Monday, 5 January 2015

DIY Refreshing Face Spray

First of all, Happy New Year! I was away in Germany over Christmas break visiting family. Only complaint I have is that it was over much too fast! Nonetheless, I did take the time between finals and in Germany as a blogging break - I will be posting once a week now again :)

Today I'd love to share my recipe for face spray. It's gentle and refreshing for my acne-prone skin and I'd assume, based on the simple ingredients, that it would be good for any other skin type as well. I use this spray daily & it was very refreshing during travel.

I fill a small mist bottle (from the Dollar Store) with alcohol-free witch hazel, and add 2-5 drops of Melaleuca oil (aka tea tree oil). Spray on your face after cleansing (as a toner) or whenever you need a little pick-me-up!

Make sure you find alcohol-free witch hazel, because alcohol will dry out your skin (or boil down your own from herbs). And a note about the tea tree oil: generally a good quality oil will come in a dark bottle.

Benefits of Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana):
  • Botanical anti-inflammatory
  • Skin-soothing properties
  • Common astringent in people with oily skin due to its high tannin content
  • To preserve the beneficial tannins, it's best to boil down your own extract with 5-10g of the herb in 1 cup water (6)
  • Helps reduce swelling, repair broken skin, and fight bacteria (7)

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca):
  • Antibacterial (broad-spectrum) and anti-inflammatory activity (5)
  • Clinical studies have shown tea tree oil to be just as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide (2) and 2% erythromycin in those with mild to moderate acne (1).
  • Shown to be better than baseline or placebo at reducing the count of inflammatory lesions (acne) (3).

Summary of some clinical studies evaluating tea tree oil for acne treatment
Treatment Groups
Mean reduction in lesion count
Frequency of Adverse Events
Overall Outcomes
1) Tea tree oil gel (5%)
2) Benzoyl peroxide (5%)
1) 29% after 8 weeks
2) 46%
1) 44%
2) 79%
Benzoyl peroxide was better than tea tree oil, but had more side-effects. (2)
1) Tea tree oil gel (5%)
2) Erythromycin gel (2%)
1) 55% after 6 weeks
2) 40%
not stated
Tea tree oil was significantly better (1)
1) Tea tree oil gel (5%)
2) Placebo gel
1) 44% after 6 weeks
2) 12%
1) 10%
2) 7%
Tea tree oil was significantly better than placebo at decreasing lesion count. (3)
1) Tea tree oil (3%) and lavender oil (2%)
2) Baseline
1) 10% after 4 weeks
2) 5%
1) 4%
2) 0%
Inflammatory lesion count significantly decreased with tea tree oil (4)
Adapted from K.A. Hammer, (5).


[1] Darabi R, Hafezi MA, Akbarloo N. A comparative, investigator-blind study of topical tea tree oil versus erythromycin gel in the treatment of acne. In:15th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2005 [abstract no. 1133 249].

[2] Bassett IB, Pannowitz DL, Barnetson RS. A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Med J Aust 1990;153:455–8.

[3] Enshaieh S, Jooya A, Siadat AH, Iraji F. The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2007;73:22–5.

[4] B. Kim, S. Shin. Antimicrobial and improvement effects of tea tree and lavender oils on acne lesions. J Convergence Inf Technol, 8 (2013), pp. 339–345

[5] K.A. Hammer. Treatment of acne with tea tree oil (melaleuca) products: A review of efficacy, tolerability and potential modes of action. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 13 November 2014. 

[6] Vincent Morelli, Erick Calmet, Varalakshmi Jhingade. Alternative Therapies for Common Dermatologic Disorders, Part 2. Review Article. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, Volume 37, Issue 2, June 2010, Pages 285-296


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