Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cheap and Natural: Tea Tree Oil for Acne

I know that benzoyl peroxide spots treatment are the industry standard for acne (things like Persagel, etc.), but for some reason they do nothing for me except bleach my pillowcases. Not only do they not get rid of zits, they don't even stop them from getting worse. I've tried a bunch of different brands.

If you have the same problem, you might want to give tea tree oil a try. It works wonders for me. Sometimes I can feel one of those great big subsurface pimples brewing, and if I get to it fast enough with the tea tree oil, it'll halt it in its tracks (mixed metaphors? whatever). And in the meantime it doesn't get any worse. It just gives up and fades away. So you can imagine that it also does well with more run of the mill crap. It also sort of dries up and heals the surface of gross oozing ones, so that I can put on my makeup or whatever without it being nasty.

Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties, so in principle it should work the same as benzoyl peroxide. But skin is weird, and everyone's responds differently to different things. I use this 100% tea tree oil, and just dip a Q-tip in it and dab it on the spots that need it once or twice a day. It has a strong medicinal smell, kind of like menthol or eucalyptus, but I don't mind it too much. Be careful if you have a zit too near your mouth and you use this, because it tends to migrate and tastes kind of nasty. Minor unpleasantness if you find it works for you, though. I've been using my bottle for about 4 months now, and I haven't even got through a 6th of it, so it's definitely cost effective at around $9 a bottle. I'd suggest making sure what you're buying is 100% tea tree oil, though, because otherwise it might not have enough potency to get the job done (for instance, this one from The Body Shop lists water and alcohol as the first ingredients. No.).

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