Monday, 19 December 2011

Using Tea Tree Oil for Acne

Hey Everybody,

I am a big advocate of using natural methods to treat acne, rather than solely relying on prescription medication. However, I do understand that some natural methods may not always be as effective as prescription treatments when it comes to treating some of the more severe cases of acne.

Having said that, if your acne is mild to moderate then perhaps experiment with some natural options rather than opting for treatments offered by your doctor. Obviously I am not a doctor so if your acne is really affecting your quality of life then you should get your skin seen to by a professional.

As you may already know tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia which is a plant native to Australia and has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for various ailments by the original inhabitants of Australia, the aboriginals.

Tea tree oil is an essential oil and is extracted from the leaves of the plant through steam distillation. This process produces a pale yellow oil with a pungent but pleasant odour. The oil contains terpenoids, which are known to produce antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. While the oil can be applied topically (I don't recommend using 100% tea tree oil, but I'll come back to that), it can be extremely toxic if swallowed.

You may be asking yourself "why is tea tree oil used in toothpastes and mouthwashes if it is toxic?" Well simply put we aren't supposed to swallow toothpaste or mouthwash, but if we accidentally do, it's not usually enough to cause any harm.

I certainly recommend keeping some tea tree oil in the medicine cabinet, because other than using tea tree oil for acne, I find it has many other wonderful and useful properties. I use it for cuts, grazes, stings, boils and just about any other lump or bump that appears on my body!

Tea tree oil contains terpinen-4-ol which is believed to be responsible for it's antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It's these properties which can make Melaleuca Oil so effective for treating acne as it is believed to kill the acne causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, which lives on the surface of the skin.

I mentioned earlier that I don't recommend using 100% pure tea tree oil anywhere on the body and especially if you have sensitive skin like me, this is something I discovered after applying concentrated tea tree oil before bed only to wake up looking like I had fell asleep under a sunbed....not the best of looks as you could imagine!

Undiluted tea tree oil can cause redness, dryness and irritation so I recommend starting with a concentration of 5%. This concentration will be far gentler to your skin and studies have found it to be almost as effective as many over the counter acne products, but with fewer side effects.

I personally would suggest using tea tree oil in a gel form as it is much easier to apply than the oil itself, and a lot less messy too. Certainly one of the best and most popular tea tree oil based gels on the market is Kiss My Face - Tea Tree Gel which not only contains tea tree oil, but also witch hazel, aloe vera, peppermint oil and many other all natural ingredients, all of which are of particular benefit to acne prone skin.

As with all topically applied acne treatments I recommend a patch test in an inconspicuous area, tea tree may be a completely natural product but as different peoples skin reacts in different ways it is better to be safe than sorry. Below is a quick guide on the most effective way to apply tea tree oil (assuming you have done your patch test first! )

Step 1: Gently cleanse your face with a good quality cleanser (preferably a non-soap non-foaming cleanser). The benefits of a non-soap based cleanser mean that it's less likely to dry out your skin even if you have desert dry skin like me. Oh and remember, please do not wash your face more than twice a day..unfortunately you can't wash away acne! After cleansing gently pat your face dry a soft towel.

Step 2: Wait a few minutes for your skin to completely dry and using soft circular motions, gently rub in pea sized amounts of the tea tree oil gel onto the acne prone areas of your face. For example, use a pea sized dollop on one cheek, then the other cheek, and again on your chin etc.. This way you can be sure that each area on you face is well covered, and it makes the gel last just that bit longer (important when you're on a budget).

It's also very important to not to simply spot-treat (no pun intended) your acne, you want to prevent pimples from forming, so give em' hell before they ruin that big job interview!

Please feel free to visit my website at myacneguide.com for more information on how to properly understand and effectively treat your acne.

Thanks for reading guys, James


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