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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Tania Leslau

Best tea tree oils tried and tested, and the benefits explained

Tea tree oil has a long history that predates its reputation as a buzz-about blemish-busting ingredient.

The ever-popular oil is derived from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia and has been used in Aboriginal Australian culture as a traditional medicine for centuries. Nowadays, it’s mainly used within the beauty sphere, selected for its antibacterial properties to combat breakouts.

According to a 2006 report, tea tree oil vapours have been demonstrated to inhibit fungal growth and have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In a more recent 2017 study, it was concluded that tea tree oil can ‘significantly improve’ mild to moderate acne with no major side effects. The proof is in the pudding. 

Many skincare brands also claim that tea tree oil promotes a healthy glow, hydrates dry skin and soothes skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis - although it’s advised that those suffering from skin conditions should check with their doctor first before using. It may even deter bugs from biting. 

Tea tree is also used in aromatherapy. Clinical Aromatherapist Claire Blackie elaborates on the benefits of the hero product: “Tea tree has been clinically proven to be a powerful natural antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and insecticide. In aromatherapy, we have many uses for tea tree oil. On the skin, it can be beneficial for acne, athlete's foot, blisters, insect bites and wounds. It can be useful in respiratory conditions like coughs, sinusitis and bronchitis. It can also be beneficial for thrush and cystitis and is a natural insect repellent.”

How should I apply tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil comes in a variety of forms, the main one being as an essential oil and incorporated into skincare products. Brands from Neal’s Yard to The Body Shop infuse the nourishing ingredient into their best-selling products. Frequency of use depends on the type of product you buy, however, for essential oils, there is a standard modus operandi for regular use. 

  1. Before incorporating tea tree oil into your skincare routine, be sure to carry out a patch test to ensure no irritation occurs. If any redness, itchiness or swelling occurs, stop using it.
  2. Cleanse your face and ensure your skin is clean and makeup-free before use. Use your serum after cleaning if this is part of your routine.
  3. Mix one to two drops of the tea tree oil with your everyday facial oil, but be careful not to apply too much when slathering it on
  4. Using a cotton pad, earbuds or your fingers (if they are clean) apply the tea tree oil to blemished areas on your face and allow the oil to dry. 
  5. Repeat morning and night.

What should I look for in tea tree oil? 

There are many tea tree oils online to browse, so the choice can be somewhat overwhelming. It’s advised that you look for 100 per cent tea tree oil and ensure your pick is the purest available.

So, without further ado, we present to you the best tea tree oils to add to your holistic skincare arsenal.

Shop now

Tisserand Tea Tree Organic Pure Essential Oil 9ml

Tisserand is our go-to for all things essential oil. From lavender to tea tree, the brand produces the crème de la crème of aromatherapy products. Blend yours with rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus or lavender.

Buy now £8.00, Holland and Barrett

Neal’s Yard Tea Tree Organic Essential Oil 10ml

Incorporate a new tea tree oil into your skincare routine with a helping hand from Neal’s Yard. The all-natural, pure product is one of the brand’s top ten best-selling aromatherapy oils and offers a soothing, reinvigorating product to use in aromatherapy sessions at home.

Buy now £11.00, Neal’s Yard

Dr Organic Tea Tree Pure Oil 10ml

Alcohol-free, vegan, natural and organic (hence the brand’s name), Dr Organic’s tea tree oil is a sound choice. Melaleuca alternifolia oil (aka the fancy name for tea tree essence) is the key ingredient, meaning your skin is set for some serious radiance after use.

Buy now £7.99, Holland and Barrett

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil 20 ml

Double the price but double the quantity, this tea tree oil from The Body Shop is a firm favourite among shoppers. Tea tree is the sole ingredient, ensuring a pure pick for any searching shopper.

Buy now £19.47, Amazon

Nikura Pure Australian Tea Tree Essential Oil

Nikura’s Pure Australian Tea Tree Essential Oil has many uses. Apply it from your face to your feet and not only should it combat skin blemishes, but the oil can be used to strengthen hair and heal fresh piercings.

Buy now £4.95, Amazon

Boots Tea Tree Oil 10ml

One word to ruin a day. Lice. Head lice are a highly unfortunate yet inevitable part of childhood, sending parents into a spin year in, year out. If your child comes home with some uninvited guests inhabiting their hair, coat their locks in tea tree oil. Boots’ rendition is an affordable option, so bulk buy and start smothering those strands.

Buy now £5.00, Boots

JASON Purifying Organic Tea Tree Oil 30ml

Offering a mid-range size of 30ml. JASON’s Purifying Organic Tea Tree Oil is an anti-abrasion, antiseptic must-have for clumsy customers. To use, gently dab onto the skin and let it work its magic. Dilute with witch hazel or vegetable oil for sensitive skin.

Buy now £12.99, lookfantastic

HerbOrganic Anti-bacterial Tea Tree Oil 100 ml

A whopping 100mls for a tenner? Add to bag. HerbOrganic’s tea tree oil boasts antibacterial properties to help heal cuts, reduce redness and tackle acne. This particular pick is extracted directly from the source itself and features no preservatives or harsh chemical blends. Suitable for all skin types, HerbOrganic’s oil ticks all the beauty boxes.

Buy now £9.99, Amazon

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