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Ingredient Spotlight: Tea Tree Oil, The OG Acne Healer

One of the earliest remedies that's hailed to clear acne, the well-loved tea tree oil is making an appearance in products again.

Before the hype and mania of newer ‘It’ ingredients that are touted to be saviours of acne-prone skin (see: AHAs like salicylic acid) were all the rage in the beauty hemisphere, tea tree oil was the OG acne-clearing ingredient that skincare fiends were paying attention to. In recent times, this well-loved ingredient that’s been flying under the radar has started resurfacing in beauty products. What do we love about it? Apart from its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties; its versatility – it can be used on its own as a spot treatment and it works well when mixed in products too.

Dr. Bronner's All-One Tea Tree Pure-Castile Bar Soap
Recently relaunched at Watsons this month, the natural, cruelty-free soap brand is well-known for its multi-tasking soaps that use organic- and fair trade-certified ingredients. Made with organic oils like coconut, olive and jojoba, this bar soap cleanses the skin with soft, smooth lather that won’t dry it out. Two Lips Bumpps, $130
Though it’s made to target the skin of the vulva, this sebum-controlling serum is suitable to be used on the face and other body parts too. Enriched with tea tree leaf oil to fight inflammation, it also controls oily T-zones and reduces the appearance of blackheads. At the same time, arrowroot and chamomile extracts soothe the skin. Antipodes Saviour Skin Balm, $20.80
Containing an oil blend of totara and tea tree, along with antioxidant-rich vinanza grape, this balm offers relief on skin troubles from dry and cracked skin, to sunburn and rashes. Eve Lom Dynaspot, $55
To combat pesky breakouts, this blemish treatment from Eve Lom minimises the secretion of oil and calms irritated skin. Infused with calming antiseptic extracts, the product brims with carefully balanced tea tree oil and salicylic acid to eliminate impurities without drying the skin. Zinc oxide and yarrow promote skin’s natural control of sebum production, while chamomile soothes inflammation. Crafted with a universal skin-tone tint, you can safely use this over or under makeup. Arcona AM Blemish Lotion, $59, Sephora
For both adolescent and adult acne, this antibacterial lotion that’s to be used after a toner – to clear acne lesions, reduce inflammation and that’ll work on preventing the formation of comedones. Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots, $56, Sephora
And for the times that any major spots require extra targeted strength, turn to these clear acne patches that’s said to help eliminate blemishes and minimise the spread of bacteria. Tea tree oil work to clarify and refresh skin while inhibiting the spread of bacteria; salicylic acid works overnight and throughout the day to effectively reduce and heal blemishes; and hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin to combat excessive drying and irritation. The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, $20-$35
Enriched with Community Trade tea tree oil from the foothills of Mount Kenya, the tea tree leaves are also said to be harvested within 12 hours, so that it’s at it’s purest, most potent state. Apply this to acne spots to be rid of zits – though those with sensitive skin should start slow with this. Leaders Insolution Tea Tree Relaxing Skin Renewal Mask, $4
For all the hydrating and skin-regenerating sheet masks that we love splurging on, here’s one that’s a remedy for troubled skin. How? It targets large, clogged up pores, relaxes the skin by soothing redness and protects and revitalise skin effectively, thanks to filbert and olive sprouts.