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5 Tea Tree Oil Benefits That'll Give Your Skin Life


From skincare to scalp health and beyond, tea tree oil is the ingredient to have on your radar thanks to its countless benefits. While it’s super buzzy at the moment, tea tree oil (extracted from the leaves of the Australian melaleuca alternifolia plant) has been used by indigenous groups in Australia for centuries. They extracted the oil by crushing tea tree leaves and used it to soothe cough and cold symptoms, and to help heal skin. What can it do for you? We chatted with NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, Dendy Engleman, MD about tea tree oil benefits and why it’s your new go-to for happy, healthy skin.

1. It Fight Breakouts

The most frustrating thing about breakouts? It’s not just the acne that needs treating—redness, inflammation, and more breakouts often come with the territory. Good news: Tea tree oil can target all of the above. “Tea tree oil stops acne-causing bacteria from spreading,” says Dr. Engleman. “It’s packed with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. This means it can help treat breakouts or prevent them in the first place, and help soothe the redness and irritation that comes with them.” 


2. It Balance Oiliness

Tea tree oil is suitable for all skin types, but if you’re experiencing oiliness, it’s especially great for you. One tea tree oil benefit we love is its ability to control sebum production without stripping your skin of its natural oils (which can make your skin even more oily). Cleansing with tea tree oil is an easy way to introduce it into your routine. “Using a cleanser with tea tree oil will dry excess oils, and also help kill bacteria and shed dead skin cells,” says Dr. Engleman. 


3. It Heals Your Skin

Cuts and scrapes happen—but next time you reach for a band-aid, consider dabbing some tea tree oil on first. “Tea tree contains an antimicrobial compound called terpinen-4-ol, which is proven to increase white blood cell count,” says Dr. Engleman. “These cells help fight infection and therefore help in healing skin.” Tea tree oil is also a powerful antiseptic, so it’s great for cleaning cuts and for soothing itchiness that happens when they’re healing. 


4. It Boosts Scalp & Hair Health

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. “Your scalp skin carries nutrients to your hair follicles that support hair growth, moisturize your scalp, and distribute oxygen to cells,” says Dr. Engleman. Experiencing dryness, itchiness, dandruff, or flakes? “Treating your scalp with tea tree oil helps break down buildup and reduce dandruff,” she says. Try a shampoo made with tea tree oil or mix a few drops into your own. If your scalp’s clear, comfy, and happy, your hair will be too.


5. It’s a DIY Hand Sanitizer

We hardly leave home without our mini hand sanitizer—but alcohol-based ones can be drying and often have a chemical-like scent. Because of its antimicrobial effects, tea tree oil makes a great natural, chemical-free hand sanitizer. Just rub a drop or two onto your hands to keep germs away.

Where to Find Tea Tree Oil

You’ll find everything from moisturizers to shampoos with tea tree oil benefits. If you’re looking for two easy ways to work it into your routine, we suggest:

AROMATICA Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser

AROMATICA Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser uses tea tree oil to remove dirt and makeup without stripping away moisture. Plus, it helps fight acne and soothe stressed out skin.

ESSENHERB Tea Tree 90 Toner Pad

Follow up with ESSENHERB Tea Tree 90 Toner Pad. These cotton pads are soaked in 90% tea tree oil—swipe them on to gently exfoliate, control oil production, treat and prevent acne, calm inflammation, and soothe sensitive skin.

Has tea tree oil helped your skin? Let us know how @IPSY #IPSYCleanSlate

About the author
Pia Bhattacharya
Pia is a New York-based beauty editor at IPSY with over 10 years experience including editorial, public relations, and copywriting. Her work has appeared in SELF magazine, in beauty and branding for Bloomingdale’s, and others.
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Article Last Updated December 27, 2019 12:00 AM