If you’ve been researching natural remedies for acne, then you’ve probably come across videos and forums touting the benefits of mint. But given that there are different types of mints, you might be wondering about the pros and cons of peppermint tea vs spearmint tea for acne.
So, I’ve done some additional research on both peppermint and spearmint, and I’m going to share everything with you when it comes to how they help acne.
Overall we’re going to look at:
- the difference between spearmint and peppermint tea.
- how spearmint and peppermint can help acne.
- the amount of time it takes to see results with mint teas.
- how much mint tea to drink for acne.
Okay, let’s start off by distinguishing between spearmint and peppermint!
HOW SPEARMINT TEA HELPS ACNE
There are two main reasons why spearmint can help with blemishes: it fights inflammation and lowers androgen levels (male hormones). Let’s take a closer look at how both of these benefits are helpful for clearing up the skin.
Spearmint Fights Inflammation
At the most basic level, acne is an inflammatory condition. So, logically, we should seek out remedies that lower inflammation if we want to clear up the skin.
And when it comes to plants in the mint family, spearmint actually has the strongest anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, one study compared the effect of spearmint tea and the antibiotic, minocycline, on acne.
That study found that both remedies worked the same, with spearmint getting the upper hand because it produced no side effects (source).
Spearmint is Anti-Androgenic
One of the major factors that can worsen acne in women is excess androgens (male hormones). High androgen levels contribute to excessive sebum production which can then lead to more clogged pores and pimples. Now, since spearmint has been found to lower free testosterone levels (1, 2), that’s probably another reason why it can help acne.
There are a few things to note about the studies done on spearmint and androgens:
- One study lasted 5 days and the other lasted 30 days. Overall, very short. Yet, even the 5-day study pointed out that there was a “significant decrease” in free testosterone. So, that’s quite promising in terms of what longer term consumption of spearmint tea could do.
- The studies were done with women who had hirsutism (excessive hair growth on the face, chest and back), which is often linked to androgens and hormonal conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
In addition to all the above, spearmint tea is also antimicrobial (can help with the acne-causing bacteria) and also soothes the digestive system (source). Because digestion also plays a role in the development of acne, it’s easy to see how this simple tea can be helpful as a natural acne remedy.
DOES PEPPERMINT TEA CLEAR ACNE?
While there isn’t much research on peppermint and acne, it does have some properties that can be quite helpful for acne. For example, peppermint is:
- well known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- beneficial for digestive health (which is another factor that affects acne).
- antimicrobial and could help to fight off the bacteria that contribute to breakouts.
- very high in menthol (much more than spearmint). This high menthol is the reason why peppermint feels cool when applied on the skin. It’s also the reason why peppermint is a analgesic (i.e. pain fighter). So, if you are struggling with painful cystic acne, you might want to try peppermint tea as a toner to soothe topical inflammation.
Overall, peppermint has some amazing therapeutic benefits. While it hasn’t (yet) been shown to have the same anti-androgenic effects that spearmint has, it’s still a good anti-inflammatory herb that you can add to your diet.
HOW LONG DO MINT TEAS TAKE TO WORK FOR ACNE?
While there are no actual studies to confirm how long it takes for mint teas to work for acne, there is feedback from real people on popular forums like reddit. Overall, the feedback indicates that it can take several months to really see results with spearmint tea.
As for peppermint tea, there isn’t much feedback from people who’ve used it. There’s clearly a strong focus on spearmint (most likely driven by the fact that there are more studies for spearmint).
So, if you decide to give spearmint (or peppermint) a try for your skin, give it a few months to see how it works for you.
Also, keep in mind that it’s not clear from many forum discussions what type of foods people are eating. As with many natural remedies, it’s a good idea to take a holistic approach and eat a healthy diet while consuming mint tea.
HOW TO MAKE SPEARMINT OR PEPPERMINT TEA FOR PIMPLES
The basic recipe for making an herbal mint tea for acne is as follows:
1 tsp dried mint leaves (or 1 tea bag)
1 cup of boiling water
- Steep the dried mint leaves in water for at least 10 minutes.
NOTE: for a stronger tea, you can allow the leaves to steep for more than 10 minutes. Or you can use mint leaves for the same amount of water.
SPEARMINT TEA VS PEPPERMINT TEA: HOW MUCH TO DRINK FOR ACNE
Based on studies done with spearmint tea, drinking 2 cups a day is helpful for lowering androgen levels. So, start with that.
As for peppermint tea, there is no established dose. For general health, some experts suggest 1 to 2 cups a day.
The good thing is both teas are caffeine-free, so you can drink them at any time of day.
Also, if you’re going to drink 2 cups a day, it’s a good idea to space them out. We can only absorb so much in one go. If you try to down all of it at once just to be done with it, you might end up peeing out a significant portion of it.
TIPS FOR USING MINT TEA ON ACNE-PRONE SKIN
If you spend any amount of time digging into natural acne remedies, then you might come across books and websites that suggest using peppermint and spearmint tea as a toner.
But why would that be? Well, according to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, mint is a natural source of salicylic acid (source)!
Now, for acne sufferers, salicylic acid is one of the most popular topical ingredients that reduces acne swelling and redness, while also unclogging pores.
The only caveat is that the journal doesn’t explicitly state whether both mint plants have it, or just one. So, ultimately use your best judgement as to which one you’d like to try.
FAQs ABOUT MINT TEA AND ACNE
Which tea is good for acne?
Other teas that are good for acne include green tea, chamomile tea, nettle, ginger and turmeric tea (aka golden milk). Generally, the more antioxidant activity an herb has, then the more anti-inflammatory (and acne-friendly) it is.
What’s the difference between spearmint and peppermint?
Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint, and it has a very high menthol content (about 40%) compared to spearmint (about 0.5% menthol). While spearmint and peppermint are both anti-inflammatory, spearmint is known to be anti-androgenic. On the other hand peppermint is helpful for relieving pain
When it comes to spearmint vs peppermint, there’s currently more science to back up the fact spearmint tea is the better option for acne.
And as a bonus you might want to try using one of these teas as a DIY toner as well.
So, whether you plan on adding them to your acne diet or applying them on your skin, mint teas have a lot of potential as natural skin care remedies.
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