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How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Acne, from DIY to Best Products

This powerful natural ingredient is more popular than you think in anti-acne treatments!

How to Use Tea Tree Oil for AcneYou’ve heard people recommend tea tree oil to you for your pimply woes. Tea tree isn’t at all related to your cup of tea. In fact, it comes from the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia plant, and is an O.G. natural remedy that’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine. More recently, tea tree oil has taken off as a natural acne treatment, because it’s been proven to actually work. If you’re at your wits end from yet another breakout, tea tree oil is definitely a remedy worth trying.

Benefits of tea tree oil for acne

We previously wrote a beginner’s guide to the benefits of tea tree oil for skin. Its claim to fame in World War II resulted from it being a gentler alternative to benzoyl peroxide in disinfecting wounds. Today, it’s a must-have ingredient in any natural anti-acne formula. Here’s why.

  1. Antiseptic/antimicrobial properties

Research shows that tea tree oil can prevent and treat infections. Common blackheads and whiteheads can turn into more severe forms of acne when your pores become colonized by bacteria. That said, the antiseptic properties of tea tree oil are good news for acne-prone skin.

  1. Pore cleansing action

Tea tree oil can help prevent chronic acne conditions by keeping your pores clear of bacteria.

  1. Circulation-boosting powers

Tea tree oil can boost circulation and keep skin supplied with nutrients it needs to heal. By upping your skin’s circulation game, tea tree oil will help it to recover more quickly from previous acne breakouts.

Tea Tree Oil for AcneHow to use tea tree oil for acne

If you’re interested in using tea tree oil for acne, it’s important to keep in mind that this ingredient is extremely concentrated, and needs to be diluted first! When you’re using pure tea tree oil in DIY recipes, we recommend starting with a small amount (1-2 drops of tea tree oil per cup of carrier oil) in order to avoid skin irritation. Remember, a little goes a long way!

  1. Tea tree face wash

The antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil make it the perfect face wash ingredient. Try one of the acne face wash products below, or create your own DIY face wash by diluting tea tree oil with aloe vera gel.

Black Mint CleanserBlack Mint CleanserBlack Mint Cleanser by Odacité

  • Cooling, gel cleanser that won’t dry out combination skin
  • Activated charcoal and rhassoul clay draw out excess oil
  • Tea tree and peppermint purify your pores

Ocean Cleansing MuddOcean Cleansing MuddOcean Cleansing Mudd by OSEA

  • Orange and lemon extracts gently resurface your skin
  • Rosemary and tea tree balance bacteria
  • Natural algae extract reduces redness, promotes skin healing, and bolsters your skin’s lipid barrier.

Bamboo Charcoal SoapBamboo Charcoal SoapBamboo Charcoal Soap by Herbivore Botanicals

  • Can be used on your face and body
  • Gentle enough for everyday use
  • Activated charcoal and white clay purge your pores of excess oil
  • Tea tree and citrus fight bacteria, promote healing, and brighten your skin
  1. Tea tree toner

Tea tree also makes for an ideal acne toner ingredient, as it’ll help to keep your pores clear of acne-causing debris. You can make your own tea tree toner by combining 2-4 drops of tea tree oil with 1 cup of rosewater and ½ cup of distilled water, or check out one of the products below!

Tea Tree & Willow Clarifying AstringentTea Tree & Willow Clarifying Astringent by 100% Pure

  • Tea tree and rosemary eliminate harmful bacteria
  • Witch hazel reduces excess oil and reduces the appearance of pores
  • Neem helps to prevent acne scars

Tea Tree Balancing TonerTea Tree Balancing TonerTea Tree Balancing Toner by AROMATICA

  • Tea tree and rosemary fight acne-causing bacteria
  • Aloe vera and chamomile calm skin and soothe redness

African Tea Tree Beauty WaterAfrican Tea Tree Beauty WaterAfrican Tea Tree Beauty Water by Shea Terra Organics

  • Pure distilled tea tree water is a gentle option for sensitive skin
  • Free of alcohol and filler ingredients
  1. Tea tree face mask

You can also find tea tree oil in face masks for acne-prone skin. You can mix up your own simple DIY face mask by combining 1-2 drops of tea tree oil, 3 tablespoons of natural yogurt, and ¼ of an avocado. Combine the ingredients evenly, and apply the mask to your skin for up to 20 minutes before rinsing it away.

Anti Acne Sheet MaskAnti Acne Sheet Masks by 100% Pure

  • Tea tree, rosemary, and parsley fight acne-causing bacteria
  • Witch hazel tones pores, minimizing their appearance
  • Aloe vera and algae soothe, hydrate, and replenish your skin

Clear Skin Probiotic MasqueClear Skin Probiotic MasqueClear Skin Probiotic Masque by Éminence Organic Skin Care

  • Lactic acid gently resurfaces skin
  • Tea tree oil eliminates harmful bacteria
  • Kaolin clay purifies pores
  • Cucumber and shea butter hydrate and heal skin while preventing scarring
  1. Tea tree moisturizer

You can also experience the benefits of tea tree oil via your daily/nightly moisturizer. You can even hack your normal moisturizer by adding a drop or two of tea tree oil to the formula! It’ll work alongside the active ingredients to keep your skin clear.

Natural Tea Tree Face CreamNatural Tea Tree Face CreamNatural Tea Tree Face Cream by Era Organics

  • Tea tree oil banishes harmful bacteria
  • St. John’s wort and aloe vera calm inflammation and soothes skin
  • Pomegranate seed oil conditions and protects skin

Coconut Charcoal Moisturizing Day CremeCoconut Charcoal Moisturizing Day CremeCoconut Charcoal Moisturizing Day Creme by Reviva Labs

  • Activated charcoal soaks up excess oil
  • Tea tree fights bacteria
  • Green tea and pomegranate condition skin
  • Hyaluronic acid locks in hydration
  1. Tea tree spot treatment

You can also use tea tree oil on individual acne spots by mixing up a DIY spot treatment with tea tree oil. All you need to do is combine 1-2 drops of tea tree oil with 1 cup of a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or olive oil. Keep your spot treatment in the refrigerator, and dab it onto acne spots with a clean q-tip as needed.


Tea tree oil is basically acne’s arch-nemesis. Packed with bacteria-busting potential, it’s a great ingredient to have on-hand in case of emergencies! The fight against acne can be stressful, and can often feel like an uphill battle. But luckily, there are plenty of natural ingredients out there to help you achieve healthy, clear skin.

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