Treatment of acne with tea tree oil (melaleuca) products: a review of efficacy, tolerability and potential modes of action

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2015 Feb;45(2):106-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2014.10.011. Epub 2014 Nov 13.


Over-the-counter acne treatments containing tea tree oil from the plant Melaleuca alternifolia are widely available, and evidence indicates that they are a common choice amongst those self-treating their acne. The aims of this review were to collate and evaluate the clinical evidence on the use of tea tree oil products for treating acne, to review safety and tolerability and to discuss the underlying modes of therapeutic action.

Keywords: Antibacterial; Biofilm; Essential oil; Propionibacterium acnes; Terpenes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Tea Tree Oil / adverse effects
  • Tea Tree Oil / pharmacology
  • Tea Tree Oil / therapeutic use*


  • Tea Tree Oil