Tea Tree Oil for Acne: How to Use It - Dr. Axe

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How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Acne (DIY Recipe)


Tea tree oil for acne - Dr. Axe

Acne is caused by four main things: oil production, dead skin cells, clogged pores and bacteria; however, hormones, medications, diet and stress can can all contribute to this health concern as well.

Home remedies for acne can be a great option to avoid putting harsh chemicals on your skin, which often can just make breakouts even worse. Using tea tree oil for acne is one of the top things you can do to improve this skin problem naturally. Research even shows that tea tree oil can be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide for the treatment of acne, but with less irritating side effects.

Topically speaking, using tea tree essential oil for acne is a very popular and highly effective option. And it gets better — using tea tree oil is really easy to do at home with a DIY recipe like this one. Before you know it, you may look in the mirror and see clearer, acne-free skin soon!

What Is Acne, Again?

Acne can be quite confusing, whether you are experiencing it as an adolescent or adult. Although it’s more common in teenagers, it can happen to anyone at any age. Many things can contribute to acne, including overproduction of oil, bacteria, stress and hormonal imbalances.

So what is acne exactly? Acne can be defined as a skin disorder in which hair follicles become plugged up with dead skin cells and oils. This skin clogging situation can result in pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts or nodules.


This common skin concern is most commonly located on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. Acne can come and go. It can also leave behind scars and cause emotional distress.

When you’re struggling with acne, your skin is not functioning in its healthiest or most ideal way, but there are natural things you can do to help yourself, such as using tea tree oil.

Research Background

Tea tree essential oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree through a distillation process. Tea tree oil is becoming more and more popular in the household, from cleaning products and wound healing to skin care. Tea tree oil is commonly used externally to treat acne, nail fungus, athlete’s foot and insect bites.

So is tea tree oil good for acne? Here is what we know. Tea tree oil contains some pretty impressive antibacterial properties, specifically terpenes. Some dermatologists claim that terpenes destroy bacteria while offering soothing qualities.

In a 2017 study conducted by the The Australasian College of Dermatologists, researchers evaluated the combination of tea tree oil gel versus a face wash without the tea tree oil. Subjects applied tea tree oil twice a day for three months and assessed at different points along the way. The study concluded that tea tree oil can significantly improve mild to moderate acne.

And as mentioned earlier, tea tree essential oil has even been shown to work as well as conventional acne treatments, but with a reduced likelihood of unwanted side effects!

DIY Recipe

Tea tree essential oil is one of the best essential oils for acne as well as for healing the skin. To begin using tea tree essential oil for acne, try my DIY recipe. This is a three-ingredient recipe that can produce some amazing results, helping to minimize acne in no time.

In a small bowl, place the tea tree oil and aloe vera gel. As noted above, tea tree oil is antibacterial, which helps knock out bacteria that may cause acne.

Aloe vera gel has long been known as a powerful, soothing ingredient for skin health. It contains vitamins A, C, E and B12. These vitamins are age-defying, helping to prevent wrinkling of the skin and fight inflammation that helps slow the growth of aging cells. Additionally, it contains antioxidant properties that can rid your skin of damaging free radicals.

Now, add the argan oil, which research shows can actually help to balance sebum levels, especially for people with oily skin. Argan oil is rich in linoleic acid, which can help to calm the skin inflammation that comes with having acne. It’s also soothing and moisturizing to the skin, so it’s a great ingredient to combine with potent and astringent tea tree oil.

Once you have blended these ingredients together, place them in a small container with a lid. It is best to keep essential oils and products containing essential oils in a cool, dark place. Don’t forget to label it!

To apply, simply rub a small amount onto clean skin at night before bed. Make sure your hands are clean as well before dipping into the container. Rinse with warm water in the morning.

Wondering how to use tea tree oil for acne spot treatment? Simply dab a small amount of this recipe directly onto blemishes.

How long does it take for tea tree oil to work on acne? Results will vary. Improvement may be seen after just one use, but best results are typically seen when tea tree oil is a part of a daily skincare routine.

For Acne Scars

You can also use tea tree essential oil for acne scars by applying this recipe to areas of concern before bed each night.


While there is a good deal of research about using tea tree for active acne, using it for acne scars has not be studied much to date.

Some people experience improvement in scars, or at the least, using tea tree oil for active acne may make future scarring less likely.

Risks and Side Effects

Tea tree essential oil is meant for topical use only. Ingesting can cause some serious problems such as dizziness and confusion.

The best tea tree oil for acne is 100 percent pure. I also suggest purchasing essential oils that are certified organic and therapeutic grade. Your tea tree oil should not include any added bases, fillers or additives. This will ensure that you are getting the best quality product for your skin.

When selecting argan oil, look for a brand that is 100 percent pure, organic, cold-pressed, unfiltered and non-deodorized.

Can you put tea tree oil directly on your skin? Some people use pure tea tree essential oil undiluted on their skin, but combing it with a carrier oil (in this case, argan oil) is a good idea to reduce the likelihood of irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.

If you’re wondering how to dilute tea tree oil for acne, this DIY recipe takes care of the dilution aspect of using tea tree essential oil for acne. Testing this DIY recipe on a small area of your skin is always advised just to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction of any sort.

Can tea tree oil make you break out? Just like with other skincare ingredients, tea tree oil won’t agree with everyone’s skin. For some people, tea tree essential oil may cause contact dermatitis. Discontinue use of this recipe if you experience skin irritation.

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Tea tree oil for acne

Tea Tree Oil for Acne Recipe

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  • Author: Dr. Josh Axe
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Yield: 20 applications 1x


Using tea tree oil for acne is one of the top things you can do to improve this skin problem naturally. Try my DIY recipe!


  • 12 drops of 100 percent pure tea tree essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons of 100 percent pure aloe vera gel
  • ½ teaspoon argan oil


  1. Place all ingredients into a small bowl.
  2. Mix until well-blended.
  3. Apply to skin at bedtime.
  4. Rinse with warm water in the morning.


You can also use tea tree essential oil for acne scars by applying this recipe to areas of concern before bed each night.

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  1. Barbara R. Green on

    Hello, this is my first time using this site, will have to see how it works. Got a lot of helpful information about the use of the tea tree oil. Thanks again.

  2. Barb on

    Hi Everyone,
    I am not seeing many replies from Dr Axe’s team or maybe I am missing it. I have read through many of the questions and helpful suggestions. Has anyone tried just using the Jojoba oil in the morning for a moisturizer and then argon oil with tea tree oil mixed in for a night time acne “treatment?” I have a teenager with a lot of acne. Working on hormonal and gut issues to try and clean up from inside out. But struggling to find help “on the surface.”Thanks for sharing.

  3. Diane on

    I love your site and all your information! My granddaughter is 11 and breaking out so bad, small pimples but annoying for her. I am going to try this treatment on her and see how it goes. I have also written down quite a few of your recipie’s for other things for me, can’t wait to try them.
    Thank you!

    • Christine Sutton on

      Watch her diet milk is the very worst for causing break out thar means cheese, pizza and anything milk relayed peanuts are also so inflammatory and chocolate. Even spicey foods qnd too much salt !!!

  4. Ammie Mundello on

    I made this for my teenage daughter. I cannot tell you how amazing it works! Her skin is so clear. She used to have so much acne I was afraid it would leave scars. Thank you for the recipe!

    • dd on

      Yes you can. Studies have shown that it is similar to benzoyl peroxide but may take a bit longer. I hate the smell of tea tree. I use rosemary oil and caster oil with it as a spot treatment. It also helps with the dark spots acne leaves behind.

  5. maria murphy on

    Why doesn’t anyone reply to the questions on acne treatment of acne? These folks are already feeling insecure and to have no response is terrible!

  6. Drake on

    Interesting article. Home remedies can not be effective for everyone. Since the main thing is to understand the cause of an appearance of acne. It is best to contact an appropriate doctor to conduct an effective course of treatment. At first, I used special ointments and gels. Since I did not have time to prepare tinctures. Pay attention to the composition. You need to understand possible side effects (your contraindications). Also, there are preparations that dry the skin too much, contain a spirit, which can adversely affect the skin condition. A properly selected cosmetic can give positive effect after the first use. In addition to this, you can use a vacuum skin cleaner – https://porevacuumcleaners.com/. You can also use everything in the complex. Then the probability of solving the problem with pimples will be higher.

  7. Dale,Kathy mcgahan on

    My neighbor is 80 looks 45 to 50. She says all she and her husband use is cheap sun screen . My husband and I did the for a year. Nothing. She says there is nothing else. They have no wrinkles of any kind, no age spots absolutly nothing. I touched her arm once it was baby skin soft . I have age apots, white spots, wrinkled skin face, neck, arms , hands legs, please , I need help, I’m 600. Mo ss is there something thats not expensive that will help me. My husband and i don’t go in the sun, he looks as bad as me. DALE Thank you

  8. Astrid on

    Hi Dr. Axe. I’m in my early 30s and still dealing with acne since high school. I’ve tried all the dermatologist recommendations and next recommended step is acutane, which I don’t want to do. I am a 6 month vegan, and a group fitness instructor twice a week at night, after my regular day job. Since becoming vegan I’m moving into a more natural way of living including my cosmetics. I just made your face wash and My face has a lot of coconut oil in it after I wash it, I’ve been drying it with paper towels. I’ve read on your posts that you remcommend adding more baking soda if that happens, so I will try that. My question is the following: can I use a diluted DIY apple cider vinegar toner (1:1) afterwards? I’ve been using it for 2 days and your wash for one. I was wondering if the ingrediens might counteract each other. I have tough skin, so irritation is not an issue for me. On a side note, I also chanced my makeup about a month ago to 100%pure brand.

    • Roz on

      FYI, hemp oil has worked very very well for my son’s acne. I stumbled on hemp oil in a higher end grocery store near the pharmacy, but I’m sure you can find it online. Organic, cold pressed, etc

    • DD on

      Hello, For the last year I started using grapeseed oil, hemp oil, rosemary oil, bergamot oil an frankinscense oil as a morning oil serum and I love it! I have also battled with acne my whole life and everything I tried gave mediocre results at best. I am now 50 and my skin has never been better. I maybe get 1 or 2 blemishes a month and they clear up fast with this facial oil. I also use a retinoid at night and a salicylic acid/ witch hazel toner in the morning.
      I hope this helps. Acne is horrible and the so called experts have failed to give us any lasting help.

  9. Tiffany on

    I love natural recipes – but I’ve tried coconut oil before and it is VERY pore clogging. I used it along with essential oils for over a month – convincing myself that the extra break outs were just detoxing but it just sent me into a massive breakout that lasted for months. Coconut oil is very high on the pore clogging index. I might try the face cleansing recipe with jojoba instead. I’d love to hear if you have other suggestions.

    • Amber on

      There is another recipe for tea tree and acne on this site that works really well. It’s under the tea tree uses post.

      You can make a homemade gentle tea tree oil acne face wash by mixing five drops of pure tea tree essential oil with two teaspoons of raw honey. Simply rub on your face, leave on for one minute, then rinse off.

    • Augusta on

      I am also considering using jojoba instead of coconut oil, since the latter is fairly comedogenic and might result in clogged pores and breakouts. For jojoba on the other hand, it is said that it can trick the skin into “thinking” it is producing sufficient oil, which helps balance oil production.

    • Roz on

      FYI, hemp oil is perfect for skin and cleared my son’s acne in about a week – by itself. I have since started mixing melaleuca with hemp oil and it is working about the same as hemp alone. Now he just uses it as a preventative and spot treats when he gets a pimple

    • Shirley on

      I used the Josie Maran 100% pure Argan Oil Light instead of the coconut oil. It was a great replacement for the coconut oil. On the Argan oil box it says, “Argan oil is clincally proven to significantly improve skin hydration and smoothiness and to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles in just 4 weeks.

    • Heather Sledge on

      Yes, this! Jojoba is almost identical to our skins naturally produced sebum. Please do not use coconut oil on your face as a part of an acne treatment, it is quite counterproductive

    • DD on

      Coconut oil is comedogenic. I would not use it for acne. There are better choices for oils that are non comedogenic. Google it. So many of these sites just repeat the same info.

    • Julia on

      Tea Tree Oil for Acne DIY Recipe

      12 drops of 100% pure tea tree essential oil
      2 tablespoons of 100% pure aloe vera gel
      ½ teaspoon unrefined coconut oil

      Place all ingredients into a small bowl.
      Mix until well blended.
      Apply to skin at bedtime.
      Rinse with warm water in the morning.


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