Tea Tree Oil: 10 Ways To Use It To Combat Blemishes and Breakouts

Tea tree oil can help you to deal with both acne and blemishes efficiently. Not only does it contain powerful compounds that kill acne-causing bacteria, but it also acts to cleanse the pores.

a small bottle bottle of tea tree oil, sat next to a handful of greenery.

Pure tea tree oil for acne can be found easily in the health and beauty section at the store. However, it needs to be used safely to reap all the benefits.

Keep reading as we reveal how to incorporate it safely into your skincare routine to combat breakouts.

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is a type of essential oil extracted from the tea tree plant. The plant is native to the southeast region of Australia and the oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant. Depending on the manufacturing process and concentration it tends to possess a clear to pale yellow colour.

Tea Tree Oil for Skin

The use of this oil to treat skin ailments started with traditional medicine practitioners. Its antiseptic properties were what made it popular among the general public as well.

The primary properties of tea tree are the following:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiviral
  • Anti-inflammatory

Various compounds found in this essential oil give it the antimicrobial property. So, it is effective against different strains of bacteria, fungi, and some viruses as well. Furthermore, apart from killing microorganisms, this essential oil also reduces swelling and inflammation often seen with an infection. Additionally, it also relieves non-infection related inflammation.

a little glass bottle, with cork stopper, full of tea tree oil.

Note: Terpinen-4-ol is the key compound found in tea tree oil that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Suggested Article: Prep Acne Prone Skin for a Long Day of Makeup.

Products and Usage

Using this oil for skin related problems is the most known widespread use for it. Additionally, it is included in many antimicrobial products for skincare.

There are many common ailments treated with this kind of oil, including ringworm, nail infections, head lice, athlete’s foot, acne, insect bites, and even herpes.

Interestingly, apart from just the oil itself, the vapours of the oil are also beneficial. The camphor-like smell has the ability to clear up nasal and chest congestion.

woman smelling from a glass bottle, holding a dropler.

How you can use Tea Tree Oil to Treat Acne

If acne-treatments aren’t working for you, then this oil may be the one to try. This essential oil is best used for mild to moderate acne.

In experiments, there was a noticeable difference in the results for reducing acne and associated inflammation. Here are some of the properties of tea tree oil which are great for treating acne.


This property is excellent for tackling the acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes. The antibacterial components found in this oil kill the bacteria and even prevent future infection.


Terpenes and its other forms are within this essential oil. It is said that inflammation, swelling, and redness that’s seen with moderate acne can reduce by applying this oil to the skin. The pimples shrink sooner than they would if left untreated in any way.

Oil Control

This essential oil is also known to reduce the oil that the skin produces. This means that it is particularly great for those with oily skin, as use of it can prevent pores clogging, which lead to breakouts.

close up image of a persons face with oily skin.


Tea Tree oil possesses the ability to break apart any dead skin cell debris and dirt that is lodged in the clogged pores. Additionally, this makes it easier to be cleared by the natural healing mechanism of the skin cells.

Minimal Side Effects

Compared to generic treatments for acne like benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil does not pose as many side effects. People with sensitive skin can also use it for acne by diluting it with a carrier oil.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil Safely

Before purchasing any essential oil, make sure you research the brand and the product’s authenticity first. This is important, as this essential oil is volatile and if not extracted and packaged correctly, it can cause adverse reactions.

So, the first step toward using tea tree for acne is ensuring to buy a good quality product.

Skin Safety

The use of tea tree oil topically is safe in most cases. Furthermore, it suits almost everybody without developing any reactions.

Applying tea tree oil directly is safe for people with normal skin. However, if you are using it for the first time, you should conduct a patch test. Furthermore, diluting the essential oil with any carrier oil like coconut oil is a feasible option too.

However, if you have extremely sensitive skin, there is a chance that your skin will react badly to the oil. These side effects may include allergic contact dermatitis, rashes or hives, and hypersensitivity symptoms. So, to be safe, make sure you conduct a patch test first.

person pouring clear liquid, from a dropper, into the palm of their hand.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Tea Tree Oil

  • It’s best to use this oil as a spot treatment, so do not apply it all over the face.
  • You can add it to moisturisers to make tea tree oil cream but, apply it on the acne-affected areas only.
  • Do not mix it with lotions, creams, toners, etc. when you are going to be applying it all over.
  • Do not use it in conjunction with other products like benzoyl peroxide or topical retinoid as it may cause adverse reactions.
  • Always conduct the patch test before using any kind of essential oil for acne or other skin concerns.
  • Ideally, apply the oil when you are going to stay indoors.
  • Stop using the oil if burns or causes pronounced redness.

DIY Tea Tree Oil Skin Treatments for Acne

For efficiently healing acne with this oil, apply it regularly on to the problem areas. Furthermore, mixing it with other beneficial ingredients like coconut oil, calamine lotion, and witch hazel increases the effectiveness of the treatment.

tea tree oil with dropper, in small medical bottle.

Note: If your pimple has an open head, the essential oil may sting. In this case, apply the oil on the surrounding skin and not directly on top of a pimple. Be sure to apply carefully using clean fingers or, alternatively, use a Q-tip for a more precise application.

Tea Tree Oil with Carrier Oil


  1. Take about a teaspoon of either coconut oil or olive oil.
  2. Add two to three drops of tea tree oil to it.
  3. Mix them together and apply this oil to the acne affected area.
  4. Leave the oil overnight.

Tea Tree Oil and Calamine Lotion


  1. To about a teaspoon of calamine lotion, add a few drops of tea tree oil.
  2. Mix the oil in the lotion and mix it well until everything blends together.
  3. Apply this on the affected skin and massage until absorbed.
  4. You can leave the calamine-tea tree oil to sink in for a few hours or even overnight.

woman using calamline lotion on her face.

Suggested Article: Vitamins for Acne: The Best Vitamin and Mineral Supplements to Heal Acne.

Tea Tree Oil and Witch Hazel


  1. Take 20 to 30 drops of witch hazel in the glass bottle.
  2. Add five to six drops of tea tree oil to it.
  3. Close the lid and shake gently to mix the two ingredients together.
  4. Dip the cotton swab in this and apply the solution to the acne.
  5. Leave the solution to dry naturally.
  6. You should then rinse it off after an hour or so.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil to Treat Acne Scars

If you thought getting rid of pimples would give you freedom from acne, then sadly, you are mistaken. Moderate to severe acne often leaves behind acne scars and blemishes. Eventually, these can form dark marks on the skin and even indentations. These marks tend to look like pinpricks or deep curves that can ruin the texture of your skin.

Using this essential oil for acne scars is a potent remedy to try out. But do remember that the results may take a while to become noticeable as the oil works slowly to heal the blemishes.

Aloe Vera Gel and Tea Tree Oil for Acne Scars


  1. To about a teaspoon and a half of fresh aloe vera gel, add two to three drops of tea tree oil.
  2. Mix them together and apply on the affected skin.
  3. Let the mixture sit on your skin for 15 minutes or so.
  4. Rinse it off using tepid water.
  5. Moisturise with a non-oily moisturiser after patting the skin dry.

aloe vera gel with a gradient grey background.

Suggested Article: DIY Coffee Scrub: 11 Coffee Skincare Recipes for Smooth Skin

Yoghurt and Tea Tree Oil for Blemishes


  1. Take one teaspoon of yoghurt in a bowl.
  2. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to it.
  3. Mix well and apply to the acne scars and blemishes.
  4. Leave the yoghurt on the skin for 15 minutes.
  5. Wash it off using lukewarm water.
  6. Moisturise the skin as usual.

Scrub for Acne Scars and Blemishes


  1. In a bowl, take two tablespoons of brown sugar, one teaspoon of olive oil, and seven to eight drops of tea tree oil.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together for a few seconds.
  3. Dampen your skin and take some of the scrub mixture in between your fingers.
  4. Massage the skin in circular motions with the scrub.
  5. Take more as and when required.
  6. Keep massaging the face for a few minutes.
  7. Make sure to avoid the eyes and the area around the mouth.
  8. Rinse the scrub off with warm water.
  9. Pat the skin dry and if needed, apply a moisturiser.

close up of a woman applying facial scrub to her cheek.

Suggested Article: Lighten Pitted Acne Scars and Body Blemishes with Natural Home Remedies.

What are the best products for Acne?

Many brands have realised the popularity and effectiveness of tea tree oil for acne treatment. For this reason, the market now has a decent range of products that contain the oil as an active ingredient.

Companies are manufacturing and selling this oil, cream and products for acne-prone skin especially. So if you worry about using the product directly on your skin, these tea tree oil products are great alternatives.

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

U.F.O Clarifying Acne Treatment.

This oil is taking the beauty world by storm these days. It contains a mix of oils including tea tree, black cumin seed, milk thistle, cucumber seed, chamomile, neroli, and salicylic acid. As the oil absorbs easily into the skin it targets both acne and acne scars. Additionally, it helps to unclog pores and reduce breakouts in the future. It also lightens the acne blemishes.

Interestingly, the drying effects of acne-fighting ingredients work simultaneously with its moisturising components.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion

body shop night tea tree lotion.


This product is definitely more on the affordable side when comparing it to the Sunday Riley U.F.O oil above.

The Body Shop was sure to produce this for blemish-prone skin that needs hydration but were sure that it will not clog the pores further. Interestingly, the gel-lotion texture helps with that. Additionally, it also reduces current acne and also prevents future ones from cropping up.

Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask – Tea Tree

innisfree my real squeeze mask - tea tree, in packaging.

Sheet masks are an excellent way to thoroughly nourish the skin. This one of Innisfree’s sheet masks that includes tea tree in its serum. It targets acne all over the face when applied along with moisturising your skin.

Suggested Article: Why These Skin Masks Are Leaving People with Egg on Their Face

Lush Tea Tree Water

The refreshing toner by LUSH is alcohol-free and helps to bring back the oil balance of the skin. Furthermore, it also contains powerful ingredients such as juniper berry and grapefruit. Both of which help in cleansing and toning the skin. Additionally, grapefruit further helps to brighten the complexion.


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