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Does Tea Tree Oil Effectively Work for Acne?

6 mins

Radhika Bhatia

Are you in search of a natural solution to your acne? Read on to learn how tea tree oil can be an effective choice for preventing breakouts.

Most skin care products aimed at clearing up your acne contain harsh or toxic chemicals that include parabens and sulfates. Using these products can result in further breakouts or even damage to your skin. 

While your acne can begin to clear up, it may be at the cost of drier skin and side effects like redness and discomfort.

People will often avoid natural solutions out of fear that they will not be strong enough to help their stubborn breakouts. The truth is that there are plenty of powerful natural options that work effectively. You just need to know which kind to use and how to use them. 

Natural ingredients like tea tree oil offer a 100% vegan, holistic, cruelty-free, and effective blemish-busting alternative. Trust us. We here at WOW Skin Science know all there is to know about natural skincare. Our entire mission is to combine time-tested natural ingredients with formulas backed by science in order to give our customers natural, helpful options.

Table of contents:

  • What Is Tea Tree Oil?
  • What Causes Acne in the First Place?
  • How Does Tea Tree Oil Help?
  • Blackheads
  • Scarring
  • Dry Skin
  • How Can I Use Tea Tree Oil for Blemishes?

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

Before we dive into how tea tree oil can help with acne, let's explore a bit more about this natural ingredient. Tea tree oil is a natural remedy that dates back centuries to ancient medicine in Australia. Known for its ability to support the skin's defenses against blemish-causing bacteria, this Australian plant has remained popular today. 

Tea tree oil is an essential oil made via steam distillation. A strong fragrance and a cooling effect similar to menthol characterize this oil. It's popular for aromatherapy and topical use.  

What Causes Acne in the First Place?

Acne is a common skin condition that can affect people of all ages, especially those with oily skin. While there are many different ways to help soothe acne, what causes it in the first place? 

The main causes of acne include increased sebum production, acne-causing bacteria, and clogged pores. Sebum is a natural oil secreted by the sebaceous glands that help keep the skin hydrated. However, when sebum is produced in excess, it can lead to clogged pores and blemishes. 

Pores can also become easily clogged with dirt and other irritants, which in turn can lead to blemishes like pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. This is why oily skin is often synonymous with acne-prone skin.

acne prone skin, how to get rid of acne

How Does Tea Tree Oil Help?

It’s safe to say that tea tree oil is a powerhouse ingredient with a range of benefits, but how can it help with acne? Here are some of the most common acne-related uses for tea tree oil below.


Tea tree oil can be an excellent way to support your skin’s defenses against blemish-causing bacteria. It can help balance your skin’s natural oil production to help with blemishes like blackheads and pimples. 

Tea tree essential oil can potentially penetrate deep into your pores and help clean them out, which makes it a great companion for other breakout-busting ingredients like salicylic acid, retinol, and benzoyl peroxide. One way you can use this oil to support your skin is to use tea tree oil in a mask before cleansing. 

Wet your face with warm water, and then squeeze a small amount of oil-free cleanser into your hand. We recommend our Green Tea Foaming Face Wash with Brush. Massage the mixture onto your face with small strokes. Gently massage with the brush for one to two minutes. Rinse your face with cool water, pat dry, and then proceed to use our Anti-Acne Neem & Tea Tree Clay Face Mask. Leave the mask to dry for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it off and pat your skin dry. Finish with our Skin Revive Nectar Moisturizer Lotion to help your skin feel more radiant.


Tea tree oil can also be used to help reduce the appearance of acne scarring. Acne scars are a common side-effect of acne breakouts and may take long periods of time to heal. Even years after your last break out, you can still have scarring left behind. There are many different types of acne scars, but atrophic scars are the most common formation. 

If you have acne scars, tea tree oil can help reduce the appearance of scarring and could help even overall skin tone when used as a toner or an acne spot treatment. There are several scar-reducing creams on the market. 

having acne, acne problems

However, these store-bought products tend to contain harsh chemicals that can sensitize the skin and even contribute to allergic reactions (and further breakouts). Consider using tea tree oil as a much more cost-effective and natural way to help brighten the appearance of scars on your skin. 

Dry Skin

Tea tree oil can also help to soothe feelings of itchy and dry skin. Dry skin is a common condition for many that boil down to a lack of moisture in the skin. There are many different factors that can contribute to dry skin, such as dry weather, extreme heat or cold, and overuse of certain skincare products. 

Unfortunately, many acne treatments, even dermatologists-prescribed retinoids, can cause dry skin. While these medications can treat acne, they can also dry out your skin in the process. In turn, dry skin cells can clog your pores, leading to more blemishes.

If you experience dry skin, you may also experience itchiness, discomfort, and some redness. Luckily, with its moisturizing properties, tea tree oil can be an excellent tool to help. Look for skincare products that include tea tree, but leave out the harsh chemicals to help support your dry skin.

How Can I Use Tea Tree Oil for Blemishes?

In addition to being all-natural, tea tree oil can also help promote clearer, healthier-looking skin. How? This essential oil helps kill the bacteria that can lead to skin irritation and swelling. 

Diluting Tea Tree Oil

In order to treat your acne with tea tree oil, you will need to apply it topically. Some tea tree oils are sold already diluted and ready to be used directly on the skin. Other oils will require at-home dilution before use. 

Diluting tea tree oil is essential before use on the skin. Tea tree oil is a strong substance and comes in concentrations that can be too harsh on the skin when undiluted. Check the label carefully to determine whether your tea tree oil has already been diluted.


diluting essential oil

To dilute your tea tree oil, use carrier oil, like jojoba oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil. You can also dilute your tea tree oil with an ounce of water or witch hazel instead of oil to help it feel lighter on your skin. Or, for the best of both worlds, look for gentle formulations of products containing tea tree oil for a simple solution.

Tea Tree Oil and Different Skin Types

When using tea tree oil for acne, it’s important to consider your skin type. While tea tree oil does help moisturize skin, too much of any product can dry your skin out. 

If you’re prone to dry skin or have extra-sensitive skin, consider using tea tree oil as a spot treatment. Place a few drops of the essential oil onto a cotton swab or a cotton pad and dab it over the affected area. This will allow you to have more power over what specific spots of your skin are coming in contact with tea tree oil.

If you have oily or combination skin, you may want to use tea tree oil all over your face. To use, place a few drops on the palm of your hand, rub your hands together to warm it up, and then press it across the entire surface area of your face. 

This will allow your skin to evenly soak up this beneficial ingredient. Before applying tea tree oil, wash your hands well. This will minimize your skin’s contact with bacteria and help prevent any additional breakouts.

Better yet, look at WOW Skin Science’s Anti-Acne Neem & Tea Tree Clay Face Mask. Use this mask for 10-15 minutes to help soothe your skin. Combining tea tree oil with neem extract, jojoba oil, and kaolin clay, you can get the feel of a spa in your own home.

WOW Skin Science’s Anti-Acne Neem & Tea Tree Clay Face Mask

Other Tips

Across the board, tea tree oil is a great skin care remedy. Whether you are looking to help soothe acne or improve some other area of your skin, tea tree oil is believed to help improve your overall appearance and help bring out your natural glow. 

If you don’t want to make your own concoction at home, an easier way to implement tea tree oil into your skincare routine is to add it to your moisturizer. Enhancing your moisturizer is easy. Simply combine a pea-sized blob of your moisturizer with one drop of tea tree oil, and double the product as necessary. After cleansing your face and drying it, massage this blend into your face. This will help your skin to stay hydrated and protected.

We suggest using one of WOW Skin Science’s many safe and all-natural moisturizers. These vegan-friendly products skip the harsh and drying ingredients included in too many other beauty products. See what scientifically backed skincare products can do for your skin.

For example, you can use the WOW Skin Science Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel. With a water base and gel consistency, this moisturizer is safe for all skin types and will minimize the likelihood of breakouts. Beneficial ingredients include hyaluronic acid, pro-vitamin B5, vitamin E, and glycerin. All of these can help to retain hydration, soothe dry or irritated skin, and support the epidermis. 

Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel, Hyaluronic Acid Face Cream

Tea tree oil is an effective treatment option for acne, along with several other unwanted skin conditions. The key to natural remedies is finding the right one and being educated on how to use them safely and effectively. 

Now that you have an understanding of the workings of tea tree oil in relation to acne take a look at how WOW Skin Science can up your skincare routine and help give you the appearance of more radiant skin in the process.

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Radhika Bhatia

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and blogger with a background in marketing, planning, and eCommerce. I specialize in beauty writing, including skincare, cosmetics, wellness, aesthetics, and health. Classically trained and idea-savvy, I love living in the present.

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