I haven’t written a post in a while as I had a very intense period of stress in my life, having switched jobs twice in 6 months. To be honest I had not much motivation or energy besides tending to my basic bodily functions and needs.
In a previous post I have mentioned stress as a trigger for my rosacea and my face got worse during this period of time. However in today’s post I wanted to mention another issue that gets worse with stress and has been present in my life: acne.
Since July this year, up to beginning of November, the enormous stress I was under in the new job, made my face flare up pretty ugly. I am not the kind of person who willingly takes a picture of her face when she feels the worst, so you will have to excuse me for not doing so. But I thought that this is actually a very good opportunity to continue with my oils in skincare series. In this post I’m going to talk about tea tree oil.
This plant is native to Queensland, Australia and it has been used by the aboriginals for a very long time treating a number of issues. In this post I want to talk mainly about the skin benefits and how it has changed my acne game.
Tea tree oil is an anti fungal, anti bacterial, antiseptic, anti viral and anti inflammatory wonder. It has the ability to kill bacteria and also some viruses and that is down to the terpinen 4-ol compound that it contains. It is one of the few essential oils that you can use undiluted on the skin. I have been using it to treat and prevent acne for ages.
Before you use tea tree oil, you need to know that although it is a natural product, it can irritate the skin. Never put tea tree oil on rosacea affected areas. I use it on active spots and areas where I feel a spot coming out such as my forehead, chin and the jaw line. If you have got sensitive skin then it is advisable to dilute it with a carrier oil such as jojoba, wheatgerm or almond oil. I have never diluted it and have not had any problems whatsoever but this might not be the case for everyone, so be careful.
My personal experience with tea tree oil has been absolutely fantastic. I use it on a thin cotton square (those you can get in Asia, as those don’t soak up the majority of the product like traditional cotton pads) and wipe my whole back with it as I also suffer with “bacne”. It takes care of it better than any concoction or ready made spray that you can buy. But if you are afraid of using it undiluted then just put some water in an empty spray bottle and add a a few drops of tea tree oil to it. Shake it up and spray liberally. Avoid spraying into your eyes though. Another way I use it is on active spots. I dunk an ear cleaning bud into the oil (just make sure you don’t dunk the same end back after you touched your skin with it) and apply directly on the spot. It reduces spots in as little as one day but this depends on the type of spot and of course on the person. I have not tried or used anything else that came even remotely close to tea tree oil’s ability to heal spots. If I have a back full of pimples then I use this method of wiping with the cotton square and within a week my back completely clears up. It’s important to know that I have never had cystic acne and I can’t comment on how well this would bring them out or heal them up. I’ve only ever had the bog standard spots that come to a yellow head.
Another cosmetic use of tea tree oil that I incorporated into my beauty routine is a hair mask. It treats dandruff and minor itchy scalp very well. It does not however treat majorly itchy scalp as I have come to learn. I’m convinced that I have a bit of scalp eczema close to my hair line in the front and it calmed it a little but have not made it go away completely. The hair mask I use is made up of coconut oil, jojoba oil, 3-4 drops of rosemary oil and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. I put this on my scalp and the remaining on the lengths of my hair and leave it on for 2+ hours. I makes your scalp feel really fresh and clean. Using this regularly (at least once a month) has cleared my minor dandruff up in a few months. If you want quicker results you can use it every week, but I try not to as my scalp is oily and doing the coconut mask once a month is plenty for me.
There are of course a ton of other uses for tea tree that would be too long to list here. Lastly I would like to mention that it is a great odor neutralizer. I have made a room spray out of water in a spray bottle, 5-6 drops of tea tree oil and 5-6 drops of rosemary essential oil. My flatmate smokes and even though she takes it outside, I can still smell it inside the house. It makes the cigarette smoke disappear very quickly. No need for fancy air fresheners that are full of who knows what chemicals.
I know that a lot of people might not like the smell of tea tree oil or they might be afraid of damaging their skin, but I urge you to try this method if you have spots. As long as you exercise caution it is safe to use.
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