I’ve received a lot of questions about tea tree oil and its different uses. If you go to Pinterest, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different do-it-yourself tea tree oil recipes. What I see is a lot is people are using it incorrectly and hurting their skin. I am guilty of doing this myself.
When I think about tea tree oil, I can’t help but think of the many experiments I did over the years of trying different homemade recipes and really hurting my skin with it. I have fairly oily skin. Should you use tea tree oil for oily skin?
Tea tree oil is perhaps the best essential oil for oily skin, acne-prone skin, dark spots, and overnight pimple reduction. You don’t need to dilute tea tree oil unless you have very sensitive skin. Use spot treatment to dab a bit onto each pimple or blemish. Do not slather it all over your face, as this could damage your skin.
There’s much to discuss about tea tree oil. I’ll talk about the best ways of using it correctly for oily skin and the mistakes to avoid.
Also, take a look at three popular tea tree oil skincare products on Amazon that will help eliminate excess oil and improve your skin:
Also, for an excellent tea tree oil skincare product, take a look at our top pick, the Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil:
Tea Tree Oil Basics
Tea tree oil (also called melaleuca oil) is distilled from the leaves of the Australian plant Melaleuca Alternifolia. It is an essential oil that comes in a little jar and is found in health stores or online. I recommend using tea tree oil as a spot treatment on your pimples or other blemishes.
The great thing about tea tree oil is that for some people, their skin responds so well to it that it can totally diminish or shrink a pimple, even overnight. For some people, it might take a few days to diminish, but it is still faster than not using any tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil helps to take away the redness and inflammation as it has anti-inflammatory properties. It won’t irritate your skin or dry it out and will help heal your skin. Use caution when using tea tree oil, however!
If you are slathering lots of it onto your face each day, this can cause redness and irritation.
Tea tree oil is antiseptic. It’s antibacterial, and it’s also a bit of a solvent, so it actually helps break up oil and debris that might be clogging up your pores.
There are many benefits of tea tree oil, but you have to be careful when using it. The best way of using tea tree oil is just like a spa treatment, so only dab a bit on the pimple.
Make sure not to splash it all over your face. You can also do a patch test which involves adding a drop or two of tea tree oil to a small patch of your skin and wait to see how your skin reacts. If your skin doesn’t get irritated, then you can know that tea tree oil is safe to use on your skin.
Use Tea Tree Oil as a Spot Treatment Only
Recently I received an email from one of our readers. She asked me if she can add a few drops of tea tree oil to her cream, lotion, or toner. She would then apply this mixture all over the face to perhaps help heal acne to make her face less oily and prevent breakouts from coming back.
My response to that is ‘no’ because tea tree oil is strong. All essential oils in my book are super strong, and you have to be careful. Unlike many other essential oils, however, you don’t have to dilute tea tree oil.
You can put tea tree oil directly on your skin but just on specific spots. Just dab a tiny amount of tea tree oil directly onto your pimples or other blemishes. If your skin is irritated with just one or two drops of tea tree oil, then you should dilute the oil with water.
As mentioned earlier, I recommend conducting a patch test – where you apply a drop of tea tree oil to a small patch of your skin.
Your face is the most fragile area of your body because it is always exposed to the elements. It’s always exposed to sunlight and air, not to mention wind and pollution. It’s the one part of your body that is always exposed and is never covered.
So because the skin on our face is just a lot more fragile than anywhere else on your body, I just won’t be putting anything too harsh on it, especially all over it.
For example, the area around your eyes is more fragile than perhaps your forehead. So I recommend using tea tree oil on specific spots only.
How to Apply Tea Tree Oil
Open up the bottle, and make sure to add just one or two drops of tea tree oil in the palm of your hand. I’m right-handed, so I add two drops of tea tree oil to my left hand.
Then I dab the drops of tea tree oil with my ring finger, and then I dab my pimple wherever I have them. You never want to rub the tea tree oil into your skin. You never want to put it on areas around the pimple; you just want to dab it on top of the pimple.
After, you don’t have to wash it off. You can leave the tea tree oil on your face overnight. Let it sit and soak in the pimple overnight, and after several nights of doing this, pimples, acne, and many other skin conditions will gradually diminish.
When to Apply Tea Tree Oil
It’s best to apply tea tree oil at the very end of your skin care routine. So after you’ve cleansed and washed your face, applied toner, eye cream, or moisturizer, at the end of your routine, dab the tea tree oil on pimples or other blemishes.
Because if you apply the tea tree oil earlier, it can spread around, which you don’t want.
If you were to put the tea tree oil on right after washing your face or after moisturizing, there’s a chance of it moving around and spreading to other areas of your face, and you don’t want that.
So always, at the end of your skincare routine, you would just dab the tea tree oil very gently on your pimple and then not touch it. I like first to apply coconut oil to moisturize my face. Then, after applying the coconut oil, I spot treat with the tea tree oil.
Only Apply Tea Tree Oil Once a Day, at Night
I don’t recommend that you use essential oils during the day because your skin is being exposed to sunlight. There could be a negative reaction to your skin with sunlight shining on the tea tree oil.
I also strongly advise you only to be applying tea tree oil once a day, whether you have oily skin, dry skin, or acne-prone skin type. Some people put tea tree oil on their skin several times a day.
What they’re doing is they could be damaging their skin. It is very potent and would really dry out your skin or potentially burn it if you use the tea tree oil several times a day.
So my recommendation is to definitely use tea tree oil for oily skin and acne-prone skin, but make sure to either use it once a day at night or even once every other night.
Those of you who have sensitive skin might be better off using tea tree oil every other night as opposed to every night. Keep applying the tea tree oil every night until your pimple has vanished.
After the pimple has gone, you may be left with a tiny mark, scar, or dark spot. Keep applying the tea tree oil to the spot as this will heal it faster and help keep the area disinfected.
See our post about using tea tree oil for dark spots on the face for more tips and information.
Tea Tree Oil Risks
I recommend that you don’t use the tea tree oil if you’re already using acne treatment products that have active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or Retin-A.
If you do want to dilute it down, you can mix the tea tree oil with one or two drops of tea tree oil or add some of your moisturizers to it. If you dilute the tea tree oil, still just dab one or two drops of tea tree oil on your pimples or problem areas, don’t spread it everywhere.
If you apply tea tree oil to your whole face, you might feel okay the first day, but over time you’ll notice just one day, your skin will become bright red. Trust me because it’s happened to me.
When I hear people say they put tea tree oil all over their faces, I get flashbacks of when I used to do that because it made my face red and irritated.
Use Tea Tree Oil by Itself, Not in a Product
So is it okay if you buy a product that has tea tree oil added to it? Should you not be using that? Would that be too strong?
Most products that contain tea tree oil, like a cream or lotion, or cleanser, have various amounts of tea tree oil in them. I would be cautious in general if someone were to offer me products that contain tea tree oil in them.
I probably would only use a tea tree oil cleanser (if the tea tree oil was very minimal and near the end of the ingredient list), as a cleanser is something I would wash off quickly. This way, you get the anti-inflammatory properties of the tea tree oil for a brief moment before washing it off your face.
A cleanser with a small amount of tea tree oil can also be very beneficial for anyone with an oily skin type, acne-prone skin type, or dry skin type.
You could dilute one or two drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil such as avocado oil or coconut oil. A carrier oil is often used with an essential oil such as tea tree oil. The carrier oil dilutes the concentrated essential oil so that it can be used without irritating those with a sensitive skin type.
See our post: 29 Best Face Wash & Cleansers for Oily Skin & Large Pores for our favorite cleansers for those with an oily skin type.
So I would personally not use a moisturizer that has tea tree oil in its ingredient list, or if I did, I’d only use it on areas of my face where there was a pimple. But I wouldn’t be using pure tea tree oil all over my face.
And as mentioned earlier, there is no need to dilute pure tea tree oil when using it to combat acne and other skin conditions. Spot treatment of tea tree oil will allow you to target it directly to the problem spots.
You want to be super gentle with your skin, and even if something is natural, still, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gentle. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for your skin.
So make sure to use just one or two drops of tea tree oil at a time on your skin. And avoid using tea tree oil if you are using products with active ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
Cycle Tea Tree Oil with the Seasons
Also, let’s say it’s summertime, or you are planning on going on a beach vacation, or you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors, you should take a break from using tea tree oil, even at night.
I personally like to cycle my skincare with the seasons, and I prefer to be protecting my skin from the sun and doing more treatments in the wintertime. So if you go on a summer vacation or to the beach, don’t bring the tea tree oil with you.
Wait and use it when you get back. There’s plenty of other essential oils you can use to cycle with the pure tea tree oil.
Use Tea Tree Oil Temporarily
If you’ve been using tea tree oil to speed up the healing of your breakouts or just help manage your oily skin, and don’t see any results, then stop using it. There’s no point in continuing hoping it will one day work okay because it is a waste of time.
I’ve wasted years trying different products without seeing results. If it’s not producing results, then move on and try something else. But it is worth trying to see if it will work for you and your oily skin.
Recommended Tea Tree Oil
As mentioned earlier, pure tea tree oil (also called melaleuca oil) is distilled from the leaves of the plant Melaleuca Alternifolia, which is native to Australia. It is an essential oil with anti-inflammatory benefits that will help those with oily skin prevent a build-up of excess oil on their skin.
There are many tea tree oils to choose from online. For the best tea tree oil for oily skin, I recommend the Healing Solutions Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil because not only is this the one I use, but it is premium high grade, pure oil and comes with a glass dropper.
There are cheaper ones available; however, a little goes a long way. You’ll only need one or two drops of tea tree oil at a time. So I recommend you choose a high-quality tea tree oil as it should last you a long time.
I also recommend that you don’t use the tea tree oil if you’re already using acne treatment products that have active ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or Retin-A.
I highly recommend using tea tree oil if you have oily skin. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce excess oil from your skin.
This will help control and prevent acne outbreaks and other skin conditions from forming. I recommend conducting a patch test first to ensure the tree oil doesn’t irritate your skin.
I also recommend using just one or two drops of tea tree oil by itself; however, if you have sensitive skin, you can dilute the tea tree oil in a carrier oil, such as avocado oil. After diluting the tea tree oil in a carrier oil, it is still best to just spot treat the mixture onto each pimple or blemish.