This article originally appeared on InStyle.
Having a familiarity with what’s inside your skincare products never hurts, but one could argue that studying up becomes even more important when you’re dealing with acne. Not only do you need to know what pore-clogging ingredients to stay away from, you need to know what will zap that zit quickly and effectively, without drying out or irritating the rest of your face.
Salicylic acid probably comes to mind, and perhaps even charcoal for drawing out impurities, but there’s also a natural oil you should keep an eye out for next time you’re looking for a cleanser or a spot treatment. Ever heard of tea tree oil?
“Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the tea tree and does not come from the common tea plant, which is used to make green teas and black teas,” explains dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, who also adds it’s one of the most studied oils out there.
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So what makes it an ideal acne-banishing candidate? Along with being an antiseptic (meaning it helps prevent infection) and an anti-inflammatory (fighting off redness), it compares well with other traditional acne ingredients.
“Studies have found that 5 percent tea tree oil is as effective at treating acne as 5 percent benzoyl peroxide. Tea tree oil is also an antioxidant, which is beneficial for fight free radical damage,” says Dr. Engelman.
In addition to being commonly found in acne ingredients, our pro also says it can be helpful when added to a warm bath to treat skin ailments like eczema.
Interested in giving it a shot on the zit that just won’t quit? Keep scrolling to check out a few products that all feature the star ingredient.