Green Tea for Acne: Does Green Tea Help Acne Go Away?
You’ll hear – and read – a lot about acne, but as anyone who suffers with it knows, there is no such thing as simple acne. There are in fact different forms of acne that appear at different times of life and have different causes. There are whiteheads, blackheads, cystic acne, which is most common in teenagers and hormonal acne, which may be the hardest of all to deal with as it is caused by some factors that are very hard to control.
What is Hormonal Acne?
We often think about hormones causing teen acne, but that is not quite the case. Most ‘real’ hormonal acne is actually found in adults, especially in women, and it can strike even those who were lucky enough to make it through their teen years with pretty clear skin. Many cases of adult hormonal acne relate to androgens. And when it comes to acne the troublesome androgen in question is testosterone.
Contrary to what some people believe both male and female bodies produce testosterone and both sexes need it in order to stay healthy. Women need less though, as males need less of the estrogen that both sexes’ bodies also produce.
Sometimes a woman’s body produces just a little bit too much testosterone, but as scientific research has discovered, the body does have a natural mechanism in place to get rid of acne. Unfortunately it seems that that natural mechanism is the formation of acne pimples thanks to excess production of sebum (oil) in the skin.
Common Factors That Can Cause All Forms of Acne
Having established that some forms of acne have different causes they also have certain factors in common. These include:
- Excess sebum production in the skin
- Dead skin cells clogging pores
- Free radical damage affecting the skin’s ability to rejuvenate itself
- Larger than usual pores that are more prone to becoming clogged, leading to acne pimples
Treating Acne from the Inside Out
There are, as most of us know, all kinds of topical, external acne treatment products for acne available. They range from potions and lotions and creams to home acne remedies that make use of common household ingredients and products to fight acne. They vary in cost and effectiveness but it’s a good bet that many acne sufferers try out a lot of them to try to combat the problem.
There is another way you can effectively fight acne too though; from the inside out. This can be especially true in the case of hormonal acne but it can also be a helpful tactic to treat all forms – and all levels of severity – of acne. And one of the most effective ways to tackle acne from the inside out is green tea.
What Really is Green Tea?
We’ve all heard of green tea and lots of us drink it already. Sometimes in the form of a brewed cup of hot tea, sometimes in the form of a refreshing ice tea, a form in which it has become very popular. But what is it and how does it differ from other teas?
Green tea is made from the leaves of camellia sinensis, a small evergreen shrub. Unlike other forms of tea, like black or oolong, after the leaves are harvested for tea they are not allowed to wither or oxidize, so they retain their pale green color, along with a lot more of the natural healing properties that the leaves contain.
The History of Green Tea
The practice of creating, and then drinking, green tea, began in China several thousand years ago. It was considered such a breakthrough that one of the Emperor Shennong’s leading physicians was commissioned to write a book about it, a book that laid down the best way for the camellia sinensis to be grown and harvested, the best way to prepare the leaves for tea and the health benefits that it was believed the tea offered.
The text still exists today and it shows that the Ancient Chinese held green tea in high regard. They felt that it could help purify the body’s many organs, fight off infections, prevent disease and even help encourage a more youthful complexion. And although this was all written down a long, long time ago, modern research is finding that a lot of all this is probably true!
Green tea consumption has now been linked with helping to prevent heart disease, with regulating insulin production and blood sugar levels, with helping to improve memory and energy levels and, most interestingly for us, to prevent and treat acne, especially the hormonal kind.
How Does Green Tea Help Get Rid of Acne?
By now you’re probably s impressed as we are with green tea. But you may be wondering what it is about green tea that helps get rid of acne.
Research has established that green tea contains a high level of something called EGCG. This is a pretty amazing little substance that can do a number of things to help ward off acne and heal the existing acne you are suffering from.
- EGCG balances hormones, slowly the production of excess testosterone that can lead to hormonal acne in women
- EGCG helps fight bacteria, including that nasty acne causing bacteria
- EGCG regulates blood sugar levels. Irregular blood sugars are also linked to hormonal acne, so this is another way to help get rid of hormonal acne.
- EGCG is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radical damage to the skin
- EGCG has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and swelling in acne pimples.
Using Green Tea to Get Rid of Acne
As we mentioned earlier green tea can be used to treat and prevent acne from the inside out. The simplest way to do this is to drink three to four cups of hot green tea on a daily basis. It’s advised that you don’t exceed this as some studies have shown that excess green tea consumption (6+ cups a day) may lead to liver toxicity.
This is all great of course but for some may sound pretty boring. Green tea can be something of an acquired taste – it is a little more bitter than black, white or oolong tea because of its lack of processing – and so some people find the thought of drinking those three to four cups of green tea per day a bit hard to swallow (if you’ll pardon the pun.)
Drinking lots of store bought green tea mixed drinks is an alternative but not always a very good one. Green tea is most effective when you get as much of that EGCG from it as you can, and the green tea found in these drinks is usually heavily diluted. This dilution means there is less EGCG present, so it will be a less effective acne fighting solution.
The good news is that there are more interesting ways to consume green tea so that doing so is tasty, healthy and effective. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Green Tea and Honey
This hot green tea treat is livened up – and sweetened – by honey. Not only does it taste great but it also adds an extra layer of bacteria fighting, as honey has natural antibacterial properties to.
What You’ll Need
- Organic green tea – loose leaf is best, but bagged is OK too
- Raw honey
How It’s Done
- Brew a cup of green tea as you usually would, using BOILING water
- After steeping, add a teaspoon of raw honey while the tea is still very hot.
- Stir well and allow to cool a little
- Drink and enjoy
2. Green Tea Smoothie
Smoothies are all the rage anyway these days, and this one tastes good and helps fight acne at the same time. It’ll also help you meet that important to your health in general five servings of fruits and veggies you should be consuming every day.
What You’ll Need
- One cup brewed green tea, cooled
- 1 banana
- 1 cup baby spinach – fresh is best, but frozen or canned is OK
- I teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- A blender
How It’s Done
- Combine all ingredients except the tea in your blender
- Blend for 30 seconds
- Add green tea
- Blend again until mixture is smooth
- Serve over ice
3. Sun Brewed Green Iced Tea
Sun brewed iced tea is an old Southern US tradition that harnesses the power of the sun (and its Vitamin D) to brew tea slowly, creating a richer, deeper tasting iced tea that many people love.
What You’ll Need
- Green tea bags
- Filtered water
- A large lidded, GLASS pitcher (plastic will not capture the sun’s rays as well)
- 3-5 hours worth of direct sunlight
How It’s Done
- Fill your pitcher with water. It does not have to be hot, sun tea is about infusion, not steeping
- Add 4-6 green tea bags (more if you are using a very large pitcher
- Place the pitcher in a spot that will receive direct sunlight for three to five hours. Outside is best in the summer, but inside on windowsill in winter works too.
- After tea has been sitting out for the required time remove pitcher lid and stir
- Remove teabags
- Stir again
- Serve over ice and refrigerate remaining tea for later consumption
- Prefer sweet tea? Add two to three packages of a stevia based sweetener at the start of the brewing process.
- Want to add a fruity twist? Add lemon slices to your brewing mixture before you put it out in the sun.
And there you have it. Hopefully we’ve inspired you to head off and pick up some green tea right now as we can assure you your skin – and lots of other parts of your body – will thank you for it. And if you know of any other tasty ways to consume green tea to help fight acne do let us know, we’d love to hear about them (and try them out!)
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