Tea Tree Oil vs. Witch Hazel

9:07 am - 02/25/2011
I have some questions and am looking for advice regarding tea tree oil vs witch hazel as a daily facial toner. General facial skin information is that I have very oily skin and large pores around my nose and cheeks. I am not so concerned about the pores just with controlling breakouts.

I started using tea tree oil (diluted with water) around mid December and it worked wonders. I just didn’t like the smell and I heard about witch hazel as an alternative. I started using the witch hazel about a week ago and I have not been impressed. I started getting breakouts probably 2 days into its use, lots of little breakouts, especially around my lip line (which causes me another set of problems because when that happens I usually get a cold sore in its place.) I did like that the smell was much less potent and went away faster. It also does not require dilution and it is less expensive. I did not experience any over drying with either product. So on to my questions.

1. Does the witch hazel take some settling in time? I didn’t experience any settling in with the tea tree oil. It seemed to work immediately. Should I continue with the witch hazel for, say, a month and see if the breakouts clear up?
2. Is the tea tree oil safe to use morning and night? I was previously using it only at night.
3. Is there something better to dilute the tea tree oil with?
4. Any other helpful hints or suggestions are appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your advice!
holy_dove 25th-Feb-2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
Ive had experience with both tea tree oil and witch hazel and I've found that tea tree oil is the way to go, witch hazel did absolutely nothing for me. Every time I have tea tree oil on someone makes a comment about paint thinner, so I only use it at night. But if I'm staying home I'll put it on morning and night, without any negative consequences.
caliginous 25th-Feb-2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
Tea tree oil isn't a toner exactly. Toner is designed to restore the ph to the skin (slightly acid, cleansers are frequently slightly basic) and remove trace makeup or hard water residue after washing. Tea tree oil is a powerful antibacterial/antifungal, and slightly astringent (pore shrinking). Witch hazel is toner, although I have never found one without alcohol, which is not something I ever put on my skin.

If tea tree is working for you (and keep diluting it, there are very few essential oils that can be applied neat to skin, tea tree is not really one of them if you get the good stuff), try lavender as an alternative. Lavender is also antibacterial and astringent, but much less so than tea tree, and smells better. Grapefruit essential is good for acne and I find it rather astringent as well, though it has a short shelf life it also has the mildest smell. Lemon and geranium are also astringent. You can try diluting oils with grapeseed as a carrier, it's a very lightweight oil that is also slightly astringent itself.
skincare_expert 25th-Feb-2011 05:14 pm (UTC)
This is really helpful, thanks! I've used witch hazel (alcohol-free) as a toner and tea tree oil on breakouts. I never thought about diluting oils with grapeseed -- I'm going to try that.
nova100 25th-Feb-2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I think I will have to try some experimenting. I received some other comments about diluting tea tree with the witch hazel. I may have to try that and then the grapeseed to see which works best. I'm not sure which way to go first. I was really turned off of the witch hazel by all the breakouts I'm getting. I had next to none when using the tea tree and the random small ones I did get the tea tree (undiluted just spot applying) quickly took care of.
petitourss 25th-Feb-2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
No help on your questions, but I find that calamine lotion applied as a spot mask works wonders for pimples.
electricsheep59 1st-Mar-2011 05:21 am (UTC)
I mix up a toner with witch hazel and a few drops of tea tree oil in it. Its done a great job keeping my skin clear
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