By Sara M, Founder

Dealing With Breakouts? Tea Tree Oil Could Be The Solution You’re Looking For

Tea tree oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils for your skin, hair, even your home. And where your skin is concerned it truly is a gem. Balancing and calming, healing and acne-fighting, the benefits of tea tree oil are so good you’d be crazy to dismiss it. Here’s everything we know.


Tea tree oil. It’s not flashy and it doesn’t steal the limelight like certain other skincare ingredients, but boy can it offer some real, visible benefits to the look and feel of your skin.


As you’ve probably gathered by now, we’re really into skincare ingredients here at Svens Skincare. Vitamin C? Bring it. Retinol? Yes please. Niacinamide? All over it. You see, without powerful, active ingredients like these, skincare doesn’t offer that much on a truly deep, cellular level. Sure, cleansers are important for keeping your skin clean and clear of pore-clogging surface debris, and of course, moisturizers are essential for protecting your barrier function, locking in moisture and reducing transepidermal water loss. But if you want more from your skincare routine than basic cleansing and moisturizing it’s the finer, active ingredients you need to turn to.


It's worth remembering, however, that active ingredients aren’t limited to the science-led powerhouses of retinol and friends. Essential oils are also part of the same family. And they’re just as good.


Take tea tree oil, for example, which has long been a favorite in the skincare world. If you were a teenager in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you’ll probably remember tea tree oil appearing (almost overnight if we’re not mistaken!) on the shelves of CVS in various guises – cleansers, toners, face masks, pimple zappers, the works. 


It’s since taken a bit of a backseat thanks to the rise of more science- and tech-led formulations. But tea tree oil is still a fantastic ingredient that offers so many benefits to the skin, it’s hard to ignore. Which is why we don’t! In fact, we’ve dedicated a whole facial serum to the incredible powers of tea tree oil. Say hello to Tea Tree Pro Serum, one of our best men’s skin care products and a veritable go-to serum for oily or problematic skin.


Keep reading for everything you need to know about the benefits of tea tree oil for skin.


What Is Tea Tree Oil?


Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from steaming Melaleuca Alternifolia leaves, a small tree that’s native to Australia. It’s been used for hundreds of years topically to kill germs, heal the skin and as a herbal medicine and, like all essential oils, tea tree oil has a strong and very distinct scent. In this case the best way to describe it is that it’s kind of pine-like and a little medicinal. It’s also a tad minty and almost like eucalyptus. On the other hand, it’s nothing like either of those things. Sorry, but have you ever tried to describe a scent? Trust us, it’s hard. Props to anyone who writes about fragrance for a living!


So, What Are The Skin Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil?


Tea tree oil is known to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory which is why it’s an awesome choice for oily, combination or acne-prone skin types that need help reducing inflammation and managing breakouts. 


The secret to tea tree oil’s success is that it’s been shown to help kill a certain type of acne-related bacteria called Cutibacterium. Quick science lesson. Your skin contains a very intricate ecosystem called the microbiome. Within this ecosystem live trillions of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and even mites which work together to repel invading bad bacteria and keep your skin in optimum health. Everyone’s skin microbiome is different and it constantly changes and evolves as you go through life. Which is all good stuff. Until it isn’t. 


Problems start to arise when imbalances in your microbiome occur. Research shows that atomic dermatitis (eczema) sufferers, for example, have a serious lack of some important strains of good bacteria in their skin’s microbiome. Similarly, hormonal changes during puberty often increase sebum production which provides a veritable breeding ground for acne-inducing bacteria species like Cutibacterium and Staphylococcus. 


The good news is that tea tree oil helps keep Cutibacterium under control. You’ll probably know about benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and how this is often applied topically to treat issues with acne, right? BPO works in the same way as tea tree oil. But there’s more good news for team tea tree oil because clinical trials show that, while its benefits are similar to BPO, it results in way fewer side effects. 


Various studies also show that tea tree oil works to balance sebum production, reduce itching and encourage faster healing by triggering the activity of white blood cells. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties it may also help to reduce irritation, swelling and facial redness.


All great news if you have oily skin that’s known for its pesky acne flare-ups.


How Should You Use Tea Tree Oil In Your Skincare Routine?


Like all essential oils, tea tree oil is super strong in its pure, undiluted form. Our advice? Don’t. Even. Go. There. 


Instead, if you like to keep things as pure as possible, mix it with a safe, carrier oil to dilute its potency. Carrier oils include things like olive, sunflower, coconut and almond oils. We recommend 12 drops of carrier oil to every one or two drops of tea tree oil. Just remember, carrier oils can also come with their downsides. The most important one for oily skin is that they can clog your pores. That will not work in your skin’s favor if it’s already on the brink of a pimple breakout. 


So, what’s the solution to completely avoid such DIY disasters? Simple. Let the professionals do the hard work for you and invest in a carefully crafted skincare formulation that offers all the benefits of tea tree oil without the risks.  


Why A Tea Tree Oil Facial Serum Is Your Best Bet


To gain the best benefits from tea tree oil, we advise investing in a correcting serum like our awesome Tea Tree Pro Serum


Serums are gel-, oil- or water-based treatments that have a very small molecular structure (unlike creams and lotions) which gives them a super lightweight feel and allows them to really penetrate your skin. Most skin types can find a serum that works for their needs and concerns but if you’re looking for one that’ll work hard to balance excess sebum and help fight breakouts, Tea Tree Pro Serum is the perfect way to turbo power an already top-notch skin care routine for oily skin.


Which Ingredients Work Best With Tea Tree Oil?


Tea tree oil is a great ingredient on its own but when it’s blended with other actives it’s a real force to be reckoned with. 


  • Salicylic Acid
    Salicylic acid is another beauty for oily, acne-prone skin because it helps remove surface oil, dirt and dead skin cells by improving cellular turnover and gently exfoliating the skin. Combine this with the powerful anti-inflammatory and bacteria-fighting effects of tea tree oil and you’ve got a winning combination on your hands.

  • Hyaluronic Acid
    There are few better pairings than tea tree oil and hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a humectant that draws water to the surface of the skin, helping to keep it healthy, plump and hydrated. The soothing and comforting benefits of HA work well with tea tree oil and are ideal for inflamed, pimply skin that can easily get dehydrated.

  • Vitamin E
    A powerful antioxidant and calming moisturizer, vitamin E works hard to improve the texture of your skin, nourishing and hydrating it without clogging up your pores. It’s everything you could possibly want from a skincare ingredient and the perfect friend to tea tree oil.

    Does Tea Tree Oil Have Any Side Effects?


    Unlike benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil comes with fewer side effects like itching, dryness and peeling and, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, it’s well tolerated by most skin types. 


    But no matter how safe it is when applied topically, everyone’s skin is different. If you do err towards the sensitive side, we always recommend performing a patch test with any new product that contains active ingredients like essential oils and retinol. Because irritation is, as the name suggests, super irritating. 


    Simply apply a tiny drop of product behind your ear and leave it for 24-48 hours before using it properly for the first time. If you feel anything uncomfortable during this period (itching, pain, burning or a rash) discontinue use immediately. If not, you’re good to go. 


    Most experts also recommend avoiding tea tree oil if you have eczema. And remember, just because it has the word ‘tea’ in it, tea tree oil should never be ingested. It’s highly toxic. You have been warned.




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