Acne Treatment and Acne Prevention: The Truth About Tea Tree Oil

By Agnes Scott

Can tea tree oil really get rid of acne? The answer seems to be "Yes" in both theory and practice. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and antifungal agent which works well for many people. It is in the role of antiseptic that tea tree oil helps in acne prevention and treatment. When you apply this natural oil on your blackheads and whiteheads, it prevents the bacterial infection from setting in and creating pimples. Applied on your pimples, it helps to kill the bacteria and promotes healing.

The trick is that not all tea tree oil is the same. First, we have to talk about the concentration. It is natural to think that using undiluted tea tree oil is good, because you can kill more bacteria faster. Unfortunately, Italian doctors have found that 6% of these patients suffer from skin irritation. Compared to this, only 1 in 725 patients using the 1% solution had allergic reactions.

A study published in the Oxford Journals showed that tea tree oil below 4% concentration will not kill bacteria effectively, so this is something you need to think about. The authors noted that hospitals which use the 4% to 5% concentrations as general antiseptics found tea tree oil to be very effective.

How does tea tree oil stack up against laboratory-created chemicals for acne treatment? Doctors in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia compared 5% tea tree oil against 5% benzoyl peroxide. They concluded that both of them work - the difference being that benzoyl peroxide works faster, but 79% of their patients suffered side effects like itching, stinging, burning, and dryness. The patients using tea tree oil reported fewer complaints.

The next important point is the composition of your tea tree oil. Most companies extract their tea tree oil from Melaleuca alternifolia, but there are at least two other species of the tea tree plant - Melaleuca dissitiflora and Melaleuca linariifolia. In addition, how the oil is extracted also determines the composition. Fortunately, the international standard ISO 4730 ("Oil of Melaleuca, Terpinen-4-ol type") specifies levels of 14 components which are needed to define the oil as "tea tree oil." So before you buy your tea tree oil, you need to check for this certification.

Now, lets say you have your 5% tea tree oil, and it meets the ISO 4730 standard. You apply it but suffer an allergic reaction. Does this mean you cannot use tea tree oil? Not necessarily. Remember that the remaining 95% of the solution is probably some kind of solvent. Your reaction could be against the solvent rather than the tea tree oil. So, buck up and try a different brand with another solvent. Just because the manufacturer says the solvent they use is inactive or inert does not mean you cannot be allergic to it.

If you are not a chronic acne sufferer, is it worthwhile to keep a small bottle of tea tree oil in your home? The answer is definitely yes. You can extend the shelf-life by keeping it in your refrigerator. And the oil is useful for fungal infections and minor wounds. So you will definitely get some use out of it.

Are you looking for natural acne skin care techniques? Visit http://acnecure.kelvinmart.com/ to learn step-by-step, permanent acne care treatment.

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