The Surprising Truth Behind Tea and Acne

If you’re like me, you need caffeine in order to function after you wake up. If you’re also like me, you may have noticed a link between your morning cup of coffee or tea and your skin – can too much caffeine really cause acne?

There’s no way I could give up my morning ritual of consuming caffeine, so I decided to dive into the research and find out what the best and worst caffeinated drinks for acne-prone skin were – and the results might surprise you.

For some folks, consuming high-quality tea isn’t just a safer choice than coffee for acne-prone skin – it can actually help treat and prevent acne from forming in the first place.

However, in other cases, some individuals with sensitivities to certain compounds found in tea, or those who struggle with hormonal acne, tea can be a real nightmare for acne-prone skin.

How do you know which camp you fall into? Is tea helping or hurting your skin?

Well, it all depends on three things: caffeine sensitivity, oxalate sensitivity, and thyroid health.

But before we get to these factors, let’s break down the benefits of tea and why if you don’t have issues with any of the factors above, it’s a great choice for clear skin, and considerably safer than coffee.

Benefits of tea for acne

Because all types of tea share the same plant (Camellia sinensis) and are just harvested and processed differently, the benefits of tea for acne are fairly consistent across the 4 main types of tea: black, green, white, and oolong (more on herbal tea later).

Certain types of tea contain more or fewer antioxidants and skin-healing properties, which we’ll go into later in the article. I also cover the pros and cons of certain antioxidants in Good Glow’s Clear Skin Resource Kit.

1. Antioxidants

Most teas contain significant amounts of antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect cells from oxidation and damage.

Antioxidants help treat acne by preventing sebum oil on the skin from oxidizing (ie: going bad). When sebum oil becomes oxidized due to hormones, damage from sunlight, or environmental factors (air pollution, smoking, etc.), it can easily block and clog pores, leading to acne infections. Antioxidants can also protect skin cells from damaging molecules known as free radicals.

One of the specific antioxidants found in tea, epigallocatechin gallate-3 (EGCG), is particularly useful at fighting acne:

  • EGCG helps prevent damage from UV rays1
  • EGCG may help prevent and treat chronic inflammation and inflammatory acne2
  • EGCG is 25 to 100 times more potent than vitamin C and vitamin E when it comes to antioxidant potential3

Drinking tea is a safe and effective way to get all the benefits of antioxidants without many risks. Studies have shown that supplementing with antioxidants might actually do more harm than good.

2. Lower Insulin Levels

Insulin is a nightmare for hormonal acne. When the body releases insulin after a meal, it also activates the release of several other acne-causing hormones and compounds, including IGF-1, IGFBP-3, and IL-1. Together, these hormones trigger just about every root cause of acne:

  • Overproduction of sebum oil and skin cells
  • Causes dead skin cells to become scaley and block pores
  • Triggers inflammation that leads to pimples

It’s no surprise that nearly half of all Americans have insulin resistance, a condition where the body releases massive amounts of insulin after meals.4

On top of the other amazing benefits that tea’s polyphenols and antioxidants offer, they also lower levels of insulin and decrease insulin resistance. Tea has been shown to blunt the effects of foods that typically spike insulin levels and increase insulin activity by 15 times.5

Those are some pretty dramatic results, and a huge plus for anyone struggling with dietary-driven hormonal acne.

Note:For more info see my full guide to Insulin, Carbs, Sugar, and Acne

3. Tea can decrease DHT levels

If you’ve read our guide to hormonal acne, you’ll know that I usually don’t recommend lowering testosterone in order to achieve clear skin, especially if you’re a male.

With that being said, lowering DHT levels (the specific male sex hormone responsible for acne) while maintaining healthy overall testosterone levels may be a generally safe and effective method at preventing and treating hormonal acne in men and women.

One study found that EGCG may be effective at preventing testosterone from converting into DHT.6 Lower DHT generally means less sebum oil, which means a lower risk for clogged pores and acne infections.

It’s worth noting that there are also studies that find green tea lowers overall testosterone production in rats. While we lack human studies to support this, it’s something to be aware of before consuming tea on a regular basis (especially if you’re a male).

4. Gut health

The polyphenols found in black and green tea may help improve your overall digestive health by acting as prebiotics.7

Prebiotics help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. A healthier gut microbiome can help with acne by leading to improved absorption of certain nutrients, like zinc, improved mood, decreased stress, and fat loss8

Still, the study from UCLA that found these prebiotic properties in tea was conducted on mice using black and green tea extracts. These prebiotic polyphenols may not have the same beneficial effect in humans or in brewed tea.

What about coffee?

In my personal experience of running the GoodGlow blog, I’ve seen ten to twenty times more people have problems with coffee than with tea.

In the eBook included in the GoodGlow Clear Skin Resource Kit, I explore a few reasons why this may be the case:

  • Tea is higher in antioxidants
  • Tea usually has a compound called L-Theanine in it, which helps promote a healthy stress response and can offset some of the effects of caffeine
  • Tea has less caffeine than coffee (oftentimes by a significant amount)
  • Most tea is less acidic than coffee, which makes it easier to digest
  • Tea intolerance seems to be far less common than coffee intolerance

Again, it’s hard to find hard data against coffee, simply because most of the studies analyzing coffee are either done by coffee producers and manufacturers, or coffee alternatives (soda companies) looking to skew research in favor of coffee alternatives, although one study did find that caffeine (without L-theanine, found in tea) can essentially double the body’s natural stress response9Lane, J. D., Adcock, R. A., Williams, R. B., & Kuhn, C. M. (1990). Caffeine effects on cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to acute psychosocial stress and their relationship to level of habitual caffeine consumption. Psychosomatic Medicine, 52(3), 320, 336., J. D., Adcock, R. A., Williams, R. B., & Kuhn, C. M. (1990). Caffeine effects on cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to acute psychosocial stress and their relationship to level of habitual caffeine consumption. Psychosomatic Medicine, 52(3), 320, 336.

Potential downsides of tea for acne

Tea isn’t some acne-curing miracle drink – just like most foods, it has its fair share of potential downsides and risks as well, especially if you struggle with any of the three factors I mentioned in the first part of this article:

  1. Caffeine sensitivity
  2. Oxalate sensitivity
  3. Thyroid issues

1. Caffeine and Acne

Caffeine can be problematic for acne-prone skin for a few reasons:

  • It tends to increase cortisol levels.11 Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. Chronic stress can lead to acne by increasing insulin levels (leading to hormonal acne) and suppressing the immune system (leading to inflammatory acne)
  • Caffeine can make it more difficult to sleep, and increase the likelihood of becoming sleep deprived. This can lead to increased levels of acne-causing hormones and a weaker immune system

Like most other compounds that can cause acne, the dosage makes the poison. Typically, tea is considerably lower in caffeine than coffee:

Not only is tea lower in caffeine overall, but one study found that black tea created considerably lower cortisol responses compared to other forms of caffeine.12

Still, if you’re drinking several cups of tea per day, you might be putting a lot of stress on your body (no pun intended) and triggering a large cortisol response. Some people might find that their skin is particularly sensitive to caffeine.

Listen to your body, and remember – everything in moderation.

2. Heavy metals, fluoride, and thyroid-driven acne

Tea shrubs and trees naturally absorb several heavy metals through their roots, including lead, aluminum, and mercury.13

While these metals can have significant consequences for your health, studies show that the vast majority of teas you can purchase show very low levels of heavy metals after steeping for 3 minutes.14

The main concern around tea and acne is fluoride.

Many individuals with adult acne claim going fluoride-free cured their cystic acne. One dermatologist even found that telling his patients not to use toothpaste with fluoride led to fewer pimples around the mouth.15 It also looks like societies with diets naturally low in fluoride have considerably less acne.16

Why is this?

Well, the main reason is that too much fluoride can lead to thyroid problems, a common cause of stubborn acne. Even a relatively small amount of fluoride found in drinking water seems to be able to significantly impact thyroid hormones. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone.

Read more  Does Drinking Green Tea Cause Acne?

Can you guess what one of the primary symptoms of hypothyroidism is?


Now, before you freak out, it’s important to note that not everyone is extremely sensitive to fluoride, and depending on the number of other nutrients in your diet (especially iodine), you might find that the fluoride in tea has little to no effect on your thyroid function. Others might find that the fluoride in tea, or even tap water, is enough to cause acne.

Iodine, which is found in salmon, egg yolks, tuna, seaweed, and other seafood, directly counteracts the effects of fluoride in the body and helps promote proper thyroid health. This makes it great for individuals who drink large quantities of tea and want to protect themselves from Thyroid-driven hormonal acne.

That’s why iodine is one of the few supplements we actually recommend that most people take.

I also find that fluorinated toothpaste leads to breakouts around the mouth, but drinking tea does not. Test it out for yourself and see what happens.

3. Tea is high in oxalates

Tea is extremely high in compounds called “oxalates”.

Again, this is something I break down in full detail in the eBook in the GoodGlow Clear Skin Resource Kit, but I’ll summarize it here…

Oxalates are antinutrients that bind to calcium in the blood and which can lead to things like kidney stones or inflammation. While kidney stones are not good, we’ll focus on the inflammation aspect of oxalates because this directly pertains to acne.

Oxalates are a highly debated and contentious topic in the world of antinutrients. Some nutritionists and experts claim that oxalates present little to no health risks, while others (especially in the carnivore diet community) claim that they’re among the most damaging.

One study found that oxalates may be responsible for, wide variety of other health problems related to inflammation, auto-immunity, mitochondrial dysfunction, mineral balance, connective tissue integrity, urinary tract issues, and poor gut function,17Mercola, J. (2019, November 10). The Damaging Effects of Oxalates on the Human Body. Retrieved February 2, 2021, from Mercola website:

With regards to acne, what we’re concerned with is oxalate’s effect on inflammation.

Inflammation is the process that takes a relatively harmless and routine bacterial infection on the skin and turns it into a red, protruding, painful cyst or comedone – in other words, a pimple.

I’ve written a full guide on Inflammation and Acne, but the key thing to understand is that without inflammation, acne doesn’t become visible and noticeable.

If your body doesn’t fire an inflammatory response, there’s no redness, no bumps, and no pimples – what this means with regards to tea is that if you trigger an inflammatory response every time you consume tea due to the oxalate content, then you’re putting yourself in a position for more inflammatory acne.

This won’t be the case for everyone, and in fact, many researchers believe small amounts of oxalates are beneficial, however, if you eat a pretty clean diet and still can’t figure out the culprit, it may be oxalates.

Watch out for low-Quality/Commercial Tea

While it might seem like that cold, sweet tea from your favorite fast-food joint is a relatively skin-friendly choice, you’d be sadly mistaken.

If you’re adding sugar to your tea, or buying sweetened, pre-made tea beverages, then you’re not doing your skin any favors. These drinks are extremely high in sugar, which causes rapid spikes in blood sugar and triggers a large insulin response, which can lead to hormonal acne.

A single bottle of sweetened iced tea can have as much sugar as a soda.

Also, don’t expect the antioxidants in bottled or ready-made tea to help you out much.

While it’s true that tea is high in antioxidants, and more particularly, EGCG, the USDA found that ready-to-drink and instant teas had practically no EGCG.18 This means that your favorite grab-and-go tea is probably missing out on practically all the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of regular brewed tea.

Best teas for acne

Overall, pretty much every type of tea is a solid choice for clear skin, and each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. There isn’t really a single “best” tea for acne, as long as you consume it in moderation.

It’s not the type of tea that matters, it’s the quality of the tea and how often you drink it.

If you’re constantly drinking sweetened iced tea or 8 cups of caffeinated tea a day, it’s not going to matter how many antioxidants you’re adding to your diet – too much sugar, caffeine, and heavy metals can cause acne.

That’s why I generally recommend consuming high-quality, organic tea with no artificial additives or sweeteners in moderation.

Depending on your skin, preferences, caffeine tolerance, and budget, different types of tea make sense for different people.

Black Tea

Black tea is the most popular form of tea and the type with the most proven benefits, alongside green tea.

Black tea is great for acne for a few reasons:

  • Compounds in black tea increase insulin sensitivity. This leads to lower levels of insulin after meals (insulin is a very problematic acne-causing hormone)19
  • Black tea may promote a balanced gut microbiome and fight off harmful bacteria20
  • Contains antioxidants and polyphenols that help protect the skin from free radicals

There are a few potential downsides to black tea for acne-prone skin.

  • Black tea has the highest concentration of caffeine out of any type of tea. Too much caffeine can cause acne by increasing cortisol levels and making it more difficult to sleep
  • Black tea tends to have pretty high levels of fluoride (1.9mg per liter), which can be a major cause of adult acne

Because it’s the most popular type of tea, there is also an increased risk of black tea drinks and products containing acne-causing sweeteners, heavy metals, and toxins. For this reason, it’s best to purchase organic, single-origin tea with no added sugar whenever possible.

I drink black tea less than other teas, but still, I enjoy Numi Organic’s Aged Earl Grey.

Note: I recommend Numi Organic Tea for a few reasons: it’s organic, sustainably sourced, and contains no added oils or flavoring. Still, there are plenty of other brands out therethat make solid, organic tea bags and loose leaves if you don’t like Numi.

Green Tea

You can’t talk about skin-clearing drinks without talking about green tea.

Without a doubt, the largest benefit of green tea is that it’s loaded with skin-clearing antioxidants. Green tea generally has more antioxidants than any other type of tea.

In particular, it’s loaded with EGCG (151mg / cup), an antioxidant that can help decrease levels of acne-causing hormones and sebum oil, prevent inflammation, and protect the skin from sun damage and acne-causing free radicals.

Green tea contains 35-45mg of caffeine per cup, which is about average when it comes to caffeinated teas. Still, it’s about three times less caffeine than a cup of coffee, and, like black tea, was shown to have only a moderate effect on stress hormones compared to other forms of caffeine.21

Unfortunately, green tea is also very high in fluoride, containing roughly 1.6mg per liter.22 That’s about the same as two cups of tap water in the United States. Again, you’ll want to see if you’re sensitive to fluoride or not. Personally, I can drink green tea every day without issue, but toothpaste with fluoride causes pimples around my mouth.

Choosing the right green tea is tricky. If you’ve read our article on matcha green tea, you probably know that matcha is superior because of its extremely high concentration of antioxidants. One study found that matcha had 137 times more EGCG than a popular Chinese-grown green tea and three times more EGCG than green teas found in other scientific studies.23

More antioxidants mean more protection from free radicals, less sebum oil, lower inflammation, and less insulin. The end result? Less acne.

I prefer Numi Organic Ceremonial-Grade Matcha Powder, but you can also get them in tea bags as well. They’re both organic and sourced from Japan, so they’ll have fewer heavy metals than green tea from China.

At the end of the day though, I wouldn’t sweat it too much – high-quality green tea is high-quality green tea regardless of whether or not it’s matcha. Don’t feel like you need to break the bank just because matcha has more antioxidants.

White Tea

White tea is the least processed tea and also arguably the safest caffeinated tea for acne-prone skin.

  • White tea has the lowest caffeine content of any caffeinated tea (15-30mg / cup)
  • Very high levels of antioxidants, including ECGC (46mg / cup)
  • Low levels of fluoride and heavy metals
  • Bonus: Won’t stain your teeth like black tea

White tea isn’t studied in medical or nutritional literature nearly as much as black or green tea, so our knowledge of its potential benefits is a bit more limited.

White tea with a dash of added matcha is my go-to morning beverage. I feel a bit more comfortable with white tea than green tea thanks to the low fluoride content. I drink either Numi Organic White Roseor a local loose-leaf white tea I buy occasionally when I’m feeling sophisticated.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a pretty rare tea. It’s mainly consumed in China and requires a much longer and more intensive brewing process than other teas.

Oolong tea is right between green tea and black tea when it comes to caffeine content, with 37 – 55mg per cup. Again, that’s still less than half the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee.

It has more antioxidants (EGCG) than black tea (81.58mg / cup) and shows pretty much the same benefits for acne that other teas containing ECGC show: lower inflammation, less insulin, protection against UV and free radical damage.

If you struggle with eczema, oolong tea might be a unique solution. One study found that 63% of patients with eczema noticed an improvement in their skin after one month of consuming a liter of oolong tea per day.24

Oolong tea has about as much fluoride as your typical black or green tea (1.32 mg/Liter), so on that front, it may be problematic for individuals with thyroid issues.25

I don’t drink oolong tea, but if you’re interested in it, Numi Organic makes a high-quality whole leaf oolong tea.

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea isn’t really “tea” in the traditional sense.

While all the other types of tea come from the same plant, camellia sinensis, herbal tea is a collection of herbs, spices, and dried plants that have a similar effect to tea when steeped in hot water.

Read more  Effects of Melatonin Supplementation on Hormonal, Inflammatory, Genetic, and Oxidative Stress Parameters in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

That doesn’t mean that herbal tea isn’t beneficial for acne – in a sense, it’s actually the “tea” for acne-prone skin because it doesn’t have any caffeine. It’s also extremely low in fluoride (0.02 – 0.09mg/Liter).26

Common ingredients in herbal tea, like turmeric, spearmint, peppermint, lemon, ginger, and rose, have pretty powerful effects, ranging from improving digestive health to lowering inflammation and insulin levels. They might not single-handedly cure your acne, but they can be a great substitute for sugary drinks or even regular tea if you’re sensitive to caffeine.

Again, I go with Numi Organic Tumeric Tea, mainly for the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric.


Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been popular for centuries. It is made by fermenting a combination of bacteria and yeast in water. Komucha is extrmely antioxidant dense and contains high levels of vitamin B, vitamin c, folic acid, and calcium. Because of its rich nutrient profile Kombucha is great for anyone looking to decrease inflammation. People use Komcha for dozens of different health issues including weight loss, stomach issues and detoxification. While Komucha alone will not instantly cure acne, its detoxifying properties are great for your skin. 

Basil Tea

Basil is an extremely nutrient rich herb that most people believe is only good to be used as a seasoning. The truth is basil is loaded with antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. It is high in vitamins C & A and is very inexpensive. Many people like drinking basil tea or creating a DIY face mask as a topical application to reduce breakouts. I highly recommend using the face mask for acne scarring and the tea for general health and anti-inflammatory purposes. If you are looking for a face mask that utilizes basil without having to make it yourself I highly recommend using Clearstem’s Pre-game Face Mask.  It contains holy basil which is anti microbial, anti-inflammatory, and is great for hydrating dry skin. 

Licorice Tea

Although most people here the word licorice and immediately think of candy, natural licorice root has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years in Asia. Natural licorice root is packed with antioxidants and is great for soothing inflammed skin. Many people drink licorice tea and use licorice as a toner to reduce the swelling and puffiness caused by pimples. If you want to stick with a Natural solution licorice is great for dealing with both bacterial and fungal acne due to its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is is actually derived from the daisy flower and has been used as a form of alternative medicine almost as long as licorice. Many women dealing with PMS or cramps have found lots of success drinking chamomile tea to ease their symptoms. While chamomile tea is defintiely an “acne-safe” drink don’t expect it to instantly clear your acne if you start drinking it. While chamomile tea is anti-inflammatory drinking it will reduce inflammation enough to completely clear your acne. 

Chamomile is also frequently found in many skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. However, be wary of using products with chamomile as an ingredient. Typically these types of products contain other comedogenic ingredients. If you wan tto use a chamomile infused product either make it yourself or scrutizine the ingredients list!

Putting it all together

Overall, tea is usually a great choice for acne-prone skin.

The antioxidants in tea can protect the skin from environmental and UV damage, lower inflammation, heal the gut, and reduce levels of acne-causing hormones.

The downsides of tea are pretty minor, and only become serious threats for acne if you consume massive quantities of low-quality tea. Caffeine overconsumption and the high-fluoride content in tea are really what you want to look out for, especially if you have a thyroid issue. Teas with added sugars or oils can also be a problem for acne-prone skin.

Would I recommend tea over other caffeinated drinks, like coffee?

Quite frankly, I would. I think tea is a generally safer choice than coffee for acne-prone skin thanks to its lower caffeine content, cortisol-reducing effects, and antioxidants.

Again, you need to figure out what works for your own body. Some people might find that fluoride or caffeine in tea causes acne. If this is the case, or you’ve tried cleaning up your diet with the GoodGlow Clean Skin Resource Kitand are still experiencing acne, you might want to try cutting out tea for a month or so to see if it has any effect on your skin. Everyone’s skin is different and unique – listen to your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

— Update: 30-12-2022 — found an additional article Does Drinking Green Tea Cause Acne? from the website for the keyword can green tea cause hormonal acne.

July 27, 2020

Can green tea cause hormonal acne

Having acne is frustrating. Washing this with facial wash does not help either. Logging entries on your food diary and identifying the food or drink that causes acne can be effective, but how about the acne scars and lesions? It will take time to heal those. Another best solution for faster acne scar recovery aside from putting topical medication, avoiding milk, and not eating specific foods is drinking green tea or using green tea bags for pimples. You are wondering now if green tea is effective. Let’s find out!

According to an article from NCBI National Library of Medicine, a randomized clinical trial was conducted for almost 1 year and the result was the reduction in cholesterol level and lesions inflammation. Green tea’s catechins (antioxidants) particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) are the ones that help in fighting inflammation and swelling. Not only green tea bags can cure pimples and acne scars, but also can help you flush toxins, and boost your immune system.

Green Tea Acne Beauty Hacks

On boiled water, steep the green tea as if you will be drinking it or as per package instruction. Let it cool then, dip a cotton ball or a washcloth and dab it on the pimple. Store the remaining green tea on a spray bottle or a cleanser bottle.  Green tea helps in fighting hormonal imbalance through reducing blood sugar and decreasing insulin levels where in effect, less sebum oil production or oily skin. Sebum, mixed with dirt and sweat, is often the culprit behind large and inflamed pimples.

For the leftover cool green tea bags, get the leaves out of those bags, mix these with honey (face mask) or brown sugar (face scrub), and leave the mixture on your face for 15-30 minutes if using as face mask (honey) or massage the face for 10 minutes if using as face scrub (brown sugar) then, rinse.

Topical skincare products with green tea and caffeine are known to be effective in reducing breakouts. These do not make the skin too dry unlike with benzoyl peroxide and retinol. Safer to drink and use too unlike with acne pills where you are not sure if it is safe to take this without side effects.

Other Green Tea Beauty Benefits

You can use the green tea leaves as pimple drier, face mask, face scrub, and fat burner. Since green tea has mild caffeine, you can drink it at least 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. Drinking caffeine improves your performance when you workout since this will make you become alert and awake. It also helps with weight loss by suppressing your appetite especially when you take 1-2 cups before dinner. Green tea keeps you hydrated as well and makes you eat less.


A safe beauty and health drink product indeed. It does not mean that you will drink as much green tea as you want. Just use these on your skin correctly and drink in moderation like 2-3 cups a day. Green tea is one of the best natural drink alternatives to water.

Related Articles You May Be Interested

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If you have ever thought that Green Tea is an “acquired taste” or that it is “too bitter” to enjoy, we’re here to change your mind! We want everyone to experience the health benefits of Green Tea and show you that this can be an amazing, refreshing, and delicious drink when made correctly. With just a few tips on how to brew this powerful leaf we can change your mind about the taste and enjoyment of drinking Green Tea.

Don’t miss out on the health benefits of tea!

  • Improve health
  • Increase brain function
  • Regulate weight
  • Lower your risk of cancers
  • Reduce risk of heart disease
  • Lowers risk of diabetes

We know that you will love this tips to brewing tea and getting the most flavor and elegance out of every cup.  Sign up for Free Japanese Green Tea Club and get this great informative manual on brewing green tea. You will learn what it is that makes it one of the most popular beverages in the world.

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— Update: 30-12-2022 — found an additional article Can Green Tea Help Treat Acne? How To Use It from the website for the keyword can green tea cause hormonal acne.

Green tea is excellent for maintaining your overall health. It is also used in skin care products for its skin-soothing benefits. However, there have been claims that using green tea for acne can help ease the symptoms. Is there any truth to the claim?

Green tea is rich in polyphenols, a type of potent antioxidant. According to a study, topical tea polyphenols may soothe and heal mild to moderate acne (1). Moreover, there are other beneficial compounds in green tea, which may help reduce inflammation and acne.

While you can consume green tea, you can also use it topically to soothe mild to moderate acne. Scroll down to learn the ways green tea may work for your acne and DIY remedies you may try.

Does Green Tea Help Acne? What Are The Benefits?

Yes, green tea may help you deal with acne vulgaris because of the following benefits:

1. It Helps Reduce Inflammation

Green tea is rich in catechins. Out of the four major catechins identified in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has been found to be beneficial in treating acne and rosacea. It works by reducing inflammation. In a study, the application of 2% green tea lotion was found to reduce inflammatory acne (1).

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EGCG is a powerful antioxidant and has immunomodulatory and photoprotective properties. It also has antiangiogenic (meaning, it reduces the growth of new blood vessels needed by the tumors for growth) and anti-inflammatory effects (2).

2. It Helps Reduce Sebum Production

Excess production of sebumXThe natural oils produced by sebaceous glands that keep your skin hydrated. is one of the main causes of acne. The topical application of green tea can help in reducing sebum secretion and treating acne.

A study involving 22 non-smoking, healthy men examined the effect of a 5% topical green tea extract for 60 days. The researchers found a significant reduction in sebum secretion (1).

Drinking green tea may also help in reducing sebum production and control acne.

3. The Polyphenols In Green Tea Help Reduce Acne

Green tea polyphenols are potent antioxidants. A clinical trial examined the effect of 2% tea lotion on 47 subjects with mild to moderate acne. After two weeks, the researchers observed a therapeutic effect on acne lesions (1).

4. It Helps Reduce Acne-causing Bacteria

An 8-week study found that EGCG, one of the four major catechins in green tea, could help reduce acne by inhibiting the growth of P. acnes bacteria (3).

These studies are not conclusive, and further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness and benefits of green tea on acne. Also, note that green tea or any other home remedy may not work for cystic and hormonal acne. You need to consult a doctor for proper treatment.

However, if you have mild to moderate acne, you may try using (or consuming) green tea at home to manage your condition. Here are a few recipes that you may try at home.

How To Use Green Tea For Acne: Easy Home Remedies

1. Honey And Green Tea For Acne

Honey has antimicrobialXPreventing the spread of microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause infections and diseases. and wound-healing properties. It can inhibit the growth of P. acnes bacteria and help reduce acne (4).

You Will Need

  • 1 green tea bag
  • 1 tablespoon organic honey
  • Hot water
  • Facial cleanser
  • Towel


  1. Steep a green tea bag in hot water for about 3 minutes.
  2.  Remove the bag and let it cool. Cut open the bag and extract the leaves.
  3.  Add the honey to the leaves.
  4.  Wash your face with a facial cleanser and pat it dry.
  5.  Apply the honey and green tea mixture to your face and leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  6. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.

How Often?

  • 3-4 times a week.

2. Green Tea Face Mist For Acne

This facial mist will help soothe your skin. It helps minimizes redness and treats existing acne. The EGCG in green tea helps manage acne. This treatment can be more effective if you also consume green tea regularly.

You Will Need

  • Facial cleanser
  • Green tea
  • Spray bottle
  • Non-comedogenicXA product or ingredient that does not clog skin pores. moisturizer
  • Towel


  1. Brew some green tea and let it cool completely. (You can drink most of it and spare 2-3 tablespoons for this treatment.)
  2. Pour the cooled green tea into a spray bottle.
  3. Wash your face with a facial cleanser and pat it dry with a towel.
  4. Spritz the green tea on your face and let it dry.
  5. Rinse with cold water and pat your skin dry with a towel.
  6.  Apply moisturizer.

How Often?

  • 2 times a day.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar And Green Tea For Acne

There is no study proving the acne-fighting abilities of ACV. However, ACV is a popular home remedy for various skin issues. It is thought to help tone the skin and minimize skin pores. It may also balance the pH levels of your skin. You can use this concoction as a facial toner after cleansing your face.

You Will Need

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup brewed green tea
  • Non-comedogenic moisturizer
  • Facial cleanser
  • Towel
  • Cotton pad
  • Glass jar


  1. Brew some green tea and let it cool completely.
  2. Combine the cooled green tea and apple cider vinegar and pour it into a glass jar for storage. (Store the mixture in your fridge.)
  3.  Wash your face with a facial cleanser and pat it dry with a towel.
  4. Saturate a cotton pad with the mixture and dab it on your face. Let it dry.
  5.  Apply moisturizer.

How Often?

  • 2 times a day.

4. Tea Tree Oil And Green Tea For Acne

Topical tea tree oil (5%) is known to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne (5). It has strong antimicrobial properties that are effective against acne.

You Will Need

  • ½ cup green tea
  • 3-4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • Cotton pad
  • Facial cleanser
  • Non-comedogenic moisturizer
  • Towel


  1. Brew some green tea and let it cool completely.
  2. Combine the cooled green tea and tea tree oil and pour it into a glass jar for storage. (Store the mixture in your fridge.)
  3.  Wash your face with a facial cleanser and pat it dry with a towel.
  4. Saturate a cotton pad with the mixture and dab it on your face. Let it dry. Shake well before using.
  5. Apply moisturizer.

How Often?

  • 2 times a day.

5. Aloe Vera And Green Tea For Acne

Aloe vera has an anti-acne effect on the skin. The mucopolysaccharidesXSugar molecule chains present throughout the body, especially in the mucus and fluids around the joints. present in it help to keep your skin hydrated by binding moisture to the skin and stimulate the fibroblastsXCells that form connective tissues and produce collagen proteins that uphold the tissue connectivity framework. that produce collagen and elastin to keep your skin young and plump (6).

You Will Need

  • 2 green tea bags
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh aloe vera gel
  • Cotton pad
  • Facial cleanser
  • Non-comedogenic moisturizer
  • Towel


  1. Steep two bags of green tea in a cup of boiling water to get a strong solution. Allow the solution to cool.
  2. Combine the cooled green tea and aloe vera gel and pour it into a glass jar for storage. (Store the mixture in your fridge.)
  3. Wash your face with a facial cleanser and pat it dry with a towel.
  4. Saturate a cotton pad with the mixture and dab it onto your face. Let it dry.
  5. Apply your moisturizer.

How Often?

  • 2 times a day.

6. Lemon And Green Tea For Acne

Lemon juice contains vitamin C and citric acid. It is part of many popular home remedies and is used for its astringent properties. It is said to tighten the skin pores and have mild bleaching properties. Together with green tea, lemon juice can help keep your skin free from acne. However, it can make your skin photosensitive, so apply sunscreen whenever you go out.

You Will Need

  • ¼ cup green tea
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Cotton pad
  • Facial cleanser
  • Non-comedogenic moisturizer
  • Towel


  1. Brew a quarter cup of green tea and let it cool completely.
  2.  Mix the cooled green tea with the juice of a lemon and pour it into a glass jar for storage. (Store the mixture in your fridge.)
  3. Wash your face with a facial cleanser and pat it dry with a towel.
  4. Saturate a cotton pad with the mixture and dab it onto your face. Let it dry.
  5. Apply moisturizer.

How Often?

  • 2 times a day.

7. Olive Oil And Green Tea For Acne

Olive oil is one of the best options for oil cleansing. Oil cleansing helps to clean traces of makeup and dirt without upsetting the natural balance of your skin. Applying green tea brew on your face helps to calm it down and reduce inflammation.

You Will Need

  • Facial cleanser
  • Green tea
  • Spray bottle
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Towel


  1. Brew some green tea and let it cool completely. (You can drink most of it and spare 2-3 tablespoons for this treatment.)
  2. Pour the cooled green tea into a spray bottle.
  3. Massage the olive oil on your face. Let it stay for a few minutes.
  4. Dip a washcloth in warm water, wring it, and wipe your face with the cloth.
  5. Wash your face with a facial cleanser and pat it dry with a towel.
  6. Spritz the green tea on your face and let it dry.

How Often?

  • Every day.

Apart from the home remedies, there is another way to use green tea for acne. You can buy powdered or liquid green tea extract with EGCG, mix it with your favorite cream, and apply it to your skin. These extracts are easily available online.

Green Tea For Acne: Tips To Pick The Best Quality Green Tea

Picking the right green tea with the highest levels of antioxidants (especially EGCG) is tricky. The content of antioxidants varies from brand to brand. You need to be careful before you choose your brew. Whether it is for drinking or topical application, selecting the right green tea is essential to reap the maximum benefits. Here are some tips to keep in mind while picking your brew:

Do a bit of research. Check the label of the brand and see the amount of EGCG it has per serving. Browse their website and find out the EGCG levels. Choose the one with the highest EGCG content.

Loose leaves have a higher antioxidant content than tea bags. However, if you cannot find loose leaves, you may pick tea bags with the highest EGCG content.
Green tea has a shelf life of only 6 months. Make sure you are picking a fresh batch of green tea. As time passes, the freshness of green tea and its benefits diminish fast.
Look at the harvest time. The first harvest of green tea is always the best than the second one. The first harvest has the highest quality leaves, and they are picked during the early months of the year (between March and April). Always buy first harvest green tea.
Pick organic green tea. This ensures that the green tea is harvested without any pesticides and other chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best green tea brand for acne?

Pick any organic brand and check the label for its antioxidant content. Usually, Japanese brands are considered the best. You will easily get them online.

What are the other best teas for acne?

All teas may not have the same effect on acne as green tea. However, drinking herbal teas may boost your antioxidant levels. You may try other teas, such as rooibos tea, chamomile tea, spearmint tea, dandelion tea, and ginger tea.

Can green tea clear dark spots?

Possibly. In fact, in a study, green tea had demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of melasma (7).


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About the Author: Tung Chi