(NaturalNews) If you`re an acne sufferer, then you know the frustration of searching for an acne product that actually helps your skin. Chances are you`ve tried everything on the market and were left less than satisfied (and with a much lighter wallet!). The mainstream commercial products you`ve tried may work for a while, but the harsh chemicals in these products tend to make skin worse over time. Tea tree oil offers an alternative remedy for acne, and more than one study has demonstrated its effectiveness.
One study at the Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia revealed tea tree oil`s ability to perform just as well as a common over-the-counter acne treatment, without the side effects. Researchers wrote:
"We have performed a single-blind, randomised clinical trial on 124 patients to evaluate the efficacy and skin tolerance of 5% tea-tree oil gel in the treatment of mild to moderate acne when compared with 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion. The results of this study showed that both 5% tea-tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide had a significant effect in ameliorating the patients` acne by reducing the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions (open and closed comedones), although the onset of action in the case of tea-tree oil was slower. Encouragingly, fewer side effects were experienced by patients treated with tea-tree oil."
Although the tea tree oil took longer to work initially, there were fewer side effects. In the benzoyl peroxide group, 79 percent of people had side effects including itching, stinging, burning, and dryness. Researchers noted that there were far less side effects in the tea tree oil group.
Another study from the University of Maryland Medical Center tested tea tree oil against benzoyl peroxide. The study included 119 people with mild-to-moderate acne, and tea tree oil proved its worth once again. While the acne in both the tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide group improved, those using tea tree oil reported far less side effects.
Tea tree oil will be kinder to your face than most other commercial treatments. The trick may be in learning how to apply it correctly:
- Test your sensitivity first by applying a couple drops of tea tree oil to the inside of your forearm with a cotton swab. If there is no burning, rash or irritation after two hours you can try a facial treatment.
- If there was some irritation you could still use the tea tree oil, but in a diluted form: five drops tea tree oil with five drops water (or a 50 percent dilution). Retest until you find a dilution that works for you.
- Gently wash your face and then saturate your cotton swab with your tea tree oil solution. Apply this directly to your problem area, and leave it (no rinsing). Do this once in the morning and once at night.
- Once a day you can use an astringent rinse on your face (four drops tea tree oil into one cup of dechlorinated water.)
- Once a week use a healing facial mask by whisking 4 drops of tea tree oil into an egg white. Leave this on your skin for fifteen minutes and then rinse with lukewarm, dechlorinated water.
If any of these steps result in worsening or irritation, discontinue immediately. Also, be sure your tea tree oil is one hundred percent pure because additives might be the cause of an adverse reaction.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...