Spearmint tea and green tea are two drinks that often come up in discussions about natural remedies for acne. But when it really comes down to it, is spearmint or green tea better for acne?
While both spearmint and green tea have anti-inflammatory properties – which may help address the underlying cause of acne – their active compounds are different. As a result, their benefits can vary depending on how they’re used (topically vs internally) and the type of acne they’re used for.
So, in this guide to green tea vs spearmint tea, you’re going to learn what each tea has to offer (so that you can make the best choice for your specific needs).
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|Reduces sebum production
|Antibacterial against p. acnes
|Supports skin hydration
BENEFITS OF GREEN TEA FOR ACNE
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins, which are said to be responsible for many of green tea’s benefits.
The most abundant catechin in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and some research indicates that it is:
- Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant: research suggests that both inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to the development of acne (source).
- Hydrating: EGCG has been found to promote hydration of the skin and as a result, help in maintaining a firm skin barrier (source). Since an impaired skin barrier plays a role in acne, using green tea may be beneficial for acne-prone skin.
2. Antimicrobial and Soothing
The antioxidants in green tea have been shown to have antibacterial effects against p. acnes, the bacterium responsible for acne (source).
In addition, green tea is rich in the amino acid, L-theanine.
According to animal studies, topical application of L-theanine reduces redness and soothes inflammation (source).
3. Anti-Androgenic and Reduces Sebum Production
This may be helpful for acne because androgens – i.e. hormones like testosterone and DHEA-S – contribute to more sebum production.
Interestingly, research confirms that the antioxidants in green tea reduce sebum production (source).
So, it’s no wonder that products like green tea toners and masks continue to grow in popularity.
4. Good Source of Some Vitamins
Green tea contains vitamins A, C and E, which all provide important benefits to the skin (everything from supporting collagen production, balancing skin tone and potentially, improving acne scars).
BENEFITS OF SPEARMINT TEA FOR PIMPLES
1. May Help With Hormonal Acne
Excess levels of hormones like testosterone and DHEA-S – aka androgens – are known for contributing to the development of acne.
Below are the details of those studies:
- One study looked at 12 women with PCOS-related hirsutism (excess facial/body hair) and 9 women with hirsutism of unknown cause. After drinking 1 cup of spearmint tea for five days (during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle) the study participants had a significant decrease in free testosterone levels (source).
- Another study looked at 42 women with hirsutism who drank 2 cups of spearmint tea for 30 days. These women had a significant reduction in the levels of free and total testosterone (source).
Even though these small studies indicate that spearmint lowers androgens, they don’t give us any insight into how spearmint works specifically for acne.
So far, positive reports regarding spearmint come from anecdotal reports (like this reddit thread where users share how the herb worked – and in some cases, didn’t work – for them).
Like most herbs, spearmint has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be soothing to inflamed skin.
Some of the compounds responsible for this anti-inflammatory effect include carvone, limonene and rosmarinic acid.
NOTE: as a member of the mint family, spearmint contains menthol, which is very cooling and calming to the skin. However, the amount of menthol in spearmint is very low (only about 0.5%). If you’re looking for something with more menthol, reach for peppermint (it has about 40% menthol).
HOW TO USE GREEN TEA OR SPEARMINT TEA FOR BREAKOUTS
Below are some things to keep in mind when it comes to using green tea and spearmint for your skin:
- There are no acne-specific dosages for either of these teas.
- For green tea, experts recommend drinking 3 – 5 cups per day for overall health (source).
- When it comes to spearmint tea, many brands suggest 1 – 3 cups per day. For a custom dosage, seek out the help of a health professional who is familiar with herbal remedies.
- You can use green tea as a toner. To make your own green tea toner at home, simply brew a cup of green tea and then let it cool down. Apply it with a cotton ball as you would with any other toner. NOTE: tea spoils within a few days so you’ll have to brew a new batch several times a week.
BEST GREEN TEA AND SPEARMINT TEA PRODUCTS FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN
Below are some tea bags and skin care products to consider incorporating into your daily routine.
1. Positively Spearmint Green Tea Blend
As the name indicates, this tea is a combination of spearmint and green tea.
Basically, you get the best of both worlds in one cup!
It’s also a loose leaf tea, which I personally find to be much more potent than most tea bags (you have better control over how much you use when you use loose leaf).
2. Jade Leaf Matcha
If you want to enjoy green tea by itself, I suggest drinking a cup of matcha.
Matcha is the name that is used for the powdered form of green tea leaves.
From a nutritional perspective, matcha provides up to three times more antioxidants than standard green tea (because you are ingesting the entire leaf).
When purchasing matcha, look for “ceremonial grade” like this Jade Leaf Matcha powder.
Ceremonial grade is made from younger tea leaves which provide more nutrients (versus the older tea leaves that are used for cheaper grades of matcha).
3. ISNTree Green Tea Toner
This hydrating toner is formulated with 80% green tea extract, along with moisture-enhancing hyaluronic acid and plant extracts (notably centella asiatica, white willow bark and blueberry).
4. Matcha Oat Milk Mask
For your at-home spa day, enjoy this soothing mask made from matcha extract, oat flour, hyaluronic acid, rose extract, coconut milk and other soothing plants.
100% Pure is one of my favorite “clean” brands and they really do a good job of just giving you the ingredients you want (without any additional nasties!).
I do have to put two warnings on this mask though:
- it does require mixing (add water).
- the instructions also recommend adding oil – like almond oil – to make the mask easy to wash off. I followed the instructions exactly as written and still had a hard time removing all the green color (had to use soap). So I would suggest maybe using more oil than the instructions state!
FAQS ABOUT GREEN TEA VS SPEARMINT TEA FOR SKIN
Is green tea or peppermint tea better for acne?
Both green tea and peppermint tea have anti-inflammatory properties which may be soothing to inflamed, irritated skin. Most notably, peppermint has very high amounts of menthol (about 40%), a compound that is cooling and may provide temporary relief from painful pimples (source). Despite these benefits, peppermint isn’t typically considered an acne remedy.
What is the best tea to drink for acne?
Besides green tea and spearmint tea, some teas that may help with acne include dandelion root, burdock root and nettle leaf tea. For more details, see this list of teas for acne-prone skin.
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