Can Your Favorite Tea Help Reduce Acne?

by Vivek Gaula, June 28, 2021

Can Your Favorite Tea Help Reduce Acne?

Tea is the second-most popular beverage in the world. According to the Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook, its popularity has paved the way for the 20,000 types of tea out there. These products usually come from 6 general categories, namely black, oolong, white, yellow, green, and fermented. 

Whatever tea you prefer, know that all types can only be traced back to one source: the leaves of Camellia sinensis. It originates in China, though it can be found in Japan, India, Nepal, and Taiwan as well. 

One of the more popular variants out there is green tea, which is a favorite amongst the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. In contrast to other tea variants, it is made from fresh, mature, and non-fermented leaves. Due to the high demand, green tea accounts for 20% of the world's tea production. 

More than just being soothing and relaxing, green tea may help improve your health too. With its many benefits, green tea may help keep your skin acne-free. 

What’s in Green Tea?

According to Reygaert, green tea is one of the richest sources of catechins.  These are types of polyphenol substances that work as potent antioxidants. Green tea has so much catechin content that a usual serving includes 30% to 42% of the said polyphenols. 

There are four types of catechins present in green tea, with epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) being the most famous one. According to Isemura, EGCG boasts of many beneficial effects, such as: 

  • The catechins in green tea may help fight off infections and inflammatory processes. 
  • C. sinensis tea leaves may help promote weight loss, as it may help improve blood sugar regulation. 
  • It may help prevent cancer and heart problems, as well as certain cancers. 
  • Antioxidants in tea may help protect the brain and the liver from diseases that may come their way. 

Green Tea and EGCG for Acne-Free Skin

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, it affects about 40 to 50 million citizens. Although it commonly occurs in adolescents, pimples can persist until adulthood. 

While acne may be treated with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and antibiotics, these drugs come with several side effects. As such, more and more people are looking for safer, natural alternatives.

Based on many studies, EGCG-rich green tea may just hold water against acne. After all, this catechin is capable of doing these pimple-reducing feats:

  • EGCG may help inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a bacterium found on the skin. When it proliferates, it can lead to swollen, infected pimples. For this reason, many physicians prescribe antibiotics for acne. However, these meds often could carry some side effects with them.

As such, more and more healthcare providers are gearing towards naturally-occurring anti-bacterial products, such as EGCG.  After all, research suggests that EGCG may just do the trick. Results show that EGCG supplementation for 2 weeks helped control P. acnes overgrowth on the skin. With the participants reporting better outcomes after treatment, EGCG may be a good option against acne-causing bacteria. 

  • EGCG has good anti-inflammatory action.

Inflammation around the pilosebaceous follicle, which includes the sebaceous gland and the hair follicle, can lead to acne. As such, it is vital to keep inflammation substances at bay. Fortunately, this can be achieved with green tea – or a green tea supplement that has EGCG, if you want. 

EGCG can help boost the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. These substances can help minimize the inflammatory processes in the body, which may help curb acne development. These cytokines also promote healing, which may help clear up your existing pimples as well. 

  • EGCG may help reduce the activity of acne-inducing hormones.

Insulin-like growth factor 1, also known as IGF-1, can help boost growth in children. But in adults, this substance may lead to acne. According to Guanziroli et al., IGF-1 may promote sebum production, which is one of the factors behind acne development. This may be avoided with EGCG, which may help minimize IGF-1 action in the body. 

How to Maximize the Effects of Green Tea 

With its mild taste and soothing aroma, green tea is perfect enough as it is. However, there are a few hacks that can help boost your absorption of EGCG. This is vital since this catechin can work wonders on your health. 

In her WebMD interview, nutritionist Beth Reardon emphasized that green tea should not be added to boiling water. It can damage the catechins, which can be detrimental to your pursuit of clean, clear skin. With that being said, she advises to steep green tea in temperatures ranging from 160 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

While you might be tempted to add milk or cream to your green tea (think Starbucks Matcha Latte), know that it might be tasty but it’s not good for absorption. That’s because dairy prevents catechins from being absorbed into the system. With that being said, it’s better to swap your milk for lemon. This citrus fruit is rich in Vitamin C, which boosts ECGC absorption in the body. 

Lastly, Reardon says that it’s best if you don’t scrimp on your green tea purchase. More expensive variants usually have higher amounts of ECGC, compared to cheaper canned beverages. 

You May Also Like: 

The Miraculous Uses of Green Tea

The Incredible Health Uses of Green Tea

6 Best Foods for Healthy Skin

Topical EGCG for Acne

While consuming green tea and EGCG supplements are highly recommended, pimple-laden users can opt for topical preparations as well. After all, Elsaie et al’s study has documented its positive effects against mild to moderate acne. 

The study made use of lotion containing 2% green tea. The product was applied twice daily for 6 weeks. Participants were checked every 2 weeks for acne count and severity. Results showed that treatment helped reduce the average pimple count from 24 to as low as 6 to 10. This corresponded to an almost 60% decrease in number! 

The severity, which is rated from 1 (mild) to 3 (severe), was greatly reduced as well. From an average score of 2.05, the grading dropped to a whopping 1.25 - which marks an almost 40% improvement.

Green tea is a soothing and refreshing drink that may help improve your skin. With its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, it may just be your best defense against troublesome acne!