"Girl claims green tea cleared up her acne". "Spearmint tea, the acne miracle cure". "Reduce your acne by 50% with tea".
You’ve probably seen the headlines. It seems everywhere you look these days, from blogs to magazines, someone is claiming herbal tea ‘cured’ their acne breakouts whilst someone else raves about the benefits of a detox for your skin.
But is it just sensationalist headlines and myths, or could a nice hot cuppa actually help to reduce acne spots and breakouts?
Here at Sönd, we love a natural approach to skincare, and to tackle the cause of acne specifically. This involves looking to protect the skin with a whole body, holistic mindset, eating a healthy, balanced diet, taking regular, gentle exercise, minimising stress and maximising good quality sleep.
Could drinking green tea help treat acne? What about applying green tea topically on the skin? Or skincare products containing green tea? What about using other teas to help reduce acne vulgaris breakouts and to help protect the skin?
We decided to do a little research of our own on how the use of green tea may help improve acne and wanted to share it with you. So, what are the best teas for acne? Grab a cup of your favourite tea, kick back and take a read of what we found.
Benefits of Drinking Tea for the Skin
Tea, in particular, green tea, is packed with tea polyphenols. These plant based compounds act as natural antioxidants that help to protect the body against illness and disease caused by damaging free radicals.
Skin-wise, many people use green tea to clear acne. Often, acne is caused or at least made worse by a build up of dead skin cells in the pores and too much sebum production. EGCG has been found to reduce oil production in the skin, and therefore helps to promote clear skin and is effective in treating acne.
But let's go into more detail on how green tea can be used to help manage existing acne.
Can You Use Green Tea for Acne?
The favourite of nearly every health guru, Instagram yogi and beauty vlogger, it seems like there’s nothing green tea can’t do. But when it comes to treating acne lesions, the hype around green tea might be valid.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, by an insane amount. Tocopherols, carotenoids, EGCG, ascorbic acid and selenium are all found in a cup of green tea. Antioxidants called catechins in green tea love our skin and our skin loves them as they regulate free radicals. Green tea is also an anti-inflammatory so it’s great for calming any redness or swelling brought on by an outbreak.
So whether your perfect brew is made using tea leaves or green tea bags, you like it hot or you prefer an iced green tea, or you take green tea supplements, keep up the good work! You may find that if you drink green tea on an empty stomach that it causes indigestion or mild stomach upsets. If so, make sure you reap the green tea benefits to your skin by drinking it with or after a meal.
But what if you don't enjoy the taste?
Can Green Tea Help Acne When Used Topically?
If you don’t like the taste of green tea (it's quite a strong flavour after all), why not apply it to your skin? The topical use of green tea is just as popular as drinking green tea to clear acne.
There are plenty of topical treatments that contain green tea extract that are designed to be applied to the skin as a cream or mask. Some also contain added ingredients such as tea tree oil. In fact, green tea and tea tree oil combined are a force to be reckoned with!
You can also make your own preparations with green tea clear acne prone skin. Simply brew some green tea and let it cool. Then soak a few cotton pads in tea and massage into the skin for a few minutes. Let your skin dry completely before rinsing with warm water.
You can even make a great toner as the compounds in green tea have been proven to help treat large pores (the ones that are most likely to clog). Just mix a ¼ cup of cold green tea with the juice of one lemon and apply to the face with cotton pads. Leave for 5 minutes before rinsing and moisturising. The astringent and antibacterial properties of the lemon juice will help reduce the overproduction of oil the green tea can help to reduce inflammation.
So, are you tempted to try green tea for acne? Green tea is an excellent tea for skin and all round health, but what about other teas? Let's not forget them!
Spearmint Tea for Acne
Arguably the internet's favourite herbal tea acne cure. We found a whole host of people – from Facebook groups, to Reddit threads – waxing lyrical about how they had noticed a direct link between drinking spearmint tea and an improvement in their skin.
The general consensus online seems to be that one cup of this tea a day can help with hormonal acne in particular. But why is this?
It could be to do with spearmints insulin regulating properties. Insulin levels can be the cause of an acne break out. High levels of insulin can trigger the production of IGF-1 (read more about this pesky pimple making hormone here) and cause oily, breakout prone skin.
Some studies have also shown that spearmint could regulate testosterone levels in women which might be causing their hormonal acne. This does mean that this tea probably isn't a great option for men with acne. Sorry fellas.
Red Bush / Rooibos Tea for Acne and Ageing Skin!
The chances are, deep in the depths of a kitchen cupboard, your parents have an untouched box of Rooibos tea. This tea is one of the more unusual tasing, but it might be time to crack it open and pop on the kettle. The flavonoids (lovely plant pigments) in Rooibos help regulate acne causing pathogens.
An extra plus? Rooibos tea has many free radical fighting antioxidants including one called superoxide dismutase, so it could even help you fight the signs of ageing! Poor us a cup whilst you’re at it.
Can Chamomile Tea Treat Acne?
Chamomile tea featured on nearly all of the lists we found, which was a little surprising. Chamomile's primary benefit for skin is high levels of quercetin. This helps to protect our skin from the sun (which is great) but is not necessarily linked to acne.
The only link we can think of between chamomile tea and acne is that it’s a great pre-bedtime drink. A great night's sleep can have wonderous effects on balancing your hormones which might help hormonal acne sufferers. But we’re not quite so convinced that chamomile tea is the best tea for acne.
This tea has been used for centuries for its calming effects, so if nothing else, drink it for that.
Burdock Root Tea Can Reduce Oily Skin
Maybe the ultimate detox tea, Burdock is known to detox the liver, kidneys, gallbladder and lymphatic system.
So, what does that have to do with acne? Well, these organs are all responsible for dealing with toxins. If they become overloaded, they trigger our sweat and sebaceous glands to try and get rid of them – leading to oily breakout prone skin.
The Benefits of Green Tea and Other Teas for Acne Prone Skin
So overall, when it comes to tea treatments, it seems there might some real weight behind the claims. In particular, green tea is extremely effective at supporting healthy skin. If you don't like the taste, try using a topical green tea extract directly on the affected skin.
But, whilst it can’t hurt to try them out, we wouldn’t recommend dropping your current skin care routine. Tea for acne can help, especially alongside our range of alkalising skincare products designed for acne prone skin. We would treat tea as an extra weapon in your arsenal in the fight for healthy skin, rather than a miracle cure.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.