In vitro activity and clinical efficacy of tea tree oil products against acne

University of Western Australia

  • Project code: PRJ-006245

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Saturday, July 30, 2011

  • Project completion date: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

  • National Priority: TTO-Increasing demand


This project will examine formulated tea tree oil products for activity against acne-associated bacteria in vitro and against acne in human patients in vivo. Existing and newly formulated products will be screened in vitro to identify those which can inhibit the growth of and kill the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. Other bacteria that live on skin and may be involved in acne pathogenesis will also be tested. The second stage of the project will be to conduct a pilot study to evaluate the clinical efficacy of anti-acne products using human volunteers.


Tea Tree Oil

Research Organisation

University of Western Australia

Objective Summary

The objectives of this project are to:
1. Determine the activity of commercially available products against the bacteria implicated in acne by broth dilution and time-kill methods.
2. Compare the antibacterial activity of products to that of tea tree oil.
3. Identify the formulations with the best spectrum of antibacterial activity for the treatment of acne.
4. Evaluate the clinical efficacy of the most promising tea tree oil product in a pilot study using human volunteers.

The outcomes of this project will be:
1. Data on the minimum concentrations of products required to inhibit the growth of acne bacteria.
2. Data on the death of bacteria upon exposure to tea tree oil products.
3. Identification of the products with an optimal spectrum of activity for the treatment of acne.
4. An indication of the clinical effectiveness of the product for treating acne in human volunteers.