Tea tree oil appears to be a credible alternative remedy for blemishes, including pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) lists tea tree oil as a natural acne treatment. Tea tree oil treatment might be especially helpful for acne patients with sensitive skin. Despite the AAD’s endorsement, the National Institutes of Health argues that further human studies are needed to confirm the touted benefits of tea tree oil for acne.
A report published in January, 2011 in the “New York Times” says some experts recommended tea tree oil when the commonly used acne fighting compound benzoyl peroxide often contained in over-the-counter acne products is too irritating, ineffective or both. Benzoyl peroxide helps clear away dead skin cells and diminish inflammation.
A study published in “Clinical Microbiology Reviews” compared the effectiveness of 5 percent tea tree oil (TTO) for acne against 5 percent benzoyl peroxide (BP.) Researchers found that both TTO and BP decreased the number of inflamed lesions. However, the skin of study participants who used BP was significantly less oily than those who used TTO.. Fewer side effects such as scaling were reported by the TTO group. The study involved 124 acne patients, approximately half of which used TTO and the other treated their skin with BP.
Tea tree oil may work best on mild to moderate acne, according to a number of small trials. A 2007 randomized study of 60 patients with mild to moderate acne were split into two groups. One used a gel containing 5 percent tea tree oil and the other treated their skin with a placebo daily for 45 days. Researchers discovered that tea tree oil worked much better than placebo in diminishing the number and severity of blemishes. A smaller British study of 27 acne patients also supported tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory effects. Scanning the labels of various acne creams, soaps, cleansers you will undoubtedly find many acne products list tea tree oil as an active ingredient, notes the ACS.
Tea tree oil proved to be more deadly against head lice than peruviol.