Acne is a skin condition that does not discriminate against whom it strikes – young, old, male, female, black or white. This inflammatory condition occurs mainly on the face, back, neck, arms, shoulders and genitals. The good news is that there are many medications available – allopathic, homeopathic, ayurvedic and herbal – that can heal acne and prevent scars from forming. Very often, acne treatment is a trial and error method – especially if it does not respond immediately to treatment.
Herbs can tone and strengthen the body. Herbs can be used as capsules, teas or powders (dried extracts), glycerites – glycerin extracts and tinctures – alcohol extracts.
Tea Tree Oil
In recent times, tea tree oil has been assessed for its ability to treat acne. The conclusion was that Australian tea tree oil (extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree that is native to Western Australia ) was the best to treat acne. It was determined that just a few drops of Australian tea tree oil on a cotton swab could be dabbed on the affected areas.
Terpenoids that are naturally occurring compounds are found in tea tree oil. These possess strong anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties – all which make tea tree effective oil in treating acne outbreaks.
Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Acne
Tea tree oil has been used as a topical antiseptic in many countries like Australia – where it is found. A study has shown that tea tree oil slows the growth of P.acnes bacteria and that severe cases of acne have benefited from its healing properties.
Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties. When applied to the skin, it can reduce inflammation and attack bacteria. A study compared benzoyl peroxide lotion and tea tree oil gel in treating acne, by reducing inflammation and improving symptoms of acne, in 119 people who had mild-to-moderate acne. Both groups showed an improvement in the acne conditions. Those who used tea tree oil however displayed fewer side effects such as stinging, burning, itching and dryness, which were experienced by the group using benzoyl peroxide.
Solutions of 5-15% tea tree oil can effective kill P.acnes bacteria.
Tea tree oil has cicatrisant (healing) properties that can heal wounds quickly and protects wounds from infections. It also reduces scar marks left by acne eruptions. Tea tree also rebalances the skin.
Tea Tree Oil Products for Acne
Tea tree oil is considered one of the best herbal medicines to deal with acne. Used topically, it is said to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide in treating acne. Among the various products meant to treat acne is ‘DDF BP Gel 5%’ that has tea tree oil in it. This effective product is said to wipe out all spots in a few days and fight emerging break outs too.
Another effective treatment for acne is a combination of sweet fennel and tea tree essential oil. This is said to help by removing excess dirt and oil and attacks the bacteria that cause acne.
A skin wash made from tea tree can treat acne. Tea tree oil mixed with carrier oils like jojoba can heal mild acne scars.
Tea tree oil is very popular with cosmetic retailers who have many skincare products like toners, facial cleansers, masks, shampoo and blemish sticks made from this oil. Tea tree oil shampoo can reduce outbreak of acne on the forehead, since forehead acne is often caused by excess oil from the hair. Blemish sticks made from tea tree are dual action products, for they can be used to cover acne scars while at the same time treating the scars too.
A few drops of tea tree oil can be added to your foam bath, facial steam bath or used to make a face mask that can be applied to the face. All these are useful acne treatments.
Precautions while using tea tree oil
Tea tree oil must never be used without dilution. Undiluted oil can cause excessive skin irritation and dry the skin. Tea tree oil must not be used more than twice a day for it will dry the skin and cause the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and produce more sebum to combat the dryness. This only leads to further outbreaks of acne.
Tea tree oil must not be used before you go out in the sun for it can increase the skin’s photosensitivity. Use it at night before bedtime. Do not use tea tree oil with other acne products like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. They are all potent products and used together can aggravate acne eruptions.
Tea tree oil must not be consumed orally for it can cause side effects like skin rashes, unsteadiness when walking and even coma.
Note: It is important to consult a dermatologist before using tea tree oil to treat acne.