Here’s What Research Says About Using Tea Tree Oil For Acne

tea tree oil for acne

Tea tree oil isn’t a new ingredient in the market. For years, people have used it as part of their skincare routine. It helps reduce blemishes and several skin infections, including acne. If acne is a concern that features on top of your priority list, this blog is for you. Here we will discuss the effectiveness of tea tree oil for acne, how to use it, and precautions to keep in mind. 

A quick introduction if, by chance, you haven’t heard about tea tree oil. 

  • It is an essential oil that is native to Australia. 
  • Since ancient times, native Australians have used it to treat colds and coughs. 
  • Tea tree oil has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
  • It comes from the plant (leaves) referred to as Melaleuca alternifolia. 

Studies That Talk About Using Tea Tree Oil For Acne

Study 1

A study (1) in 2006 indicated that due to the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory qualities in tea tree oil, it might help treat pimples. 

Study 2

As per a study (2) in 2016, participants using a combination of tea tree oil and resveratrol to safeguard their skin against sun damage had less bacteria and oil on their skin. Though the research had nothing to do with acne, the outcome indicated that it may help improve acne. 

Study 3

A review (4) in 2015, which included 35 studies on using tea tree oil for acne, concluded that some evidence supports this claim but isn’t enough. More research is needed to prove anything. 

These studies suggest that using tea tree oil can help improve acne, but we still do not have anything substantial. 

Can You Use Tea Tree Oil Directly on Your Skin?

No, you shouldn’t use tea tree oil directly on your skin. Before using any essential oil, always take a patch test on a small area to check if it causes any adverse reaction or not. 

How Should You Use Tea Tree Oil for Your Face?

  • You should always apply the oil on a clean face. Use a mild cleanser specifically meant for acne-prone skin. 
  • Take about one to two drops of tea tree oil and combine it with around twelve drops of carrier oil. 
  • Use a cotton pad and use the diluted oil by dabbing it on areas with blemishes and other skin issues. 
  • Let it dry, and later you can use your regular moisturiser. 

How Often Should You Use Tea Tree Oil?

It’s safe to use if there are no side effects after the patch test. Initially, you can start by using it once a week. Though it is better to always discuss with a dermatologist if you plan to use tea tree oil or anything new to your skin. If you notice any redness or irritation, it is best to discuss with your doctor.

Risks & Precautions While Using Tea Tree Oil For Acne


  • If it’s appropriately diluted and there are no adverse reactions, you can safely use tea tree oil. However, some people may develop skin irritation or allergic reactions. 
  • If you notice any signs of burning, itchiness, redness or swelling, contact a doctor immediately. 
  • While using tea tree oil, ensure that you don’t swallow it. Otherwise, it can cause symptoms like ataxia and confusion. In simple terms, ataxia is a loss of coordination in your muscles. 
  • Be cautious not to get the oil into your eyes because that can lead to irritation and redness. 

It’s a Wrap

You can use tree oil but remember that it is not a replacement for your skincare routine devised for acne. Follow all the precautions and guidelines mentioned in the blog to stay safe. You can also use products that contain tea tree oil to reap the benefits. In case you see no improvement in acne, reach out to a dermatologist. 


  1. How long will it take tea tree oil to work on your acne?

There’s no set time frame for tea tree oil to treat acne. It depends on your condition, skin type and other factors. You can consult a dermatologist to get an idea related to all your queries and concerns. 

2. Is it okay to leave tea tree oil on your face overnight?

It is best to avoid applying just tea tree oil on your skin and leaving it overnight. You may apply a moisturiser to soothe and heal your skin after applying the tea tree oil.

3. What will happen if you do not dilute tea tree oil before using it?

It isn’t advisable to use tea tree oil or any essential oil without diluting it. By using undiluted oil, you may experience allergy, skin irritation, redness, burning etc. Always use it by diluting it with a carrier oil that is ideal for you. 

4. Can you get rid of pimples overnight by using tea tree oil?

The condition of your pimples and skin type will determine the time it may take to treat your pimples. There aren’t any ingredients or techniques that can help get rid of pimples overnight.Talk to a dermatologist who can suggest the right treatment. 



Picture of Chaitali Nayak

Chaitali Nayak

A writer and a skincare fanatic, Chaitali believes that words and kindness can transform the world. She has a master’s degree in Advertising & Public Relations and has worked for various advertising agencies and digital marketing firms. With the help of expert dermatologists at CureSkin, she works towards creating content that helps eliminate misinformation related to skincare. The aim is to educate yet bring something exciting and new every time for the readers. When not busy writing, you can find her talking to her plants, eating, drawing or watching movies.