Can Drinking Spearmint Tea Help with Acne?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Does spearmint tea work for acne?

Spearmint tea is brewed from the leaves of the spearmint plant, also known as Mentha spicata. The plant has small, spiky flowers that are pink, white, or lavender. The leaves have a sweet, mint fragrance.

Spearmint tea has several properties that could make it a good treatment for some acne types:

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties
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According to an article in the Journal of Medicinal Food, spearmint tea contains compounds called polyphenols (specifically rosmarinic acid) that has anti- inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.

Anti-androgen properties

Androgens are male hormones, including testosterone. An excess of these hormones can lead to acne in some people, particularly teenagers, because they cause overproduction of sebum that can clog pores.

It’s the anti-hormone potential of spearmint tea that has the internet buzzing about its skincare effects. A quick Google search reveals blog posts and Reddit threads dedicated to those who testify to the benefits of drinking spearmint tea for their hormonal acne.

What you won’t see is any research about the spearmint tea and acne connection, specifically.

Proposed benefits for acne are largely anecdotal
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The proposed benefits of spearmint tea for acne are mostly anecdotal from people who have tried the approach. Studies point to properties that could be skin- benefiting, but it’s hard to predict just how spearmint tea could affect the skin.

What are the proven benefits of spearmint tea?

Botanical researchers have periodically examined the benefits of spearmint treatments to reduce a number of health conditions. Here are a few examples:

These are just some of the examples of potential spearmint benefits, but they aren’t widely researched on large populations of people.

Are there any downsides to drinking spearmint tea?

Spearmint tea is not poisonous, and doctors usually associate it with few side effects. Some people may find if they drink spearmint tea in large quantities, they experience vomiting or diarrhea.

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While the exact “large quantity” is not specified, limiting your intake to two to three cups a day may put you on the safe side.

What about mint tea?

Peppermint tea, or simply mint tea, is a hybrid combination of two mint varieties. The first is spearmint and the second is water mint or Mentha aquatica. The addition of water mint to spearmint alters the herb’s taste.

Spearmint is lower in menthol, the compound that gives the plant its minty properties, compared to peppermint. This means spearmint usually has a sweeter, milder flavor while peppermint hits your taste buds with a stronger, mint “zing.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, there’s a small body of evidence that supports the idea that peppermint oil may have the following beneficial effects:

  • reducing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in adults who take it in coated capsules
  • lessening tension headaches when applied topically
  • reducing spasms during certain gastrointestinal procedures, such as an upper endoscopy or barium enema
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These benefits are more related to topical applications or swallowing a pill- coated form. There isn’t a lot of conclusive research about drinking mint tea.

Talk with a doctor

While natural treatments can help acne, there are a variety of medical approaches available. If you’ve tried to manage your acne at home through regular face washing, exfoliation, and spot treatments, but you aren’t seeing results, it may be time to call a skin care professional.

Dermatologists specialize in acne treatments and can examine your skin to help determine what treatments may help your specific skin type.

Some signs it’s time to see a dermatologist include:

  • at-home treatments aren’t working
  • your acne is painful
  • you are experiencing scarring related to your acne
  • your acne makes you feel self-conscious
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Many treatments are out there. A dermatologist can help you determine where to begin.

Takeaway

Spearmint tea is a proposed acne treatment, likely because of its potential to exert anti-androgen effects on the body. There isn’t any research noting how much tea to drink or for how long, so it’s difficult to say if this approach would work.

Because there aren’t a lot of side effects related to spearmint tea, it may be worth conducting your own experiment at home. However, if the tea doesn’t work, or your acne symptoms worsen, it may be time to contact a dermatologist.

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