Natural Remedies

Tea Tree Oil Treatment for Acne

| Modified on Sep 17, 2023

Knowing that the overproduction of oil is one of the contributing factors to acne, you may think it sounds or seems counterintuitive to use "oil" to treat acne. However, there is an oil-based treatment option that is not only effective for treating acne but is also safe and all natural. If you've been using any number of other treatment options with little success, try tea tree oil and see if it works as well for you as it has for several of our other contributors.

What Causes Acne?

We have all experienced the telltale skin issue otherwise known as acne. The issue is medically explained as clogged hair follicles caused by a number of factors. While the main biological factors that contribute to acne are oil, dead skin, and bacteria, several other conditions could be contributing to your skin issues including prescription medications, stress, and even your beauty regimen.

How Can I Fix It?

While acne often seems like a hazard of everyday life, it doesn?t have to be. We've recently identified tea tree oil as an effective remedy for acne. This natural treatment works effectively to eliminate the underlying infection and to keep acne from coming back.


What Are the Benefits of Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant that is native to Australia. The oil is a common ingredient in a variety of beauty products; however, it is especially effective for treating acne all on its own. Tea tree oil functions in several ways to treat acne.

1. It kills bacteria.

Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent, so it functions to eliminate the bacteria that causes acne.

2. It is natural.

Many acne treatment options contain harsh chemicals, but tea tree oil is different. It's a natural product that works to improve the skin and reduce acne.

3. It has powerful treatment properties.

Many treatments require multiple applications and an extended period of time to present results; however, tea tree oil works quickly with a very small application.

Simply dip a q-tip in the tea tree oil and dab it on the affected areas or add a few drops to your regular cleanser or moisturizer as a regular treatment, and you'll be acne free in no time. Continue reading below for reviews from our readers who have tried this remedy to cure acne!

Related Links:

12 Proven Natural Remedies for Acne
Glowing Skin Remedies
Natural Blackhead Remedies: Clear Skin Solutions
Natural Remedies for Cystic Acne
Natural Remedies for Scars and Scar Tissue
Tea Tree Oil: A Potent Natural Health Aid

21 User Reviews

Posted by Samantha (Las Vegas, Nevada) on 07/24/2016

Tea tree oil is amazing to put on pimples! I threw away my Benzamycin when I discovered this natural (and very powerful) alternative that actually works even better! A dermatologist told me he wouldn't prescribe Benzamycin anymore because it is toxic to your body and can even cause wrinkles long term. So definitely try Tea Tree Oil, you'll be happy you did!

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Mary Ellen (Sonoma, Ca) on 05/21/2014

I use tea tree oil for acne over the years. It's very effective if you dip a q-tip in the oil and then apply to the pimple. Usually heals up within 24 hours unless it's a bad one, lol!

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Mariah (Wisconsin) on 06/02/2013

I have suffered from acne since I was a teenager, I have tried everything from prescription medication, to name brand products, nothing worked and CONTINUED to work. Until now. I wash my face at night with generic anti-bacterial hand soap, after soaking my skin with a hot rag for a minute or so. I rinse the soap, wash again, to make sure I removed all my make up, then pat dry with a towel. After that I wet a cotton ball with a three part tea tree oil one part 3% hydrogen peroxide, and use it like a primer, and air dry. I use a normal moisturizer when I get out of the shower). My skin made an incredible improvement in just a few days. All together, it runs me about fifteen bucks. A wonderful price tag for the huge boost in my self confidence.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Fee (Northern Territory, Australia) on 03/16/2012

3 drops of tea tree oil

2 tea bags of chamomile tea

in around 2 litres of warm water.

This homemade remedy heals acne and or related rashes.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Manda (Yorkton, Saskatchewan ) on 03/15/2012

I do not have bad acne but I get those pesky pimples that won't go away without scarring. My mom is really into herbal remedies and suggested tea tree oil. We use it for many reasons so I had some laying around. I tried it & It goes away fast, If it tingles 'good! That means it's working. But I find that if I use it too often my pimples become "immune" to it & I need to switch remedies for a few a bit then switch back. Not sure if I'm the only one this happens too. Good Luck :)

Replied by Hannah

Same. Some treatments for pimples or acne work for a while, but if I stop using it and then come back to it my body is immune almost to the treatment and it doesn't work anymore. It sucks, but I hope the tea tree oil that I'm using now won't turn on me lol:)

Replied by Om
(Hope, Bc Canada)

Hello Hannah --- as almost all skin problems originate from an overburdened liver, that is where you have to start detoxing. Otherwise it is like your own experience. If you research on EC remedies or ailments, you can find what resonates with you. For example, Milk Thistle tincture is very good, dandelion, the entire plant as a tea, Nettle for about three weeks, too and so on. No sweets when liver is complaining with outer signs of skin outbreaks and itching. But natural stevia ( check ingredients) can be used. No alcohol except that in tinctures for medical use.

Using oat meal, coarse grind, combined with a little coconut oil with turmeric powder as a body rub, will help with clogged pores etc. Including the face. No make up. Let the sun create your foundation. See what is does and watch your diet.

Namaste, Om

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by London (Sandusky, Ohio) on 08/08/2010

Tea tree oil is great for acne and wound healing. I have this really bad habit of picking my pimples and leaving big marks and scars that last for months on my face. I guess I get nervous, and I wont leave my face alone!! LOL... I had a cyst like pimple on my chin, that I had attempted to pop (unsuccessfully) for 3 days. It left a big black and blue mark on my chin. I begin soaking a cotton ball in water, draining the excess, and putting about 3 to 4 drops tea tree oil on the cotton, then swabbing my face, specifically the wounds from my zit picking crusades. I kid you not, by the next day, it was gone!! The scab had almost completely healed, it was very noticable. Very good for acne scars and wound healing.

Replied by Tracey
(Gainesville, Fl)

Thank you for this info, I do the same thing!

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Pina (North Bergen, New Jersey) on 09/27/2009

i just wanted to share that teatree oil works amazingly on cold sores and acne. i felt a tingle on my upper lip and applied a drop of teatree oil a couple of times a day it is very drying so apply some lipbalm afterwards. apply on your pimples a few times daily as well.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Elizabeth (Nashville, TN) on 05/23/2009

I am a 29 year old that has been suffering off and on with adult acne since the age of 19. I've tried everything....zit creams, proactive, toners, name it. I took Accutane when I was 23 ( a six month dose) and it did clear it up for a couple of years. Although, if I had to do it again I probably wouldn't have taken Accutane b/c of all the possible side effects, but I digress. Anyways, I have been getting pimples that have been taking FOREVER to get rid of, so of course it leaves a red dot where the pimple was. This is what I have been doing for the past week and my pimples are virtually gone and the red spots are fading fast.

1) I wash my face morning and night with Castille soap...I also use baking soda as a scrub a couple times a week.

2) After I wash my face I apply hydrogen peroxide with a cottonball and let it air dry (I do this at night only)

3) I dampen my face and apply a 70/30 ratio of jojoba oil and tea tree oil. The tea tree oil is strong so I cut it with the jojoba oil.

4) Then I get a q-tip and drop some tea tree oil on it and apply directly to current blemishes and red spots.

5) After my skin soaks this up I then apply a pump of face lotion for sensitive moisturize.

6) If you are a woman and use liquid foundation....STOP...that stuff has so many chemicals in it...I always break out when I used I use a mineral foundation that is made of natural ingredients and my skin can breathe!

That's it!!! I've only been doing this for a week and my skin feels and looks so much more clear and smooth, not to mention a more even-toned complexion. I've tried ACV for my skin and it did help at first but I started breaking out again. Plus, the tea tree oil makes your skin a GOOD way! Now I need to work on my dark eye circles! They are BAD :(

Well, I hope this helps others with acne and the scars that go with it...

Replied by Amanda
(Lynn Ma)

What products did you use to make the mineral makeup? I was thinking of doing the same thing. I just got a liquid foundation by Mac and I think its breaking me out, my skin is sensitive to anything.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Tim (LA, CA) on 05/08/2009

For pimples try tea tree oil... it will dry them out in no time. It smells bad so use it at night. Good luck. Tim

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Vicki (Bridgewater, New Jersey) on 04/18/2009

I have suffered from adult acne for more than 20 years with it getting progressively worse no matter what the treatment. Prescription or over the counter, nothing worked. At any given time I would have anywhere from one to ten or more "lesions" and was NEVER without at least one. I've used products with tea tree oil in the past but never tea tree oil full strength. For the last 2 weeks I've been using full strenth tea tree oil and hydrocortisone cream and have seen wonderful results. I wet my face and use 3 or 4 drops of full strength tea tree oil and massage my face. It feels cool and refreshing. Then I use any facial cleanser and continue massaging and rinsing. Then I use and finger's length of hydrocortisone cream (I've been using maximum strength) and a drop or two of tea tree oil rubbed together and massaged into the skin until dry. The hydrocortisone cream has left my skin softer than any moisturizer. (I was never able to find a moisturizer that didn't make me break out.) And with the tea tree oil "wash" my face just cleared up without drying and I've had NO breakouts for more than a week, which hasn't happened for years! I'm hopeful for continued improvement and would like to know if anyone else has similar results.

Replied by Como Acabar Com As Espinhas
(Portugual, Brazil)

Hi! The tea trea oil definitely helped me with the dryness and redness. However, I still find using Apple Cider Vinegar topically and drinking it has been the best help for my acne. Good luck!

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Amanda (Carrboro, NC) on 04/06/2009

I like the apple cider vinegar remedy for acne, but while it helped (in place of washing with soap), I still experienced breakouts. I have been applying undiluted tea tree oil to blemishes 1-2 times per day with a cotton swab, and the blemishes are clearing quickly and fewer are appearing. My acne is often acne cysts, which are long lasting and very difficult to prevent/heal--the tea tree oil is the only remedy that makes a clear difference. It works quickly and is effective. I have read that as many as 6% of the population has a reaction to undiluted tea tree oil, though, so be sure to test a small patch of skin first, or try it diluted.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Corrie (Newark, NJ, USA) on 02/27/2009

I have found that pure 100 percent tea tree oil when dabbed on acne a few times daily helps to dry out the oils and other goo that seems to accumulate there. Also, I don't know if this counts, I like to crush up aspirin from the drug store, mix it with a drop of TTO, a few drops of water, and then scrub my chest of whatever wait it for a minute or so. I've also tried baking soda with a few drops of water with good results for yucky whiteheads. Toothpaste also is a very good, quick treatment, but be caareful! It could dry out your skin. That happened to me once, and it was very red and painful to the touch, and it was days peeling and healing. I used pure aloe vera gel to moisturize my skin then, and it really helps to get rid of the redness and such.;) good luck, all!

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Natasha (Boston, Ma) on 01/03/2009

I'm 35 years old and after going off the pill, I had acne for the first time in my life. It was cystic acne on the forehead and temples in addition to breaking out on the chin. I tried every OTC remedy I could think of, such as ACV, neutrogena products, aspirin masks, oxy, aha's, etc. Everything made it SO much worse! Finally, I stumbled across diluted tea tree oil. I use approx. 1:4 ratio of tea tree oil to water (my skin is very sensitive). With a q-tip, I spot treat the zits and holy cow I saw improvement within as little as two days! The redness was gone and it has been clearing up. Woohoo!

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Anonymous (Bethelhem, PA) on 09/15/2007

For years I've suffered from moderate acne and just recently started getting cysts again after a few years without. I couldn't figure out why. I tried a lot of different solutions,nothing worked. I came upon this site a few months back and have had so much success with all my inquiries. TEA TREE OIL... Thank you to whom ever suggested that, my cyst was a quarter of the original size within 2 hours. By the next day completely dried out. Just be sure to use a small dab, to prevent over drying. It's very powerful. I've also started drinking a large glass of carrot juice everyday and cut out dairy, not sure if about results yet since it's only been 4 days.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Naomi (Kelowna, Canada) on 06/07/2007

Hello, I have greatly appreciated these comments and have started on the acv regimin and am not enjoying the taste. However I am waiting upon results. So far I am pleased with how gentle it was and how it didnt burn or anything. Anyway if you are looking for something that is lighter then Benzoyl Peroxide then go with TEA TREE OIL!!! I've been using it for over 4 months now and I can honestly say that it's improved my acne majorly. You know that itchy feeling like bacteria is crawling all over your face??? Well, try Tea Tree Oil, it fixes the problem on site!! Thanks again

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Sue (Prince George, Canada) on 03/11/2007

I tried putting Tea Tree oil directly on my face for my acne and blackheads. I've tried almost every single product out there and this is the only one that works. After washing and lotioning, I apply a few dabs on the pimple or if it's a case of blackheads, I apply a small layer all over. It tingles and feels like a cool breeze. It really works. Mixed with my lotion, it doesn't dry out my skin! Some people are allergic, so try it on a small bit of your arm first and wait a bit. It works awesome for body acne too, you can get it in a shampoo and it cleanses your head and body while you're at it. Mix it with a little bit of jojoba oil and lemon oil. It cleanses and moisturizes.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Linda (New Bern, NC) on 01/31/2007

Re: Acne -- have tried many products and have found that tea tree oil when applied on face works extremely well. Does not smell great but DOES WORK. noticeable difference in approx. 2days. also used fully refined emu oil and my face looks GREAT! had to share...

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Sky (North Dakota) on 11/14/2006

Put 100% tea tree oil to a clean cyst twice a day for 3 to 5 days and the oil dries the cyst. I use it on my face all the time, its the only thing that works.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Michelle (Atlanta, GA) on 10/17/2006

This is the best thing for acne i have struggle with acne and dry skin since i was 12 i have tried everything and nothing as really worked. some have cleared up the problem area but it usually made a new problem(side effect). I wash my face with a mild soap and at night cover my face in tea tree oil. I wake up with a clearer, smoother face after 2 weeks face was completely clear. My 10 year old daughter also uses this on her nose where she gets little freckle looking spots in the summer(dry heat) WORKS WONDERS.

Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Dale (Lonnon, MI)

I call it Zit Killer.. Combine: 4 ml Tea Tree Oil, 4 ml Grapefruit seed extract & 80 ml Witch Hazel. After washing skin with very hot water and soaking with a hot wet wash cloth, dry skin and apply mixture to pimples.