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Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is often used in creams, lotions, face masks, and cleansers. Products made with tea tree oil can benefit people with acne-prone skin due to its reported anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

A person with acne can develop pimples and lesions due to a buildup of oil in the pores. The condition usually affects the face, but it can also occur on the back and chest. Although people can treat acne with a range of topical and oral products available over-the-counter and with a prescription, some may wish to try a natural treatment, such as essential oils.

Tea tree oil is a common ingredient in skin care products, and it is said to have beneficial properties for acne.

This article will look into these benefits, exploring some of the products a person can find online and discussing what factors a person may wish to consider when looking for acne treatments.

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Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia plant. It is also called “melaleuca oil.”

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) writes that people promote tea tree oil as a treatment for acne, athlete’s foot, lice, nail fungus, eyelash mites, cuts, and insect bites.

It is often used in over-the-counter (OTC) skin care products for its reported anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. A person does not need a prescription to buy tea tree oil products.

Research suggests there may be several benefits to tea tree oil.

An older study found that treatment with 5% tea tree oil gel can help relieve mild to moderate acne.

In addition, a small 2016 study also concluded that a 12-week treatment with tea tree oil gel did not cause serious side effects and significantly improved cases of mild to moderate acne. The side effects listed in the study included peeling, dryness, and scaling, but all of these disappeared on their own.

Another 2016 study notes that tea tree oil can be suitable for people who have oily skin, as it can help combat excess oil and reduce the size of pores.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a person should not swallow tea tree oil, as this can cause confusion, breathing problems, and loss of muscle coordination (ataxia). It can also cause coma.

In fact, this case report explains that an 18-month-old infant required emergency attention when they swallowed tea tree oil. They developed central nervous system depression and respiratory distress.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center also mentions some side effects that can occur with topical tea tree products. These include:

  • itching
  • redness
  • swelling
  • breast tissue enlargement in males

Further, the organization advises those with sensitive skin to avoid using tea tree oil, as there is a risk of developing a rash and other skin reactions.

Although research suggests essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these oils. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils and research the quality of a particular brand’s products. It is also important to always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: Products are available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Ingredients: Products list all ingredients clearly.
  • Skin concerns: Products target a specific skin concern, such as dryness, oiliness, or aging.
  • Safety: Products contain ingredients that are safe for topical use.
  • Reputable: Products are from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
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Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Era Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser

Best tea tree oil for all skin types

Era Organics recommends this face cleanser for all skin types. The company designed this product to remove buildup, cleanse the pores, and improve the skin’s texture.

The manufacturer claims it reduces redness and irritation in addition to clearing acne. This may make this cleanser a good option for individuals who have oily skin, chronic dry skin, or both.

Furthermore, the manufacturer claims this cleanser is cruelty-free and has a nondrying effect. Era Organics recommends that users apply the product twice per day and massage it into the skin with a circular motion for 30 seconds before rinsing.

Keeva Organics Acne Treatment Cream

Best tea tree oil for preventing breakouts

Keevan Organics formulated this cream to reduce acne scars and redness and leave the skin with a smoother appearance. The company claims it also prevents future breakouts and should not cause dryness.

The product description states that the cream has a light texture, and a person can use it as a moisturizer, toner, or cleanser.

Nexon Botanics Organic Tea Tree Oil

Best cruelty-free tea tree oil

  • Main ingredient: tea tree essential oil
  • Size: 1 fl oz
  • Price: $12.50

This tea tree oil is formulated for people who have acne, dry skin, or athlete’s foot. People can also use it to help soothe dryness on the scalp.

The company claims that it does not test its products on animals.

The manufacturer advises mixing this product with a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil before applying it directly to the skin.

A person may also wish to do a patch test before using this product on larger areas of skin to check for any allergic reactions. People should keep tea tree oil products out of reach of pets, as they can be toxic.

Handcraft Blends Tea Tree Essential Oil

Best tea tree oil for cleansing

  • Main ingredient: tea tree oil
  • Size: 4 fl oz
  • Price: $16.95

This Handcraft Blends product comes in an amber glass bottle to protect the product against UV rays. It also has a dropper to help people use the right amount of product.

The company claims that its essential oils are tested by independent labs to guarantee their quality and efficacy.

A person can mix this tea tree oil with a carrier oil for use on their skin.

Dr. Jart+ Teatreement Moisturizer

Best lightweight tea tree oil moisturizer

  • Main ingredients: tea tree leaf extract, niacinamide, and salicylic acid
  • Size: 50 milliliters (ml)
  • Price: $35

Dr. Jart designed this moisturizer to be lightweight, with a formula that will not clog pores. It aims to balance the skin’s pH and moisture levels without causing any irritation or dryness. It also uses plant and flower extracts to hydrate and soothe the skin.

According to the company website, this product can also reduce sebum on the skin. The manufacturer cites a small clinical study that lasted 4 weeks and saw an 18.7% reduction in sebum levels. There is no mention of whether the study was carried out independently from the company.

The company recommends this product for oily and combination skin.

A person can apply this tea tree moisturizer right after cleansing their skin.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil

Best tea tree oil with eco-friendly packaging

Sunday Riley’s acne treatment face oil is designed to help clear congested pores, prevent blackheads, and brighten the appearance of dark spots.

A person can apply the oil to their face, neck, and chest after cleansing their skin, day or night. The company writes that the oil is quick to absorb into the skin.

Sunday Riley claims it produces cruelty-free products and commits to using sustainable packaging, recycled pulp boards, and eco-friendly inks.

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Best tea tree oil deep cleanser

  • Main ingredients: tea tree leaf oil, primrose oil, and beta hydroxy acid
  • Size: 5.07 oz
  • Price: $14

This face wash is formulated to be gentle on the skin and aims to remove dirt and oil. The company claims it reduces the appearance of pores and softens the texture of a person’s skin.

Further, the company writes that this cleanser is free from parabens, sulfates, or alcohol.

A person can use a small amount of this product and massage it into their skin in the morning and evening.

Natural Riches Organic Tea Tree Oil

Best tea tree oil for athletes

  • Main ingredients: Mentha arvenis essential oil
  • Size: 1 fl oz
  • Price: $14.50

This product may be a good option for athletes, as it is formulated to fight nail problems and prevent body acne, athlete’s foot, and foot odor.

A person can also use this organic tea tree oil if they have skin redness or want to improve the texture of their skin.

According to the manufacturer, buyers can apply this oil directly to their skin and even use it in a diffuser or a humidifier.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask

Best tea tree oil night mask

  • Main ingredients: tea tree oil and salicylic acid
  • Size: 2.6 oz
  • Price: $24.99

The Body Shop’s leave-on night mask product is formulated for people who have oily skin.

It is vegan and does not contain alcohol, and it is made with a formula that will not stain pillows or bedsheets.

The company recommends that individuals keep the mask in the fridge to enhance its refreshing effect.

Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask

Best natural tea tree oil mask

This mask has an easy-peel design. People can use the handle located at the top of the sheet to unfold and apply the mask, making it easy to apply and remove.

Buyers can apply the sheet mask to their skin after cleansing and toning, but the company states that it is best to avoid the lip and eye area.

A person who is looking for a tea tree oil product for their acne-prone skin can consider various factors, such as:

  • Sustainability: Some companies claim that they use eco-friendly packaging and recycled tools. A person can find this information on the product label or manufacturer’s website. Some brands also claim their oils are cruelty-free, as they do not test them on animals.
  • Convenience: A person can opt for a product that comes with a dropper. This allows them to use only the amount of tea tree oil they need.
  • Ingredients: It is best to check a product’s ingredients list to make sure it will not cause irritation. Additionally, a person may wish to check if they need to mix their chosen tea tree oil with a carrier oil before using it directly on the skin.

There are many tea tree oil products suitable for people who have acne. And a person can use most of these products to help address other skin problems, such as cuts and athlete’s foot.

A person should check the product’s ingredients before committing to a purchase. If they find that tea tree oil is making their acne worse, they should stop using the product and talk with a doctor or dermatologist about how best to manage and treat their acne.