Background: The efficacy, tolerability and acceptability of a tea tree oil gel (200 mg/g) and face wash (7 mg/g) were evaluated for the treatment of mild to moderate facial acne.
Methods: In this open-label, uncontrolled phase II pilot study, participants applied tea tree oil products to the face twice daily for 12 weeks and were assessed after 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Efficacy was determined from total numbers of facial acne lesions and the investigator global assessment (IGA) score. Tolerability was evaluated by the frequency of adverse events and the mean tolerability score determined at each visit. Product acceptability was assessed via a questionnaire at the end of the study period.
Results: Altogether 18 participants were enrolled, of whom 14 completed the study. Mean total lesion counts were 23.7 at baseline, 17.2 at 4, 15.1 at 8 and 10.7 at 12 weeks. Total lesion counts differed significantly over time by repeated measures anova (P < 0.0001). The mean IGA score was 2.4 at baseline, 2.2 at 4, 2.0 at 8 and 1.9 at 12 weeks, which also differed significantly over time (P = 0.0094). No serious adverse events occurred and minor local tolerability events were limited to peeling, dryness and scaling, all of which resolved without intervention.
Conclusion: This study shows that the use of the tea tree oil products significantly improved mild to moderate acne and that the products were well tolerated.
Keywords: alternative treatment; essential oil; in vivo efficacy; propionibacterium; terpenes; topical therapy.
© 2016 The Australasian College of Dermatologists.