Tea Tree Oil Is the Acne-Fighting Ingredient That Won’t Let You Down

There are plenty of options when it comes to ingredients that treat and prevent breakouts, from salicylic acid to sulfur. There will always be a new formulation that claims to be the best. As good as some of them may be, they often don’t completely replace tried-and-true favorites. A perfect example is tea tree oil, which has remained a popular natural solution to fight breakouts.

Dr. Robb Akridge says that tea tree is a small tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) native to Australia. Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves that are crushed to extract the oil. (In contrast, black and green teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant.)

Most of us associate tea tree oil with its acne- and grease-fighting capabilities. Susan Griffin-Black, co-CEO of EO Products, says the ingredient is excellent for these skin types because of the way it treats, tones and balances skin. Akridge adds that the ingredient can actually be used on a variety of skin types from dry to oily, depending on the formulation. “Tea tree oil is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties because it soothes the skin and can even be used on mildly irritated skin.” It can also be applied to cuts and to heal infections.

What’s more, Meghan Markle reportedly “cannot live without” tea tree oil, according to an Allure interview from 2014. If the Duchess of Sussex considers it a “cure-all,” surely the budget-friendly oil is good enough for us commoners.

Here are 13 tea tree oil skin care products that fight acne and oil.