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Acne is a skin condition that affects up to 50 million people in the US every year with children and young adults between the ages of 12 and 24 being most affected. It does get better with age, but if you’re suffering right now, that probably isn’t going to be too comforting. So in this article, I’ll dive into the research on spearmint tea and look at whether or not it could be an effective way to stop hormonal acne.
Spearmint tea is refreshing and widely used for flavoring of different food products, sweets, teas, and supplements. And not only does it taste great, but it also has a number of beneficial effects, which might include helping people who are suffering from acne.
Spearmint has been known now for many years to have significant anti-androgen effects even in low amounts .
Spearmint tea can reduce hormones associated with acne
In 2007, a study was published which examined the effect of spearmint tea on women with hirsutism. They found that women who consumed 2 cups of spearmint tea for 5 days had a decrease in free testosterone and an increase in luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and estrogen.
Testosterone in both men and women affects the subcutaneous glands and can make the skin excessively oily, which can cause blocked pores and cause inflammation and acne. Estrogen, on the other hand, has the opposite effect and can reduce the formation of acne.
The study concluded that spearmint tea could be effective as a mild anti-androgen in women .
In a second study published in 2010, researchers looked to see whether or not spearmint was effective for women who have elevated levels of androgens due to a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. Symptoms of this condition can include acne and increased hirsutism.
Forty-two volunteers took part in the 30-day randomized clinical study where half of them consumed spearmint tea twice a day and the other half took the placebo herbal tea. Hormones were measured on day 0, 15, and 30 days to see if spearmint was effective at suppressing androgens.
By the end of the study, patients reported that their condition had significantly improved, and both total testosterone and free testosterone was significantly reduced in the treatment group and not in the controls who took the placebo herbal tea .
Given these findings, spearmint tea could be helpful in women who are suffering from hormonal-related acne. There are many anecdotal reports that spearmint tea is effective for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.
For example, many women on makeupalley shared their stories on how spearmint tea completely resolved their acne. Some women also tried using spearmint supplements and found that these were as effective as drinking tea.
Other supplements that were synergistic with spearmint tea for acne (according to multiple user reviews) were zinc, and vitamin D. I’ve discussed before how zinc is highly effective at controlling acne in men and women. Vitamin D has also been shown to help reduce the severity of acne.
Other ways spearmint can help improve your skin
Aside from the anti-androgen effects of spearmint tea, the herb also contains various polyphenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid which has multiple beneficial effects on health by acting as an anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, and can improve skin conditions such as acne by suppressing inflammation caused by pathogens such as P. acnes, one of the main culprits in the development of acne .
The possible anti-diabetic effect of spearmint might also be beneficial because we know that high blood glucose can impair the immune system’s ability to fight infection and heal wounds .
How long will spearmint tea take to work for acne?
It’s important to realize that acne can form under the skin many weeks before it surfaces and you see a pimple. Even under the best acne treatment protocols, it’s recommended that you wait at least 12 weeks before you notice an improvement in your acne.
While using spearmint tea won’t be an immediate miracle cure, it could help you on your way to clearer skin within a few week’s time. You just have to be patient and wait for things to settle down. Any new acne breakouts that you might experience in the first weeks of drinking the tea could be as a result of acne that was already forming.
However, even though your acne might take a few weeks to improve, you might notice an improvement in how your skin looks and feels within a matter of days because of the anti-androgen effects of spearmint, which will reduce oil production in the subcutaneous glands.
You will improve your chances of spearmint working by making sure that your diet is healthy and you’re not consuming foods that may cause acne flare-ups. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I recommend that you read my post on which deficiencies and foods can cause acne.
I also recommend that you supplement with zinc picolinate because many studies have shown that zinc is an effective treatment for many people who suffer from acne, especially people who are deficient.
Spearmint tea has a mild aroma, is refreshing to drink, and has many health benefits associated with it. While there is no direct evidence available for the use of spearmint tea against acne, there are several studies published in animals and in humans which shows that drinking between two to five cups of spearmint tea per day can have significant anti-androgen effects, reducing both total and free testosterone.
Androgens, mainly testosterone, is one of the main hormones responsible for contributing to the pathogenesis of acne and increases its severity. Therefore, due to spearmint being an effective anti-androgen in women, it could be useful for combating hormonal acne.