I know I generally have a rule against hippie-shit-sounding acne treatment but Green Tea is one I’ve got to let you all know about.
It’s simple, cheap, and provides a warm, early-morning hit of caffeine to get you pumped, alert and focussed for the day (safer than coffee for some acne sufferers). And it’s very effective at reducing acne, redness and oily skin, so let’s get straight on with it.
How green tea helps fight acne
Studies have shown that drinking green tea can reduce acne by up to 50%. That’s a reduction akin to benzoyl peroxide, and green tea doesn’t come with face-melting side effects.
The reason is threefold:
First, it helps fight insulin resistance, one of the chief hormonal causes behind acne.
Second, it reduces sebum production by up to 50%, meaning pores are less likely to get blocked and skin appears less oily.
Third, it contains antioxidants which help fight inflammation. And not just any antioxidants – the antioxidants in green tea are FIFTY TO ONE HUNDRED TIMES more powerful than the antioxidants in vitamin C.
Now, I take quite a large dose of vitamin C every day – not just because it helps with the red marks from acne scars, but to support my immune system. I take two big ol’ tablets a day (approximately 2g) – and I haven’t had so much as a cold now for FOUR YEARS.
That means that the antioxidants in green tea are powerful enough to fight off illness for at least four centuries. Hmm… maybe not, but it is fantastic stuff for reducing inflammation.
Caffeine is also good for improving insulin resistance, so green tea could be another brain-stimulating pick-me-up for those of you who have acne and can’t tolerate drinking coffee. I used to be one of those guys, until I discovered this coffee.
How to brew to get most out of green tea for acne
Do I drink it? Absolutely, although I tend to stop drinking it at 2pm because the caffeine would disrupt my sleep quality. If you’ve not yet wised up to how crucial quality sleep is when you’re trying to heal acne, read this post. Sleep is when your body repairs itself, but for some reason getting an optimal nights’ sleep is very commonly overlooked by acne sufferers.
I find green tea is also great to drink if you’re craving a snack – it really does seem to fill you up and anything which stops you reaching for the cookie jar will help save your skin.
As with all things on this blog, there’s doing something and there’s doing something properly. You can actually double the amount of antioxidants in your cup of green tea by brewing it the right way:
- Start by using high quality tea – loose leaf is far better but if tea bags are more convenient for you, splash out and get some good ones. Check out this best selling green tea powder
- Boil the water and tip it straight into the mug with the tea in it – the hotter the water, the more antioxidants are extracted from the tea leaves
- This will make your tea too hot to drink for a while – which is perfect, because you need to leave it to brew for at least four minutes, ideally five
- Don’t add milk, or sugar, or sweeteners. All of these ingredients are bad for acne, and they reduce the antioxidant levels in the tea.
For a while there I also used to dab the warm teabag onto my skin after I’d finished a cup. Probably not one of the most effective things I’ve ever done for curing acne, but according to my journal at the time the redness in my skin did go down, even if the pimples didn’t.
To ensure the antioxidants are still present at effective concentrations (they degrade over a matter of hours) you need to make a fresh cup of tea each time if you want to try this out.
However, at the time I was too stupid to realise that you can actually buy creams with green tea extract in which are much more convenient and effective. Sadly, there aren’t too many (good quality) products currently on the market contain green tea extract – it’s still fairly new from a research perspective – but if you can find one with at least 2% green tea extract in it then this will massively help reduce sebum production.
I am aware there’s a company called “Exposed Skin Care” which do include green tea extract in their products, but I’ve never used them myself so can’t comment on their effectiveness.
Green tea, brewed correctly, has been shown by science and real-life experience to be helpful in reducing three main causes of acne – overproduction of sebum, systemic inflammation and most importantly, insulin resistance.
Go get some decent tea bags, put the kettle on and see for yourself what green tea can do for acne.