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Though there are other acne treatment methods that work more quickly to zap blemishes, tea tree oil is one of the most effective long term treatment options available. This natural substance conditions the skin and helps minimize the amount of bacteria and oil that could be leading to more frequent breakouts.
Where It Comes From
Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of a native Australia shrub known as the tea tree. For years, Australians have used poultices, teas and ointments from these leaves to treat such disparate ailments as coughs, burns, colds and wounds, and there are a number of scientific reasons that each of these treatments actually work. Oil from the tea tree’s leaves are naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and antiseptic, making tea tree oil an almost miracle cure for many of the most common ailments.
Why It Works
When used in topical creams, lotions, masks and spot treatments as an acne treatment method, tea tree oil works in a number of ways to attack current blemishes and reduce the chances of future breakouts. First, the oil is a natural antimicrobial substance, which means it will work to wash away and destroy bacteria that thrive in oily pores. When used as a regular part of a skin care regimen or incorporated into facial washes, creams or lotions, it can help prevent clogged pores, white and blackheads, and unsightly blemishes.
How to Use Effectively
Tea tree oil comes in a number of different commercial products, making it easy for individuals to incorporate it into their normal skin care routine. It is also available in its pure form at most health food and beauty stores. If individuals purchase it in its concentrated natural form, it should be mixed with two tablespoons to half a cup of water or another natural oil of the user’s choice, such as almond or avocado oil. This mixture can then be used as a spot treatment or as a light mask. After five to 15 minutes, the mask should be washed away with warm water. Use this treatment at least three times a week for the best results.
What to Watch For
Thankfully, because tea tree oil is a natural and mild substance, there are very few side effects associated with using it to treat recurrent or even occasional acne. If individuals use it in its undiluted form, they may suffer some minor skin irritation, so it should be tested on a small area of unexposed skin before use. There is also some small evidence that using tea tree oil may have some hormonal effects in select individuals. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using tea tree oil or should consult their doctor before use. Tea tree oil should also not be taken internally under any circumstances as it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and possibly nervous system complications.
As a topical acne treatment, tea tree oil can help individuals who are looking for a natural and safe skin care option. With regular use, it can work just as effectively as most medically developed treatments without many of the unpleasant side effects and skin irritations.