8 Tea Tree Oil Products That Fight Acne, Inflammation & An Itchy Scalp


Chances are if you’ve experienced acne or even the occasional breakout, you’ve purchased a product with tea tree oil in it to clear things up. The natural, essential oil is derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia plant and works wonders for irritated AF skin, thanks to its ability to calm and correct.

“Tea tree oil has long been used for a variety of skin issues, from wound care to soothing irritation,” explains board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Modern Dermatology, Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson. “It’s perhaps most well known as a natural treatment for active acne though, since acne has both bacterial and inflammatory components, but it’s also found in anti-fungal products (I.e. nail and foot).”

Tea tree oil comes in many forms (think cleansers and toners, medicated lotions and oils, and haircare products), but before we play favorites, let’s take a second to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about tea tree oil.

What are the benefits of tea tree oil?

According to Kate Somerville, celebrity esthetician extraordinaire and founder of Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts, tea tree oil can be used in scalp treatments, and even as a hand sanitizer (which we could all use more of 24/7), in addition to acne treatments.

“Tea tree oil has amazing antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Somerville. “It’s known to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, making it effective in acne treatments like our EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment and we also utilize a Tea Tree Jelly Mask at the Kate Somerville Clinic after extractions, for its antimicrobial benefits.”

Can I leave tea tree oil on my face overnight?

Somerville would say this is a no no. “At home, you should never apply tea tree oil directly onto the skin. You can dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil – such as coconut oil – for skin application (if you have normal skin and needing antiseptic properties), but I do not recommend doing this if you have acne-prone skin.”

Does tea tree oil remove dark spots?

Tea tree oil can be used to help with the healing of minor acne scars, but Somerville still recommends Vitamin C to target dark spots or pigmentation.

Is tea tree oil good for the scalp?

“Tea tree oil’s anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties are great for removing product build-up and chemical residue,” says Leigh Hardges, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “When massaged into the scalp it helps to clean out follicles, which aids in hair growth.”

And if you’re rocking extensions, tea tree oil is great for those too! Hardges suggests DIY’ing your own leave-in product by mixing one part tea tree oil to 20 parts water. “The oil is very strong, so using this solution will help clear dead skin and dandruff build-up and help keep fungus at bay,” she adds.

Essential oils are very powerful – one of the reasons they’re so controversial – but when diluted and formulated in well-balanced products, they really can work wonders to treat specific skin concerns. As always, when testing new products, try doing a test patch first to see how your skin reacts.

Tea Tree Oil Hair & Skin Products We Love:

Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots, $32

These transparent pimple patches are our favorite way to treat pesky zits incognito. Infused with hyaluronic acid, volcanic ash, tea tree oil, and 0.5% salicylic acid, they clear up current blemishes and prevent new ones from forming, without over-drying.

Yes To Naturals Tea Tree & Sage Oil Scalp Relief Shampoo, $8

Dealing with an itchy scalp? Dr. Robinson is a mega-fan of this pH-balanced shampoo and so are we, because it’s comprised of 97% natural ingredients to soothe and calm while still preventing dandruff.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, $80

Betcha didn’t know Sunday Riley’s medicated dry oil with a cult following was powered by tea tree oil! It is, along with 1.5 percent salicylic acid for oily to acne-prone skin. The multitasker does it all: decongests pores, banishes blackheads, and naturally brightens old scars.

OGX Extra Refreshing Scalp + Teatree Mint Collection, $7 to $11

Formulated with tea tree oil, peppermint extract, and witch hazel, OGX’s trio (shampoo, conditioner and scalp restoring oil) intensely cleanse and rebalance the scalp. They also smell divine.

Dr. Jart+ Dermask Micro Jet Clearing Solution, $9

This sheet mask in a ‘Clearing Solution’ pill pouch is witty to say the least, but it also works. We like Dr. Jart’s ultra-fine Dermask because it zaps T-zone shine and minimizes redness. Hyperpigmentation is even tackled, thanks to glutathione.

Shea Moisture 100% Pure Oil Tea Tree Oil + Premium Blend, $7

Spritz on this stimulating essential oil mix for head-to-toe clarifying wherever you need it most: scalp, hair, or skin.

Kate Somerville EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment, $58

We already mentioned the efficacy behind Kate’s all-over, 2% salicylic acid nighttime lotion, but another reason we’re obsessed is because it contains all-mighty retinol to plump up fine lines.

Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel, $29

Apply Biossance’s tea tree oil gel cleanser when you want to nix excess surface oil and get your pores in check. Plant-derived squalane will keep your face feeling (and looking) baby soft afterward.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. We never take payment to review products, however, some brands allow affiliate links, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.