Tea tree oil holds promise as a natural remedy for acne

Acne vulgaris is a devastating condition that primarily begins in adolescence and lasts into young adulthood. Many scientists have devoted a great deal of research to identifying modifiable risk factors for acne and effective treatments for it.

new Antioxidant This study explores the anti-acne properties of tea tree oil (TTO), widely known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

study: Tea Tree Oil: Properties and Treatments for Acne – Review. Image credit: lv-olga / Shutterstock.com


Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory disease that affects nearly 80% of teens. Although acne rarely causes serious illness, it often causes psychosocial distress due to the disfiguring effects and possible scarring of acute acne. As a result, those affected may experience depression, social isolation from unskilled peers, and low self-esteem.

Acne is caused by increased sebum production due to changes in sebum properties, increased hyperkeratosis, and increased acne colonization. Acne bacteria, Staphylococcus aureusand Staphylococcus epidermidiswith inflammation of the perifollicular skin.

In Europe, acne is classified in terms of its pathology and severity as comedones, acne papulopustularis, acne nodularis, and acne nodules.

acne treatment

Several topical agents are currently available for treating acne, among them benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, and retinoids. Retinoids reduce the formation of comedones and sebum, and return skin cell shedding to normal levels.

For mild to moderate cases, benzoyl peroxide can be combined with adapalene or clindamycin. However, a combination of antibiotics and retinoids may be used to treat people with more severe acne. Other options include combining androgen antagonists with topical or systemic treatments.

Despite their potential effectiveness, many of these drugs are associated with certain side effects, including skin irritation and dryness, antibiotic resistance, cost, and poor response. As a result, many patients have turned to natural products such as essential oils and botanical compounds to treat their acne.

What are TTOs?

The origin of TTO is melaleuca alternifolia Chile, an evergreen tree native to Australia. There are six types of TTOs based on their chemical composition, the most notable of which include terpinen-4-ol, 1,8-cineol, and terpinellone.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifies TTOs with a minimum terpinen-4-ol content of 35% and a maximum 1,8-cineol content of 10%, but in the actual market there are 38 % and less than 3% are preferred. , Each. Different traits are observed within each chemotype due to genetic and environmental factors, leaf age and physical damage, harvest time and the presence of artifacts during the distillation process.

Biological effects of TTO

TTO is widely used to treat skin and mouth conditions caused by various infections and parasites. The antibacterial activity of TTO is attributed to its terpinen-4-ol content. However, other components within TTO also contribute to its antibacterial properties by disrupting cell membranes and inhibiting cell respiration.

TTO has been tested for its ability to inhibit biofilm formation and synergy with antibiotics against antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. This property was observed in both liquid and volatile TTO against pathogens such as: Pseudomonas fluorescens and salmonella enterica.

TTO can be cytotoxic to human fibroblasts and, at the safe maximum concentration, has less antiviral activity against herpes simplex than silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). Oleic acid can increase the penetration of TTO into the skin by up to 10-fold when used in a 1:1 ratio.

Nanoformulations, hydrogel-based sheet masks, wound dressings, emulsions, and microemulsions are other formulations of TTO. Another formulation of TTO is Pickering Emulsion. This is more stable due to the presence of solid particles rather than surfactants. TTO Pickering emulsions are safer and more biocompatible than conventional emulsions, making them excellent candidates for wound spray dressings.

Additional delivery methods for TTO include nanoliposomes, nanocapsules loaded with TTO, nanofiber mats loaded with TTO-containing liposomes, esosomes with higher loading capacity than liposomes for lipophilic drugs such as TTO, skin cleansers, and ointments. And so on.

TTO and Acne

Terpenes reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in various cells and may aid TTO’s ability to reduce the effects of acne. Using TTO as a gel has been shown to reduce comedones and total lesions by approximately 40% and reduce acne severity by approximately 50% after use.

TTO induces the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by polymorphonuclear leukocytes and monocytes while scavenging radicals and other oxidant molecules, thus possessing antibacterial activity, thereby simultaneously protecting tissues from oxidative damage. Protect.

TTO seems acceptable. However, some people dislike its strong smell. Allergic reactions can occur when the skin is exposed to oxidized her TTO. Additionally, skin dryness, redness, and shedding are important side effects of topical TTO use.

Some terpenes in TTO are unstable as they can form reactive species during the aging process. Ingestion of pure TTO can also cause disturbance of consciousness.

What is the impact?

Several studies have proven that TTO can effectively reduce acne. However, mechanistic studies are needed.

Using a well-defined group of individuals with acne to conduct more robust studies in several accredited laboratories around the world using common procedures, formulas and objectives is needed.

Reference magazines:

  • Nascimento, T., Gomez, D., Simoes, R., De Graça, Miguel, M. (2023). Tea Tree Oil: Properties and Treatments for Acne – Review. Antioxidant. Doi: 10.3390/antiox12061264.

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