Does Tea Tree Oil Work for Acne Scars? What the Research Shows

Tea tree oil is made naturally from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. This plant is quite common in the New South Wales region of Australia. It has a fresh scent and is usually a pale yellow or colorless oil. It has an oily feel between the fingers.

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Tea tree oil is sold in an amber-colored bottle with an eyedropper style of lid. It’s considered a pure essential oil as the extract is cold-pressed from the Melaleuca alternifolia leaves.

Does Tea Tree Oil Help Clear Acne Scars?

Tea tree oil has many anti-bacterial properties. While it’s not safe for oral consumption, it’s safe to use on the skin and is non-carcinogenic.

Tea tree oil has anti-microbial properties. There have been studies done that have proven that this oil can kill MRSA or staph infections in the hospitals, but it will also kill the Propionibacterium acnes that live inside hair follicles, which can lead to acne inflammations. Besides having disinfecting properties, it also has soothing properties, which is essential when your skin is burning and itching due to an acne flareup.

tea tree oil for acne

Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties due to which it can possibly reduce the occurrence of pimples and thereby improve the overall health of your skin. By controlling the oiliness of the skin, tea tree oil can also reduce the chances of acne outbreaks in the future.

What Research Says About Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is renowned for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that it is an effective broad-spectrum anti-microbial agent that works by damaging the cell walls of bacteria. Tea tree oil is also proven to reduce skin inflammation conditions.

Since acne presents inflammation conditions and is worsened by bacteria in the skin, it is natural to assume that tea tree oil should offer relief from acne conditions. However, is this validated by science?

There are, in fact, a couple of scientific studies that link tea tree oil to active acne treatment. This 2007 study in Iran suggests that the application of 5% topical tea tree gel oil is an effective treatment method for mild to moderate acne breakouts.

2016 study also supports these findings. Although the primary aim of this study was to formulate a cosmetic sunscreen for oily skin, the associated results indicated that tea tree oil reduced the oiliness of the skin, which can, in turn, reduce the chance for future acne breakouts.

These studies indicate that tea tree oil is an excellent agent to prevent and control acne breakouts. It reduces the number of acne lesions and associated side-effects of an acne breakout. However, the effectiveness of tea tree oil on acne scars is questionable.

A study in 2015 on complementary acne treatment methods discussed tea tree oil as a product that could reduce acne lesions. However, the results of this study are not 100% conclusive.

Acne lesions occur deep within the skin. There is scientific evidence that the components of Tea tree oil have limited ability to penetrate the skin. Hence, tea tree oil may not be the best acne scar solution. It can best address raised scars on the skin and not those below the surface.

Nevertheless, by reducing the chance of acne breakouts in the first place and controlling oiliness, this essential oil can reduce the chances of acne scarring in the future.

How Do I Dilute Tea Tree Oil for Acne?

Tea tree oil, in its pure form, is a highly concentrated essential oil. These types of oils are best diluted with a carrier oil to reduce their potency. Undiluted tea tree oil can cause adverse side-effects like rashes or itchiness in some people. Hence, you should avoid applying tea tree oil directly to your skin.

Most OTC products containing tea tree oil have been formulated with TTO in the right concentrations. If you are using such a product that contains other ingredients as well, you can use it as such.

As with any product that contains powerful natural ingredients like tea tree oil, it is always best to do a patch test before applying it to large areas of skin. Although tea tree oil is generally safe for most people, it can produce allergic reactions in rare cases. Discontinue use if you notice any redness, itching or swelling.

Using Tea Tree Oil to Get Rid Of Acne

Since you shouldn’t use tea tree oil on its own and it can cause irritation in its pure form, it’s best to mix it with other skin-friendly ingredients to target acne conditions.

This recipe is simple and easy to make, and you’ll find most ingredients at the grocery store, supermarket, or online shop.

Ingredients for Tea Tree Oil Acne Treatment

Shop for these ingredients to make your own tea tree oil skin clearing toner acne treatment. You will want to measure the amounts together and mix them up carefully. Begin with these essential ingredients for your tea tree oil facial toner.

  • 1/4 cup distilled water.
  • 3-4 drops of tea tree oil.
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.
  • Small spray bottle—you can get these from the dollar/variety stores for cheap.


Do these four steps to prepare your tea tree oil toner.

  1. Pour all three ingredients into the spray bottle.
  2. Insert spray nozzle.
  3. Add cap.
  4. Shake gently. It’s now ready for use.

How to Apply Tea Tree Oil Skin Toner to Skin

It’s simple to apply the tea tree oil toner to your skin.

  • Spray the toner directly onto a cotton ball.
  • Gently wipe around your face with the cotton ball.
  • Avoid rubbing the toner around your eyes or inside your nostrils or ears.
  • Dab the cotton ball in spots where you have acne.
  • If you have acne on the back of your scalp or other parts of your body besides the face, you can spray the toner directly onto these areas.
  • Never spray the toner directly onto your face as it can sting your eyes.

Facial Scrub with Tea Tree Oil to Get Rid of Acne

A homemade facial scrub can also provide relief to acne-prone skin. When used correctly, it can cleanse the skin, remove dead cells, and unclog pores. Since pores clogged with dead skin cells, germs and oil can trigger acne, you can reduce the chances of a breakout by addressing this issue with a good facial scrub.

When you add tea tree oil to scrub, you can benefit from its natural anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Meanwhile, the oil in the facial scrub will soothe the skin.

Ingredients for Tea Tree Oil Facial Scrub Treatment

Collect together these ingredients in a bowl to make your own facial scrub. It does not store well, so mix it up a few minutes before application. At bedtime may be the best time, as it contains two different types of oils, which can provide nighttime moisture to your face.

  • 5-6 drops of tea tree oil.
  • 1/8 cup of olive oil.
  • 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Small bowl and spoon.

Method for Making Tea Tree Oil Scrub for Face

Do these steps to make your tea tree facial oil scrub to help combat acne and reduce the chances of scarring in the future.

  • Mix all the ingredients into the bowl.
  • Don’t over-mix, as you don’t want your sugar to dissolve before you’ve had a chance to use it.
  • Don’t heat it or place it in the fridge.

How to Use Your Tea Tree Facial Scrub

After immediately mixing up your facial scrub, do these next steps on how to use it on your face.

  1. Rinse your face off with warm water first, and leave damp.
  2. Using your fingers, rub your facial skin scrub onto your face.
  3. Don’t put any scrub around your eyes, near your nostrils, and avoid hairline.
  4. Once you apply it to the face, gently massage it around in circular motions.
  5. Continue your facial massage for two to five minutes, depending on the level of comfort.
  6. Wash your face off with warm water until all the sugar is gone.
  7. It’s fine to leave a bit of the oil remaining on the face, as this will provide additional acne-fighting properties and moisture for your face.
  8. Pat your face gently dry.
  9. No need to apply additional moisturizers.
  10. Have a good night’s sleep.
  11. Repeat your tea tree oil facial scrub one night per week.

Where Can I Buy Tree Tree Oil?

Tea tree is readily available in most supermarkets and medical stores as pure essential oil. You can also find it in skin-care products with other ingredients. Expect to pay from $12 to $20 for a 4 fl oz bottle or 120-milliliter bottle of pure tea tree oil. Check out some of these locations first.

  • A large local supermarket.
  • A specialty food place.
  • Supplement or vitamin shop.
  • Vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free alternative foods and product stores.
  • Online stores.

3 Popular Tea Tree Oil Products, According to Reviews and Rating:

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Tea Tree Oil Cautions

Tea tree oil is highly concentrated, essential oil. It can irritate the skin if applied directly.

Although some people face no adverse skin reactions from applying it directly to blemishes, others can experience burning, irritation, or allergies.

So, it is best to dilute tea tree oil with water, vinegar, or another carrier oil before you apply it to the skin. It’s also not meant to be taken internally. So, don’t swallow it if you’re using it as a mouthwash. Also, avoid using it around eyes, ears, nostrils, etc.

Tea tree oil is very popular in various skin and hair treatments. Since the concentrated oil must be diluted before use, a small quantity can last for a long time. So, it is a good idea to add this essential oil to your medicine cabinet.

One Response

  1. Punita January 6, 2017

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