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Tea Tree Vs. Willow Bark on Acne

Updated on July 23, 2019

Two Natural Remedies for Acne - Who is the Clear Winner!

-Tea Tree Oil -

It has been my experience that the most effective treatment for acne is tea tree oil, and I have noticed this essential oil is also used to remove acne scars. The oil has antibacterial properties in it that help to combat acne and its scars. You should apply tea tree oil directly but sparingly on the acne using a cotton tip or ball. It dissolves all oily matter and prevents it from building up around the sebaceous glands.

In laypersons terms, the sebaceous glands are small pockets on the skin that produce oil. A large number of these are located on the face, upper back, chest, and shoulders. The production is for a good cause though, to lubricate and protect the skin from drying out, so we need some of the oils. It is when the glandular pockets become overactive and pump out too much oil that starts to cause the issues.

Tea tree oil is like a solvent to the oil, in and around these pockets, this is the action that is working on the clearing the skin. Tea tree oil is perfect for keeping the skin soft, youthful and supple looking.

How I used the oil.

I had to apply it frequently, but as soon as I saw results, I started to decrease the number of applications to about twice a week.

Tea tree oil can also help to soothe the itchiness, burning, and redness that often comes along with acne.

-Willow Bark-

Salicylic acid from the willow bark extract did break up the oil that clogged the pores of my skin and prevented more acne from forming. I did apply the extract for about one week before seeing any results. I have read stories that it worked overnight, but that did not happen to me. It took a little time.

What The Label Should Say

I look for tea tree oil products that are pharmaceutical grade. This is my favorite product right now Tea Tree Oil 4 Ounce bottle. Pharmaceutical Grade Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil because of the grading, and it has a container with a dropper. Having a dropper handy makes it easy to make sugar or facial scrubs and toners. See our simple recipes and videos below to create your own at home beauty products, for way less than half the price.

Also check to see what other ingredients have been added such as water, glycerin, alcohol, menthol. These are used as a fragrance, a cooling agent, or added as colorings also. It's very common to add other oils and herbs, and that's alright just be sure to check the labels.

Tea tree oil is a pale yellow and has a distinct fragrance of camphor. There are plenty more health benefits that the oil has to offer. It can be used in the treatment of fungal infections, athlete's foot, dandruff, and acne. In fact, tea tree oil is so effective that merely smelling the essential oils from freshly crushed leaves has been known to cure colds.

How to Apply the Oil

There are many ways to apply tea tree oil. You are supposed to use it directly on the acne, but make sure that it is a small amount.

You can also mix it with carrier oils like coconut oil or olive oil, and apply this on your skin. Tea tree oil cannot be used directly on cystic acne; this is the painful acne that develops under the skin.

There are many manufactured facial washes, lotions, face packs, and other topical medications with tea tree oil in them.

Some fans of the oil say for lasting results, you should probably consider using only the essential oil. Tea tree oil is the most effective when it is used an essential oil; this is because it is just pure oil that has been extracted from the tree itself.

Honey and Tea Tree Oil Homemade Facial Mask

This treatment is an easy homemade face mask and can be used for spot pimple treatment. It is gentle on the skin and easy to make with readily available products. The instructions are below along with a how to video.

Honey and Tea Tree Oil Mask

  1. Wash and dry the area you are going to apply the mask. I have used it on my face, but you can use it on other areas also.
  2. You will need a small bowl to prepare the mixture, I found that glass was the best for scooping the mixture out of and the easiest to clean, but anything will do, don't worry to much about it.
  3. Squeeze in about 1 teaspoon of honey. I just use a regular small serving spoon.
  4. Drop in 3- 5 drops of the oil. Use less drops (3) if you have sensitive skin.
  5. Mix well; it takes a few seconds to get the oil and honey to combine.
  6. Apply the mixture to the washed area and wait 15 to 20 minutes. It will feel sticky but not dry.
  7. Wash off with a facial cleanser. You do not need to use a harsh soap. The product will wash off easily.

Easy and I really love this mask! Please watch the video below for a live demonstration.

DIY Natural Tea Tree Oil Toner

Store bought toners can contain harsh chemicals that can leave your skin feeling dry. An easy, inexpensive (cheap!) way to make your toner at home with readily available grocery store ingredients is as follows.

This recipe will make 3 ounces. I would recommend small batches to keep it fresh. It will depend if you are just using it on your face, or chest and back, how long it will last.

I found an easy way to measure is buy a 3 oz empty travel size container. Look at the dollar store or variety store.

  • Put in 1 and ½ ounces water.
  • Add 1 and ½ ounces apple cider vinegar.
  • Drop in 5 drops of tea tree oil.
  • Shake well, apply with a cotton ball, and let dry.

It’s super easy, cheap, smells fantastic and best of all it works.

Dilute Tea Tree Oil For Acne
Dilute Tea Tree Oil For Acne | Source

How To Dilute Tea Tree Oil For Acne

Sometimes applying tea tree oil directly to a pimple might be harsh on sensitive skin. A useful alternative is to dilute the oil. There are several ways you can do it.

- Brand moisturizers. Add one or two drops to your store bought moisturizer. Mix the two in the palm of your hand and blend into the face. You may find one drop is just enough and barely noticeable once it is absorbed.

- Willow bark tincture. Add one to four drops of the tea tree oil to willow bark tincture.

DIY Willow Bark Tea Tincture Recipe

1 cup water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

10 drops willow bark tincture (video below on DIY willow bark tincture)

Any container will work. Combine ingredients and shake well. Apply with a cotton ball

Mango Butter with Tea Tree Oil for Acne
Mango Butter with Tea Tree Oil for Acne | Source

- Mango butter. Mango butter and tea tree oil blend smoothly together. The butter has protective properties, and mango butter by itself is used to heal and hydrate the skin. Mango is high in vitamin A, C, and anti-oxidants. Mix one to four drops of tea tree oil, depending on how oily you want the mixture, to a dollop of mango butter.

It is possible to make your own cream. You crack open the mango seed and remove the pod. Dry it and grind it with a coffee grinder. After the ground seed dries you can add oils. I buy mango butter because the product is clean and pure. It keeps for a long time. I do not know how long homemade mango butter cream stays fresh for. This cream is made from raw mangos, which helps retain the vitamins. Plus, I don't have to go through the process of making it. This cream does not have a strong fruity odor.

- Jojoba oil. Add one to four drops of tea tree oil into five drops jojoba oil and store it in the refrigerator. It will last several days.

Jojoba oil is a natural moisturizer. Many people who suffer from acne use jojoba to purge the skin. Mixing it with tea tree oil will give you more bacteria-fighting power. Watch jojoba oil purge explanation video below.

- Aloe vera. Tea tree oil and aloe vera combined make a soothing lotion. I just mix it in my palm with a scoop of aloe and a drop or two of tea tree oil. Mix well and rub in. The aloe is cooling and leaves a nice, tight tingling feeling on the skin.

Coconut Oil and Tea Tree Oil for Acne
Coconut Oil and Tea Tree Oil for Acne | Source

-Coconut Oil. To mix coconut oil with tea tree oil put one tablespoon of coconut oil in a container. A glass container is easier to wash out when you are finished, but it is not necessary. Add only one or two drops of tea tree oil. The mixture is very oily, and it works best for spot treatments. It is too greasy to wear under makeup.

-Baking soda. Wet your face first. In your palm pour a small amount of baking soda add two to four drops of tea tree oil. It will make a paste. Rub gently on your skin. The baking soda will breakdown and act like a soft scrub. If you have sensitive skin, go easy on the scrubbing. It reveals a nice, fresh glow.

- Shea butter. Blend two tablespoons of shea butter with seven to ten drops of tea tree oil in a container. Wash affected area then apply the cream. It is moisturizing also.

What is Willow Bark?

The bark is harvested from willow trees, European willows, and the white willow tree. Native to the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa this tree also gives us medicines for fevers and various other diseases. Salicylic acid from the willow bark extracts comes from salicin which metabolizes in the human liver and becomes salicylic acid which further metabolizes into aspirin giving willow bark extracts the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.You can also treat acne with the bark.

Willow bark extracts use aloe or other oils as a base, it can be applied directly in minimal quantities. If used excessively it will cause a burning sensation and irritate the skin. If your skin can tolerate it, use the willow bark extracts every day until the visible signs of acne are gone.

Manufacturers combinewillow bark extract in facial creams, lotions, and washes because the extract contains salicylic acid, which helps reduce acne. These combination products can be gentler on the skin. A popular brand is Burt's Bees but I like this lesser known brand called Wild Soap. It's a Black Willow, Organic Bar Soap for Acne with Charcoal it's different because it has the added benefit of the charcoal, which draws out and absorbs oil. Something different.

Forms of Willow Bark

Willow bark is available in capsules, powder, tinctures, extracts, dry bark and liquid. For these recipes you will use the bark to make toner and the powder. You can purchase the powder in packages or use the capsules and open them. Either way has worked successfully.

DIY Willow Bark Tea Astringent

This astringent clears and tightens pores. I've tasted the tea. It's okay, but I prefer to put it on my face! To make the astringent, you will need the actual bark. I was able to find it at our local health food store in the bulk section. You won't need very much to try it.

  • Take one heaping tablespoon of the bark and add it to one cup of boiling water.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Let it cool and strain the tea through a coffee filter or strainer.
  • At this point, you can dab it on your face.
  • If it is too drying, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil. You'll be getting a double dose of treatment.

You do not have to refrigerate. If you end up going through the solution pretty fast because you are applying it to your chest and back, you can make two or three cups next time. I've never seen it spoil, and I don't know when it loses or if it loses its potency over time. But I usually make a new batch every week or so.

Willow Bark and Honey Mask DIY
Willow Bark and Honey Mask DIY | Source

DIY Willow Bark and Honey Mask

Here is another simple recipe for a cleansing mask. You'll need capsules of two to three capsules of willow bark and one teaspoon or so of honey. If you are using powder, use one to two teaspoons. The capsules, powder, and honey where at my local health food store.

Open the capsules or scoop in the powder and stir into the honey. Apply to your face. It will remain sticky. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Wash off with warm water. The honey will keep you skin soft. If you use soap, it may dry your skin out a little. You may want to try both and see what works best with your skin type. It's easy, inexpensive, and it works.

Have You Ever Tried These Natural Products to Treat Your Skin?

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Are you a Tea Tree or Willow Bark Believer?

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    • qikey1 lm profile image

      qikey1 lm 

      6 years ago

      Tea Tree oil is just wonderful. I had no idea about Williow bark- that it was sold as an extract. Good to know I will look into it!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good for you, spreading awareness of willow bark. It works better for me than any of the standard pain relievers like Aleve or Advil or Bayer Aspirin. It's natural and doesn't have the problems like rebound headache that the non-natural versions have.


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