Does Tea Tree Oil Help Acne

Does Tea Tree oil help with acne? The answer is a resounding yes. For practicing aromatherapists, it is one of the first oils to consider to help with acne and its associated symptoms.

It is a wonderfully accessible and easily obtained oil with many constituents to help acne. They have historically used tea tree oil to help with acne because of its specific antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

The constituents of the oil help a range of things associated with acne. It is a diverse oil with many uses and ways to help with acne during a breakout and manage skincare going forward.

What is Tea Tree Oil?

The oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree which is native to the low-lying wetlands of the Northern New South Wales region of Australia.

The Indigenous peoples of Australia first used the tree in their traditional natural medicines and remedies. Specifically using the leaves and branches mainly brewed and steeped in hot water. For many health and skincare uses, notably in this instance - poultices were made with the leaves of the bush to help with wounds, acne, and skincare.

Thankfully, the hard work has already been done for us. So we are left with a small bottle of mighty oil full of antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-bacterial terpenes.

Does Tea Tree Oil Help Acne?

In short, Yes. Tea Tree oil does help acne and its associated symptoms.

What is Acne?

Acne is a widespread skin condition where the pores or hair follicles on the skin get blocked by excess skin debris or cells (keratin) and an excess of oil (sebum), which is made by the sebaceous glands.

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What is Sebum?

Sebum is a natural waxy oil that your body produces through the sebaceous glands and covers your skin to protect and moisturize it. Sebum’s primary function is to create a barrier on your skin to protect it from excess water evaporation and external bacteria and viruses.  

Where can Acne Arise?

Primarily acne affects the skin on the face, neck, chest, and back. It’s uncommon - but not unheard of, to get acne elsewhere. A flare-up can happen anywhere where sebaceous glands, i.e., apart from the palms of hands and the soles of feet, can be affected.

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What Causes Acne?  

No one knows what causes acne; it is thought that most acne is triggered by hormones or stress. The onset of puberty coincides with the start of breakouts. Diet and what you take into your body can also affect acne. For example, a diet that is high in fat, refined sugar, and dairy can contribute to the arrival of acne.

Establishing a skincare routine incorporating Tea Tree oil can help acne during this time and prevent breakouts from becoming infected.   

Different Types of Acne

There are six different types of acne that Tree Tree oil is helpful for; these are:

Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, papules, nodules, and cysts.

Recipes to help with acne and their uses are at the bottom of the article; keep reading…

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Blackheads are blocked pores with skin debris (dead skin cells or keratin) and oil. As the top of the pore is open (even though it is blocked), the top of the blockage turns into a black speck because of its exposure to oxygen.

Tea Tree oil can help to clear excess oil from the skin when used in a daily wash, lotion, toner, face mask, and weekly scrub. As constituents antibacterial and antiseptic, it is good at maintaining clean skin. Any oils that help with acne must be non-comedogenic. Tea Tree oil is a non-comedogenic essential oil.


Whiteheads are similar to blackheads, apart from a thin layer of skin covering the top of the blocked pore. When using Tea Tree oil to help with whiteheads - it’s vital that the dilutions are correct for using on the face and always avoid the eye area. In the case of whiteheads, the constituents in the oil can penetrate the skin covering the pore. Lotions, toners, face wash, and facial vaporizing will help support the skin's natural function to clear the acne.

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Pustules are white bumps that have a fluid or a pus-filled center. It can be surrounded by red, inflamed skin, and bacteria commonly cause them in the blocked pore or follicle. Tea Tree oil and its antibacterial constituents are excellent at helping the skin break out of this type of acne. The oil components clean the area effectively, and in the cases where the pimples “pop,” it can support the skin's natural function to fight off infections in the open sore. In addition, daily washes, facial masks, facial vaporizing, hot or cold compresses and lotions, as well as a daily toner, can all help in helping acne breakouts.

It is important not to scrub the pustule acne and surrounding skin, be gentle.


Papules are red, inflamed pores or hair follicles; they can be any shape or size and cluster together to form something that looks like a rash and may have a sandpaper texture. There is no pus in this type of acne but left untreated can turn into pustules. As Tea tree oil contains antibacterial and antimicrobial constituents, they are ideal for a gentle face wash and soothing skin balm to keep the area clean and germ-free. Daily face wash, skin toner, and moisturizing lotion would help with a flare-up of papules and hot or cold compresses to draw out the pus/toxins. But, again, the skin can be inflamed and sore, so don’t scrub at it!

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Nodules develop when the pore deeper down in the skin becomes blocked by excess oil and dead skin cells. This form of acne can be excruciating, red, and angry. 

Tea Tree oil and its wonder components can help acne by improving the skin's blood supply to the area with a VERY gentle massage using a dilution of Tea tree oil with a carrier oil such as grapeseed - or another non-comedogenic carrier. Hot or cold compresses with a Tea Tree oil solution would help draw out the pus and reduce acne inflammation when used alternatively. Face wash, toner, and lotion would be beneficial to keep the germs away from the open pore or lesion on the nodules' surface. No scrubs - be gentle!


Otherwise known as Cystic Acne. This type of acne is thought to be the most severe form. Large red lesions can look angry, inflamed, filled with fluid or pus, or open sores. And can be very painful. But very treatable. Tea tree oil and its constituents of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial goodness is the ideal essential oil to help support the skin and its normal functions while keeping it extra clean. In addition, it improves circulation to the affected areas bringing lymph, blood cells, and all the good stuff your body needs to help fight the acne.

A daily skin regime using tea tree oil face wash, skin toner, lotion, light massage oil, and hot or cold compresses would be excellent support for the skin while it’s fighting off the acne infection. Just be gentle with it; your skin is already going through enough!

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Methods of Use 


A sterile wash made with 500ml of boiled, cooled water and 5 drops of tea tree oil make a wash that can be used for all areas of the body (including sensitive ones) as it has been diluted and will be used in small doses. 

    • 500ml of Cooled Boiled Water
    • 10ml of Vodka (alcohol)
    • 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Method of Use: Wipe it across the area to clean with a clean flannel or small towel twice a day on your; Face, chest, back - anywhere you want to clean (even the more sensitive areas) 

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks.

Facial Toner

Facial toner is part of a skincare routine that will help with acne.  

    • 120ml cooled Boiled Water
    • 10ml Vodka (alcohol)
    • 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Method of use: Apply twice daily in a sweeping motion across the face, chest, or back with a clean cotton pad to remove the last bits of dirt to ensure pores/follicles remain clean. 

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks

Cream and Lotions

Creams and lotions are an excellent base for essential oils. For example, any unscented plain lotion will blend with Tea tree oil and, when used as part of a skincare routine, will keep the skin moisturized and help your skin be free from germs.   

    • 30 ml of Non-fragranced Cream or Lotion. 
    • 1 drop of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Method of use: After cleansing with face wash and toner, apply this lotion twice daily, in small amounts using a circular upward motion (go with your circulation, not against it)

Safety: Not suitable for the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use mucous membranes (inside nose, mouth, or genitals).

Face Mask

Face masks are lovely at soothing and deep cleaning the skin. Use them once a week as part of your skincare routine. Especially helpful for soft irritated skin and deep cleaning the pores.

    • 120ml Aloe Vera Gel (True Aloe)
    • 3 drops Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Method of use: Once a week, apply this mask using fingertips, and lay a thin layer of the gel onto your skin, avoiding the delicate eye area. Leave for ten minutes and wipe away using the above facial wash recipe.

Safety: Not suitable to use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use mucous membranes (inside nose, mouth, or genitals).

Facial Scrub

Facial scrubs used regularly are great at keeping skin clear of excess debris to avoid blockages in pores/follicles, which, if they are included, Tea tree oil will help prevent acne breakouts from occurring. The honey in this recipe is also a natural moisturizer to keep the top layer of skin nourished while buffing away the dead skin cells.

    • 40g or ⅓ of a cup of Sea Salt (Sodium chloride) 
    • 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia
    • 3 Tablespoons of Raw Honey 

Method of use: Once a week, mix the ingredients until you are left with a lumpy paste. Apply in soft circular upward motions avoiding your eye area. Wash off with warm water, follow with toner and lotion (as above)

Safety: Not suitable for the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use mucous membranes (inside nose, mouth, or genitals).

Massage Oils

Carrier oils dilute essential oils to be able to massage them into the skin. Therefore, massage essential oils must be diluted with carrier oils. Any unfragranced oil can be used as a carrier, i.e., grapeseed or coconut oil. 

Method of use: This massage oil is charming when warmed slightly and used as a soothing facial massage oil. It can also be used for body massage in all areas (please see safety). 

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, Do not use on mucous membranes (penis, vagina, inside of nose, mouth, and eyes).

Steam Vaporizer

Steam vaporizing essential oils is the most effortless use to help with acne. 

    • 200ml of water
    • 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Method of use: In a large bowl, which holds at least 200ml of water, put 2 drops of tea tree oil and 200ml of hot (not scalding) water on a level surface. Lean over the bowl and cover your head and bowl, making a “tent.” Breathe in the vapors for as long as you can. Don’t wipe your skin until you have finished vaporizing, and then wipe over with a clean cotton pad to remove dirt and excess oil that your pores have secreted. This gives a fantastic profound, pure facial. When done weekly to deep clean pores.  

Safety:  Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Not ideal for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, Do not use on mucous membranes (penis, vagina, inside of nose, mouth, and eyes).


A compress can either be hot or cold; use it as a circulatory stimulant (hot, bring blood to the area you are compressing) and colds (reduces inflammation in the area). 

    • 500ml Water
    • 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Method of use: In a large bowl, fill it with either hot (enough to hold your hand in) or cold water approx 500ml. Then add 5 drops of tea tree oil. Soak a small towel or flannel (if you are over 30 you’ll know what these are) in the mixture - thoroughly wring out the oily water and place on the area you want to heat up or cool down. 

Alternating hot and cold compresses can be used in the same treatment. For example, if you want to draw out the toxins in a pustule (or any infected wound), place a hot compress on the area to open up the pores/follicles. After five minutes, change to a cold compress to rest the pores/follicles. Then use a hot one again. This creates a suction action and is very efficient at drawing out toxins. 

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, Do not use on mucous membranes (penis, vagina, inside of nose, mouth, and eyes)

Neat Tea Tree Oil

Using neat Tea tree oil is not recommended at all to help with acne. It can cause skin sensitivity.

Diluting Essential Oils

Dilution of any essential oils is essential (I know, I’m hilarious!) when making your recipes for use in cosmetics/skin treatments, etc.

ALWAYS dilute oils in alcohol or carrier oils - if you mix essential oils with water, you are creating an emulsion that will physically not mix. For example, if you draw a bath and put in drops of essential oils - the oils will sit on top of the water and absorb into your skin neat without diluting. This can cause skin sensitivity and, depending on what oils you use, could also be toxic.

Tea Tree Oil and Safety

Tea tree oil is safe to use. However, please do not use ANY essential oils during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Tea Tree oil is generally regarded as a safe oil.

Tea Tree Oil is non-toxic when diluted and used correctly.

Should the oil be accidentally swallowed, drink milk to dilute it and seek medical advice if you feel unwell.

In case of skin irritation or rash, wash the area well and seek medical advice if feeling unwell.

Avoid contact with mucous membranes and eyes. In case of contact, rinse the area well and seek medical attention if feeling unwell.

So! Does Tea Tree Oil Help Acne?

Yes, it does. It can help in many ways to reduce swelling, and inflammation, draw toxins and make you nice and clean. So give the recipes a try, and if you like them or if they do wonders for you, please let us know.

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