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Tea Tree Oil For Acne, Don’t Make These Mistakes

June 15, 2017

Tea Tree Oil can be a great natural remedy for acne and breakouts, but, you've got to be using it properly. Click through to find out how to get the best results, and what not to do! |

Tea Tree Oil For Acne, Don’t Make These Mistakes

Tea Tree Oil can be an awesome spot treatment for speeding up healing of pimples and breakouts, but there’s certain things you need to watch out for, and not do.

Recently I received an email from one of our subscribers, Danielle, asking if she could add it to her moisturizer for a full face treatment for breakouts and acne?

I get asked this a lot because you’d think if Tea Tree Oil is such a good spot treatment, why not just add it to your moisturizer or toner to treat your entire face and prevent pimples from coming back? Easy, right?

Well, when I received this question from Danielle, it instantly gave me flashbacks of my countless DIY experiments that went terribly wrong. I’m talking red face that takes weeks to heal wrong.

I don’t want Danielle, or you, to make those same mistakes.

So when it comes to Tea Tree Oil and pimples, using it as a spot treatment is completely different to using it all over your face, even if you were to mix it with an oil or moisturizer.

Tea Tree Oil is strong. I would actually go as far to say that ALL essential oils are strong, and if you use them the wrong way, it can do more harm than good.

What comes to mind when I think of overusing  Tea Tree Oil is it can potentially irritate your skin, dry it out, throw your skin’s ph balance off, interfere with your skin’s moisture barrier, and make your skin more susceptible to photosensitivity and sun damage.

When used properly, Tea Tree Oil can be a fantastic spot treatment that speeds up the healing of blemishes and pimples, but I would only use it where it needs to be used, and never on your entire face.

To ensure that you are using Tea Tree Oil properly, and getting all the pimple vanishing benefits from it, check out today’s article and video below!

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil As A Spot Treatment

  • Anti-inflammatory (it will help reduce redness, irritation, and swelling – which will help shrink pimples faster)
  • Anti-bacterial / antiseptic (prevents infection)
  • Solvent (can breakup the build up of oil, dirt or debris clogging your pores)

How to use Tea Tree Oil to clear up blemishes and breakouts

  • Only use it as a spot treatment (can be used neat or diluted)
  • Use it at the end of your skin care routine after you’ve cleansed and moisturized your face (this will prevent spreading the Tea Tree Oil to other parts of your face)
  • Put 1-2 drops of Tea Tree Oil in the palm of your hand, and using your ring finger, gently dab it only your pimples. Don’t rub, just dab. Allow it to absorb into your skin, and don’t touch your face
  • ONLY use it at night (I wouldn’t use undiluted essential oils on your skin during the day, you don’t want to risk sun damage or photosensitivity)
  • Use only once at night, preferably every other night (some people can tolerate using it every night, but most people are better off using it every other night to avoid any sensitivity or drying out your skin)

How not to use Tea Tree Oil

  • Only use it as a spot treatment, never put it all over your face
  • Don’t add it to your moisturizer, facial oil, serum, face mask or toner if you’re going to apply it all over your face (diluting or mixing Tea Tree Oil with other skincare products to make a spot treatment is fine)
  • After dabbing Tea Tree Oil on a pimple, never cover it with anything like a bandage or plastic
  • Don’t use Tea Tree Oil in conjunction with other spot treatments or other acne treatment products containing active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, retinols or Retin-A, salicylic acid, etc. Best to use one or the other, not both!
  • Never use Tea Tree Oil more than once a day – less is more!
  • Don’t use it on your skin if your skin is dry, flaking, scaly, or irritated
  • If it burns, dries out your skin, or makes your skin red – stop using it
  • Don’t ever use Tea Tree Oil right after exercising. Wait until your body and skin has cooled down before using it (I would wait at least an hour after exercising).
  • Take a break from using Tea Tree Oil while you’re spending a lot of time out doors in the sun (like going on a beach vacation).

What about commercial skincare products containing Tea Tree Oil, should you avoid them too?

In general I find commercial skincare products containing Tea Tree Oil to be a little more safer than the DIY recipes floating around. They tend to use less Tea Tree Oil in their formulas than what you see being sprinkled into homemade products.

If you want to buy a commercial product that contains Tea Tree Oil, to be on the safe side, I would only use a product that washes off like a mask or cleanser, and I would only use it once in a while (like once or twice a week). If you have a commercial moisturizer, serum, or toner that contains Tea Tree Oil, I would be very cautious using it. Personally, I would probably only use it as a spot treatment in the evening, and not all over your face.

Will Tea Tree Oil Work For everyone?


Many people get fabulous results using Tea Tree Oil as a spot treatment, other people notice absolutely no difference at all using it.

If you’ve been using Tea Tree Oil as a spot treatment regularly for at least a month, and it’s done absolutely nothing for your pimples and breakouts, stop using it.

I’m saying this because I’m guilty of this. I can’t tell you how many products I’ve used for years and even decades hoping one day they’d work! If they haven’t worked  up until now, they’ll probably never work.

I don’t believe in giving up on anything too soon, but if you’ve been using Tea Tree Oil regularly for a month or so and it’s not helping, than that’s enough time to know you’ve given it a good shot and it’s just not for you.

Something like Tea Tree Oil, I wouldn’t needlessly be putting it on your skin unless it’s really helping.

Where to buy Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree Essential Oil is pretty easy to find. Anywhere that sells essential oils will sell Tea Tree Oil. You can buy it at a health food store, natural beauty boutique, specialty stores, or online. I always buy my essential oils from Living Libations, I trust that they are 100% pure and of the highest quality. Click here to shop Tea Tree Oil.

What about you?

Have you used Tea Tree Oil to heal blemishes or breakouts? Did it work for you? Let us know, please post in the comments below.


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  • Reply Megan M June 16, 2017 at 12:22 am

    I tried using Trader Joe’s tea tree oil face wash and it was VERY harsh on my skin. I tried it for a month and toward the end my skin looked very unhealthy, like it aged a few decades. I think this has to do with the fact that your rubbing/massaging the face wash with tea tree oil onto your face, instead of dabbing like you’re supposed to with pure tea tree oil. A few months later I tried pure tea tree oil on my pimples by adding 3 drops to a cotton ball and then dabbing it on my pimples at night time after I moisturized. Within a few days, I noticed an improvement. I never had acne growing up, but suddenly at age 26 horrible cystic acne popped out of nowhere. It has been one whole year of me dealing with this and pure tea tree oil has been the first thing that has helped. I’m going to try putting the few drops directly on my palm and then using my finger to apply it to my pimples next (instead of the cotton ball). Thanks for this article, it was an interesting read!

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael June 16, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Megan,
      I’m happy to hear the Tea Tree Oil is working for you! And do try to applying it directly to your pimples without the cotton ball, you’ll use much less and the bottle will last longer.

  • Reply TagBand September 1, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Tea tree oil is a wonderful remedy for acne. It really makes me feel good on my face… All my acne on my face vanished and my skin looks healthy now. Tea tree oil contains many active ingredients which deal with the bacteria causing acne. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael September 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Tagband,
      Thank you for sharing, I’m so happy to hear the tea tree oil is working great for your skin 🙂

    • Reply manu November 29, 2017 at 12:02 am

      how you used tea tree oil for curing acne

  • Reply Ricky September 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I started using body shop tea tree foaming cleanser and the tea tree oil.
    I used to wash my face 4 times a day and usually it’s fine. But after using the TT foaming cleanser for 4 days, my acne got worse. Today is day 8, and I am still continuing my tea tree oil but it doesn’t like that it has effect on my face.
    Is it because of purging effect? the white heads still keep popping tho.

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael September 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Ricky,
      I think the cleanser is too strong, and best not to wash your face more than twice a day (it will just irritate and dry out your skin, making breakouts worse). I recommend washing your face with a smooth honey. It might sound strange, but honey is great for soothing and exfoliating acne prone skin, and it’s antibacterial. It can really help. Here’s a blog post all about washing your face with honey and how to do it:

  • Reply lulu September 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    is it okay to use tea tree oil before during and after blue and red light therapy for acne?
    i have a appointment next week and have been using tea tree oil lately, will it be a problem?
    i am very stressed about this so pleas let me know.

  • Reply Shay September 21, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve been using The Bodyshop Tea Tree Oil line for 2 weeks now and my acne get worse. I think its time to stop?

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael September 26, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Yes, stop using it. The Body Shop’s Tea Tree products are way too harsh. Check out my recent video, I talk about it in there –> click here.

  • Reply Erika November 2, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I have been using tea tree oil for like 5 days straight and after reading this article, I found out that tea tree oil should not be used all over the face but rather on the spots that needs healing or any kind. I didn’t have that much acne on my face but now I have been getting severe breakouts to the point where my friends and family are asking if i’m experiencing some kind of skin disease or what :—-(( what I usually do every morning and night is use a cotton ball and let the diluted tea tree oil be absorbed and then gently scrub it on my whole face :—-(( now I know why

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael December 13, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Sorry to hear you had such a bad reaction to the tea tree oil, I hope your skin is healing. Definitely stop using it, and I recommend avoiding skincare products that contain it, because you might have a sensitivity to the tea tree oil, even in small amounts.

  • Reply Thalia November 4, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Hi Natasha. I am planning to use tea tree oil for acne treatment, but first decided to research about it so I’ll be able to use it correctly. Lucky for me i found your blog. Hehe. Thanks! 😉 I have a few questions though. (1) Can I apply tea tree oil after I use toner on my face?; (2) I have, like, a lot of acne marks on my cheek area.. does that mean I can apply tea tree oil directly to them as well? Or just the areas where there is swelling?; (3) How does tea trea oil works? Does it make the affected area of your face peel after a few days? Thanks and more power!

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael December 13, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Hi Thalia,
      The tea tree oil will help to reduce swelling and is anti-bacterial, so it will help heal pimples quicker. It shouldn’t dry out your skin or make it peel.
      Best to dab it on pimples at the very end of your skin care routine, at night. Here’s a video how to use a spot treatment correctly to get the best results:

  • Reply Sam November 18, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Hi, I read this to see if what I’ve been doing is safe. Sometimes my hormones get whacky and my skin gets super oily. I tried adding one small drop of tea tree oil to my moisturizer every other night, and my skin is SO much better, less oily, and all redness is gone. Is there any inherent harm in doing this if it works for me? I’ve tried so many other things that didn’t work. If I’m careful about wearing hats outside/using sunblock, is this something that might work for a select few?

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael December 13, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Sam,
      For some people the tea tree oil works great, so if it’s working for you, please continue! If at any time your skin starts looking red or irritated, then take a break or decrease how often you are using it (instead of every night, use it a couple of times a week). Whats most important is always keeping an eye on your skin, and if ever your skin starts appearing irritated or stressed, make the necessary adjustments to your skincare routine.

  • Reply Meeee December 8, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I wanted to know when the best time to put tea tree oil on was and this is what first popped up when I looked it up. Unfortunalty I didn’t get an answer… but I learned some new things. But I’ve been putting tea tree oil straight on my whole face for weeks and it’s been helping, and my friend has been doing the same and her acne pretty much disappeared. Some people react to tea tree oil, but others might not. We’ve been drinking only water and putting tea tree oil on our faces once a day. People have been telling me whatever I’ve been doing is working

    • Reply Natasha St. Michael December 13, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      That’s great it’s working for you! As for your question, I recommend only using tea tree oil at night to ensure the tea tree oil doesn’t cause any skin reaction to the sun (essentials oils and sunlight aren’t always the safest mix).

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