Monday, June 2, 2008

Tea Tree Oil for Acne

One of the more popular home remedies for acne is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil obtained from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia. It has been found to have anti-microbial properties, so it is often applied topically to acne lesions to kill acne-causing bacteria.

What many people don't realize about tea tree oil is that overzealously dabbing the undiluted oil onto acne lesions can irritate skin, causing as redness, blistering, overdrying, and itching. The overdrying can even worsen acne. Find out more about tea tree oil and acne, including research, tea tree oil sources, and safety concerns. Tea Tree Oil for Acne.

Tea tree oil is a hugely popular natural treatment for acne with very good reason. Tea tree oil has solved the acne problems of thousands that suffer from all types of blemish problems.

Tea tree plants are native to many areas around Australia. Harvesting the leaves, steaming them and then collecting the oil that the leaves have produced is the most common method of obtaining tea tree oil.
What is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil obtained by steam distillation of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia.

Pure, undiluted tea tree oil is found in health food stores and online. Tea tree oil is also an ingredient in a number of commercial products, such as gels, lotions, creams, toothpaste, mouthwashes, and shampoos.

Why is Tea Tree Oil Used for Acne?
Tea tree oil contains a constituent called terpinen-4-ol that is thought to be responsible for most of tea tree oil's antimicrobial activity. Because tea tree oil can kill bacteria, applying topical tea tree oil to acne lesions has been thought to kill Propionibacterium acnes, the skin-dwelling bacteria that is involved in causing acne.

In a study comparing tea tree oil gel to benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil had fewer side effects than the benzoyl peroxide, which was associated with itching, burning, stinging, and dryness.

What is the Evidence for Tea Tree Oil and Acne?
Although tea tree oil is a popular remedy for acne, there has only been one older study on tea tree oil and acne.

A single-blind randomized trial by the Department of Dermatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia compared the effectiveness and tolerance of 5% tea tree oil gel with 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion in 124 people with mild to moderate acne. People in both groups had a significant reduction in inflamed and non-inflammed acne lesions (open and closed comedones) over the three month period, although tea tree oil was less effective than benzoyl peroxide.

Although the tea tree oil took longer to work initially, there were fewer side effects with tea tree oil. In the benzoyl peroxide group, 79% of people had side effects including itching, stinging, burning, and dryness. Researchers noted that there were far fewer side effects in the tea tree oil group.

Double-blind, randomized controlled trials are needed before we can determine whether tea tree oil can help acne.

Should Undiluted Tea Tree Oil be Applied to Acne Lesions?
Undiluted tea tree oil may cause skin irritation, redness, blistering, overdrying, and itching when applied directly to the skin.

The concentration used in the only study to date was a 5% tea tree oil gel, which was applied to acne prone areas.

A 5% tea tree oil solution can be made by mixing 5 parts tea tree oil to 95 parts water (e.g. 5 mL tea tree oil and 95 mL water).

What About Commercial Tea Tree Oil Products be Used?
There are a number of new topical acne products that contain tea tree oil. Have a look at the skin care aisle of the health food store. The company Kiss My Face just introduced a new topical tea tree oil gel that also has other herbal antiseptics, such as witch hazel.

Another place to look would be the drug store or a cosmetics store such as Sephora. DDF has a benzoyl peroxide gel with tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil has become extremely popular over the last few years. During studies preformed by health care professionals it was shown to be more effective in killing bacteria (such as staph bacteria) then many popular man made antibiotics. Additional studies have shown that benzoyl peroxide is less effective in treating acne then tea tree oil as it can leave the skin red and irritated while tea tree oil does not.

To use this great blemish fighter all that you need to do is apply one drop two to three times per day to any areas of your skin that is affected and it will begin to kill the bacteria. The are also many great facial and body cleansing products that contain tee tree oil that you can use in combination with tea tree oil. There are also blemish sticks and pressed powders that contain this natural acne treatment so women suffering from blemishes do not have to worry about their makeup making their skin worse.

Tea tree oil
can be found in health food stores, pharmacies and well as in grocery and other retail stores. Additionally you can also find it sold online as well as a vast amount of information concerning the benefits and proper usage of this oil. If you are looking for an effective but natural treatment method for taking care of you acne problems then use tea tree oil, your skin will thank you.