This Underrated Tea May Be A+ For Stubborn Acne: What The Research Says

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
This Underrated Tea Can Help Banish Stubborn Breakouts

A derm once suggested I drink spearmint tea for stubborn acne. An organic brew, two cups a day—sip away for glowing skin. It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? (Of course, the advice came alongside a targeted routine for my combination skin, but the added antioxidants don't hurt.)

I had to know more—can drinking spearmint tea really manage breakouts? Here's what the research says. 

Spearmint tea benefits for acne. 

"Spearmint has anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial properties, both of which can be helpful for treating acne," says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D. Specifically, the tea contains significant amounts of rosmarinic acid, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic properties, as well as natural flavonoids like limonene and menthol. All types of acne stem from some sort of inflammation, so it makes sense that people might see success with this anti-inflammatory sip. 

Perhaps what's most intriguing about spearmint, though, is its potential anti-androgen properties: One randomized controlled trial found that when participants with PCOS consumed spearmint tea twice a day for one month, their total testosterone levels were significantly reduced compared to those who consumed a placebo herbal tea

Considering testosterone is one of the main culprits of hormonal acne (it increases oil production in the skin and causes skin cells to become more "sticky," making it more difficult for them to shed, which then makes it easier for them to clog pores), it's no wonder spearmint tea has earned derm-rated reviews. 

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So, does it work?

Here's the thing: The studies mentioned above, while promising, don't necessarily speak to acne in particular—we simply need more research to make the final call, even though the tea does have impressive anti-inflammatory compounds.

However, we also can't ignore the anecdotal evidence plastered online: "No longer is my entire jawline coated in a smorgasbord of deep, throbbing cysts and whiteheads," one Reddit user recounts. "I can actually lay my head down at night without it hurting. It's amazing to think I lived that way for so long, having never heard about spearmint as an option." You can find similar success stories peppered among the thread, with users seeing results anywhere from two weeks to two months. 

But of course, everyone's skin reacts differently—so while spearmint tea might prove downright transformative for some, others may notice no difference. And if you're curious about the tea, be sure to speak to your doctor before beginning your brew, just to make sure upping your intake won't have any side effects or interfere with certain medications. But two cups a day (as stated in the above study) should be fine. 

The takeaway. 

While we can't say for sure whether spearmint tea can treat acne specifically, its anti-inflammatory and anti-androgen properties do make it a promising brew. Plus, the flavonoids in tea have a slew of other health benefits anyway, in case you need other reasons to sip besides skin care. I'm certainly curious enough to give it a try—and I'll fill you in on any glowing results.

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