend, you should also improve your overall skin care routine. Pairing tea tree oil treatment with a natural face wash, toner, and hydrating moisturizer or serum will give you better results.
Are There Any Side Effects to Worry About?
Skin reaction to essential oils may vary. Applying the pure oil directly on the face can trigger allergic reactions if you have extremely sensitive skin. You should definitely do a patch test on a small part of your skin before dousing in on your entire face.
This oil blend contains alcohol, so it does have a strong drying effect. If you have super dry and sensitive skin, you should be very careful with the amount of oil you use. Also, invest in a quality moisturizer. Failing to do so could result in dry, itchy and flaky skin, or even worse, more breakouts!
If you are pregnant, I would suggest you consult with a doctor before using the oil just to be absolutely safe. The citronella present in lemon tea tree oil can cause contractions. Although topical application is perfectly safe, you should still give your doctor a phone call.
My Journey with the Body Shop Tea Tree Oil
It’s been 4 weeks since I started using this oil. I use my fingertips to dab this oil on my acne spots twice a day. I get a nice burning sensation for a few seconds after application. It fades away it a few moment. I was initially worried that this oil will make my face greasy. That didn’t happen.
I have a super oily skin and four drops of this oil perfectly balance out the oil level of my skin. The texture is very light and it instantly gets absorbed by your skin. The green color bottle has a narrow nozzle on it which slowly releases the drops.
I’m glad that the nozzle doesn’t have a wide mouth, otherwise one could easily overpour the solution. The packaging is quite travel-friendly. It has a sweet, lemony fragrance which doesn’t linger on for too long.
Since I have oily skin, it’s totally alright for me to skip the moisturizer. However, if you have dry or combination skin, you have to use a moisturizer to avoid dryness. I use it right after cleansing my face with a light face wash.
From the third week onwards, I started adding two tiny drops of this oil to my body face wash as well as face lotion. According to the author of Australian Tea Tree Oil Guide, Cynthia Olsen, mixing tea tree oil in lotions, face wash, and face pack doubles the benefits.
Now here’s a quick summary of my experience with body shop tea tree oil in the last four weeks :
Week 1 :
I applied it in the morning right after the shower. I was in the office all day and my face was not an oil factory for a change! I was quite happy with that. I have used several oil control products before but none as good as this one. No such fantastic improvement with my acne, though.
Week 2 :
The acnes are still quite there. But they look slightly smaller. The greasiness is completely gone. I decided to test out the pimple-healing ability of this product too.
So I took a cotton swab, put a drop of oil on it and dabbed it on the two large pimples on my lower neck. By the end of this week, the pimples look dried out. Their size obviously reduced a lot to this.
Week 3 :
Those two large round pimples looked like two small, dry pimples. The red hue as gone, they appeared slightly darkened. I could still see my acne marks quite clearly. However, the overall appearance of my skin had improved a lot.
I used to come back home from office with a greasy, dull-looking face earlier. Adding tea tree oil to my face wash was a great idea, indeed!
Week 4 :
By the end of week 4, my acne scars faded a little. Those two pimples on my neck turned into two discolored scabs. Nothing else.
Thumbs up to :
- Its ability to make skin oil-free and smooth.
- Its pimple clearing ability.
- Skin glowing effect.
Thumbs down to :
- Quite slow at treating acne.
- The price is on the steeper side.
It is definitely not a miracle or a cure-all product. And it certainly doesn’t work like a charm on acne. My acne breakout problem is quite severe, maybe that’s the reason why I didn’t see any major improvement in these four weeks. However, I can definitely notice a slow but steady progress.
The way it treated my pimples was quite impressive, though. It made them smaller in one week and eventually disappear in the next week.
It was quick to degrease my super oily face too. My face felt a lot cleaner and refreshed after I started adding this oil to my face wash. If it could make my skin oiliness and pimples go away so quickly, I am definitely going to keep using it.
That’s not going to be easy on my pocket, though. For a 30 ml. Bottle, the price is quite steep. But you have to pay the price for quality. Considering the fact that I haven’t had any further breakouts till now, I believe I’ve got my money’s worth.
Summing Up the Tea Tree Oil Story – Should You Buy It?
I would buy another bottle for sure. I hope that by now, you have also made up your mind about it. I am not going to say that it is the best ever beauty product to invest in. What I can say with full confidence is that it works better than harsh chemicals and bleaches.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil will not fade your acne scars or remove blemishes in a snap. However, it will make small improvements every week and since it’s a natural product, the results are going to last longer.