Reducing Inflammation

The best way to get rid of acne is to reduce inflammation. Although doctors used to believe that acne was caused primarily by bacteria, they have recently discovered that bacteria only cause a problem when the skin is inflamed.

When bacteria get trapped in a pore, they multiply and create an infection, but how do they get trapped in a pore? Inflammation. If the skin were never inflamed, bacteria would rarely make their way beneath the skin’s surface, and pimples would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, everything from stress to genetics can cause inflammation. It’s unavoidable, but there are ways to reduce it. One reason tea tree oil for acne works is because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

When diluted and applied to the skin, tea tree oil can help reduce current inflammation and prevent inflammation in the future. Once acne has formed, the body sees it as a wound or infection, and tries to kill the bacteria and heal the wound. The inflammation response is one way the body keeps wounds safe from further infection: the skin swells slightly around the infected area, keeping any additional irritants or bacteria out. This is why pimples often become enlarged and painful.

Tea tree oil stimulates the immune system to promote wound healing. Once the wound is healed, the inflammation response is no longer necessary and the skin returns to normal. This helps get rid of pimples fast, and applying it consistently can help prevent them as well. Keeping the skin healthy and non-inflamed can keep bacteria from getting trapped in the pores so pimples never have a chance to form.

Fighting Bacteria

A specific kind of bacteria called p. acnes is one of the biggest causes of acne. These bacteria always live on the surface of the skin, and sometimes they even benefit the skin. P. acnes use the oils naturally produced by the skin as a food source, so a healthy amount of p. acnes bacteria could actually help prevent oil buildup and clogged pores. The problem is, sometimes they can get trapped in the pores. When this happens, they multiply rapidly and cause a minor infection, leading to pimples, or even cysts.

Although inflammation and other factors play a major role in pimple formation, reducing p. acnes bacteria is still a good way to help prevent pimples. If the skin becomes inflamed but there are limited bacteria to get trapped, any resulting infection will likely be much milder. Tea tree oil helps prevent inflammation, but it also kills p. acnes, so if and when the skin does become inflamed, there are fewer bacteria to generate pimples.

Unlike antibiotics, which can only be used for 3 months to avoid antibiotic resistance (the creation of bacteria that can’t be killed by antibiotics), tea tree oil can be used indefinitely, and it kills 99% of p. acnes bacteria. This means it doesn’t just fight pimples that are already there, it reduces the overall amount of bacteria to actively prevent pimples.

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Cleansing Pores 

Because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil is especially effective in treating pimples and cysts. But what about tea tree oil and blackheads?

Blackheads form when oil produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands combines with dead skin cells to clog a pore. Contrary to popular myth, blackheads are not caused by dirt. They are actually the same as whiteheads, except whiteheads are closed pores while blackheads are open pores. This openness is what causes a blackhead’s dark color. The air oxidizes the oil and dead skin cells, similar to how an apple browns after cutting into it and leaving it on the counter. Even the cleanest people have blackheads, and scrubbing does not remove them; if anything, scrubbing the skin may cause further issues since it can irritate the skin and lead to inflammation.

Tea tree oil is a better way to remove blackheads. Because it is a solvent, it can break up the oil and dead skin cells that clog pores. Solvents are substances that help dissolve something; for example, water is a solvent that dissolves everything from sugar to carbon dioxide. Tea tree oil isn’t quite as versatile, but it works well for breaking apart the clogs that cause blackheads.

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