How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Acne
Although most natural acne treatments that work come in the form of internal vitamin supplements, tea tree oil is an all-natural treatment that can produce great results with just a topical application. Mainly used as a spot treatment, tea tree oil has gained a reputation as the natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide, giving many of the same clear skin benefits with generally milder side effects.
Tea tree oil originates from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca Alternafolia Tree. For years it has been used as a natural disinfectant, killing harmful bacteria in cuts and scrapes without the stinging that accompanies alcohol. It's also been known to help sooth pain and speed the healing of small wounds. More recently, its antibacterial properties have been found to be a potent weapon against acne.
As an acne treatment, tea tree oil is usually used either as a concentrated spot treatment, or a diluted face wash. In my experience, using 100% tea tree oil as a spot treatment is the most effective route. Applying a few drops of tea tree oil directly to acne spots can kill the underlying bacteria and dry up the inflamed region, sometimes as quickly as overnight. Most users find that the drying is not as severe as with other acne products that use benzoyl peroxide, and tea tree oil will not bleach your clothing either (plus it's less expensive, and a small amount will last much longer).
Tea tree oil is most effective in high concentrations, so you're better off using a small amount directly on trouble spots, rather than diluting the concentration and using it all over, although users with highly sensitive skin may find dilution necessary. As with any topical treatment, you don't want to over-dry and irritate your face, or clear skin will be even harder to maintain.
As effective as tea tree oil is at eliminating current acne blemishes, like all topical treatments it cannot really help with preventing new acne from forming under your skin. Tea tree oil also has a rather strong alcohol-like smell, so it may be best to use it only at night before bed. These factors aside, tea tree oil is an excellent alternative if you're looking for a natural spot treatment that is more gentle on your skin than benzoyl peroxide. Combined with internal natural acne products (for acne prevention), you will have a natural regimen that eliminates spots quickly and maintains clear skin in the future.