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How I Used Tea Tree Oil to Treat My Acne

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The one oil that completely fixed my acne

Acne sucks. Yes, it’s a harsh reality of life when you’re in middle school, but when those zits follow you into adulthood? That’s just freaking unfair, especially when virtually everything in the skin care aisle seems to burn the hell out of your skin without actually killing the acne, which is exactly what was happening to me. So, as a wellness-junkie who hates resorting to prescription treatments, I made it my mission to discover a natural solution that I wouldn’t hate putting on my face. And after some deep internet searching and experimenting, I found my current go-to product for not just acne, but all skin issues: tea tree oil.

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OK, yes, you’ve most definitely heard of tea tree oil before, but I’m not talking about it in a granola-eating, eco-friendly way. I’m telling you this stuff really works — it totally cleared up my worst breakouts when no other product could — and it has the research to prove it. Studies show that tea tree oil is just as effective at treating acne as benzoyl peroxide (one of the most common acne-fighting ingredients), but with way fewer side effects, like burning, itching, peeling and irritation. Plus, it’s all-natural, squeezed right from the leaves of a tree, so you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin. “Tea tree oil may help kill some of the bacteria on the skin that cause inflammation and acne breakouts,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “It can be used as a spot treatment or as a full face treatment to both eliminate the pimples that you have and also help prevent new ones from popping up.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean you want to douse your face in pure, 100 percent tea tree oil — this stuff is potent, so use the pure, concentrated stuff as a nightly spot-treatment only. And if your skin is super-sensitive or you have too many zits to spot-treat every night, try using a product with tea tree oil as its main ingredient, like a lotion or face mask. Yes, these magical products exist, and yes, I’ve rounded them up for you below. Regardless of the product you decide on, though, be prepared to fall in love with tea tree oil. It’s pretty dreamy.

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: ImaxTree

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If you want to spot-treat your zits...

Desert Essence organic tea tree oil (Desert Essence, $9.99)

If you have breakouts on your face and body...

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Desert Essence

Desert Essence tea tree oil cleansing pads (Desert Essence, $7.99)

If you have acne-prone skin that's super-dry...

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Derma E

Derma E Tea Tree and Vitamin E Antiseptic Cream (Derma E, $14.95)

If you have a sudden breakout that needs to calm down...

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Ulta

Tony Moly I'm Real tea tree mask (Ulta, $3.75)

If you have acne-prone skin that's super-oily...

The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion (The Body Shop, $11.60)

If you have acne-prone skin that's somewhat sensitive...

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Lush

Lush Tea Tree Water in 8.4 fluid ounces (Lush, $22.95)

If you need to spot-treat your sensitive skin...

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Burt's Bees

Burt's Bees Herbal Complexion Stick (Burt's Bees, $8)

If you have breakouts on your back or butt...

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Walgreens

Dr. Bronner's All-One Hemp Pure Castile tea tree bar soap (Walgreens, $4.29)

If you have acne-prone skin that hates spot treatments...

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Organic Doctor

Organic Doctor Tea Tree Face Wash (Organic Doctor, $15.99)

The one oil that completely fixed my acne
Image: Yvonna Groom/Sheknows

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

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