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Ingredient Spotlight: Tea Tree Oil, The Age-Old Acne Fighting Staple

Acne, the peskiest of skin concerns, meets its match in tea tree oil. A natural ingredient that’s been used in medicinal circles for centuries, this essential oil can pretty much zap away zits overnight. Want to know more about the ingredient you’ve heard of but never looked into? Keep reading.

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is nothing new. In fact you’ve probably seen it populating the list of ingredients on your favorite skin care items for as long as you’ve been curating your routine.

This powerful and respected antifungal and antibacterial ingredient is produced through a steaming of the melaleuca alternifolia tree’s characteristically scented leaves. If you’ve ever used a product with tea tree oil, you’ve also likely noticed its distinct fresh and medicinal scent.

Tea tree oil isn’t only vetted by current scientific institutions, it’s also been vetted through centuries of usage. (That’s how you know something’s really good.) The usage of tea tree oil as a medicinal ingredient goes back hundreds of years, as Australian aboriginals used the essential oil to cure everything from coughs and colds to wounds and skin conditions. We love a multi-purpose product!

The Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

We all know tea tree oil is a miracle worker when it comes to solving recurring breakouts and whiteheads. We’ve seen the powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties in action in all of the acne fighting cleansers, sticks, masks, and toners we’ve accumulated throughout the years. Even scientific studies have shown that tea tree oil works just as well as benzoyl peroxide to rid our complexions of acne, with fewer side effects to boot!

Where does the Australian ingredient get all of it’s zit zapping benefits from? A trifecta of compounds: terpinen-4-ol, gamma-terpinene, and alpha-terpinene. Terpinen-4-ol, an organic terpene, works to suppress proinflammatory agents. Gamma-terpinene and alpha-terpinene, the terpinen-4-ol’s long lost terpene cousins, prohibit oxidation and protect the skin from free radicals. 

The three naturally occurring compounds band together to stop and slow Propionibacterium acnes, which is the annoying root of all of your pimple related concerns. Acwell’s pH Balancing Watery Cleansing Oil is a great example of the power of this trio, as this cleanser contains tea tree water and not only removes white heads from the skin, but dissolves deep seated blackheads too. 

Besides the impressive vanishing act it conducts on pimples, tea tree oil also boats antifungal properties, which leads to its usage in numerous medicinal creams and lotions.

What Skin Types Does Tea Tree Oil Benefit?

Normal and oily skin types work best with tea tree oil! Congestion prone skin benefits the most from this wonder oil. If you’re struggling with acne or rotating break outs, try Beton’s Tea Tree Serum or Some By Mi’s AHA-BHA-PHA 30Days Miracle Toner.

As this oil’s filled to the absolute brim with strong ingredients, those who have eczema and sensitive or easily irritated skin should shy away from using it. If this happens to describe your complexion to a tee, we recommend using products formulated with centella asiatica, a healing herb, that both protects the skin and discourages pimples.

The Bottom Line

We haven’t even seen half of what tea tree oil is truly capable of. Scientists are still digging into this compound rich derivative and exploring all of its applications.

An efficacious and naturally occurring ingredient that fights off acne and bacteria just as well as AHAs and BHAs, we can always count on this trifecta of terpenes, whether we apply it to our faces through the vehicles of handy sticks, serums, oil cleansers, or creams. This essential oil’s not going anywhere (and hasn’t for hundreds of years.)

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