There aren’t many people who haven’t had at least one battle with the ill-timed pimple or breakout. Tea tree oil, derived from a tree native to Australia, contains natural acne-fighting and preventing properties. What is it about this native from the land Down Under that reduces redness and breakouts? We’ll take a look and get an overview of the kinds of tea tree oil products you can use to clear and soothe your skin.
Where Does Tea Tree Oil Come From?
Tea tree oil comes from the Melaleuca alternifolia, otherwise known as the tea tree that’s native to Australia. Throughout Australia’s history, this evergreen shrub was used by native peoples in poultices, as cough medicine, and in topical ointments.
Tea tree oil ranges in color from clear to pale gold. Today, it’s available in diluted and undiluted forms, and it’s found in everything from shampoos and soaps to natural antifungal treatments and deodorants. It’s a natural antiseptic with a complex chemical composition that’s difficult for bacteria to develop a resistance to. Consequently, it’s used against resistant bacterial strains, including those that cause acne.
Tea Tree Oil’s Antimicrobial Properties
Tea tree oil takes on acne from two fronts. The first is its natural anti-microbial properties. Your skin naturally has bacteria and microbes on its surface. It’s a little disturbing to imagine germs that live on your body, but they’re completely normal and natural.
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is the most common (and plentiful) bacteria on your skin, and it’s primarily responsible for acne vulgaris, otherwise known as acne. These bacteria combine with oils and dirt to block pores, causing visible pimples and blackheads.
Tea tree oil contains monoterpenes with 30 percent terpenin, which are hydrocarbon chains that naturally resist bacteria. The oil’s complex chemical structure is difficult for bacteria, including P. acnes, to develop a resistance to. Consequently, it tends to work even on resistant strains of bacteria.
With tea tree oil, breakouts have a hard time getting started because there are fewer bacteria on the skin. It’s not as powerful as a prescription topical treatment, but for many people, this natural alternative is powerful enough to control breakouts.
Tea Tree Oil and Anti-Inflammatory Abilities
Tea tree oil also takes on acne by reducing inflammation. Terpinen, the dominant monoterpene in tea tree oil, reduces the body’s immune response to certain irritants. What does that mean for acne? Less redness, tenderness, and swelling around the point of infection (at the pimple). Basically, tea tree oil can soothe the skin while ridding it of the bacteria that causes acne in the first place.
Tea Tree Oil in Skincare Products
You can find tea tree oil in many types of acne-fighting skincare products, including the first step—the face wash. Here, the tea tree oil makes sure that the wash targets the problematic bacteria on the skin while the other ingredients break down oils and dirt. SkinResourceMD’s Deep Cleaning Facial Cleanser uses tea tree oil in this way, along with a gentle, sulfate-free mix of ingredients that protect the skin while cleansing it.
The next step in acne treatment is Pore Purifying Astringent with tea tree oil. Astringents further cleanse and exfoliate the skin of pore-clogging oil, dirt, and skin cells. The tea tree oil in this product works along with sage, thyme, and eucalyptus to reduce the acne-causing bacteria in the pores while soothing inflammation and redness.
To target problem areas, there’s a BHA Treatment Gel. This gel treats acne and soothes the skin while “sealing” it from makeup and environmental pollutants. It’s a light, clear protective layer that promotes skin hydration throughout the day.
Tea tree oil is also a vital ingredient in SkinResourceMD’s Shine-Free Solution. In this product, the tea tree oil gets to work soothing and getting rid of bacteria while the rest of the ingredients absorb oils to reduce visible shine. It acts as a second layer of skin protection/hydration and acne prevention after you’ve fully cleansed the skin.
A Final Note on Tea Tree Oil
Your skin deserves high-quality ingredients that nourish and promote your natural beauty. Tea tree oil’s unique composition gives it the power to do both. It fights against the bacteria that clogs pores and causes painful breakouts while soothing the skin to reduce redness. When it’s combined with other naturally soothing and hydrating ingredients, it lets your natural beauty shine. From cleansing to toning and targeted to protective applications, tea tree oil is an integral ingredient in any effective skincare regime.