Green Tea for Acne : Can It Help?

Acne is one of the most common chronic skin disorder affecting millions of people across the globe.

It is characterized by the outbreak of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and inflammations along with redness and marks on the skin. It mostly stays limited to the face and neck region.

In this article shall talk about one such remedy, green tea.

What is Green tea?

Green tea originated in China and is made from the leaves and buds of Camellia Sinensis that have gone minimum oxidation process.

The fame of white tea is growing first in Asia and now spreading towards the West.

It is used as a raw material for extracts of certain drinks and dietary supplements along with other beverages.

The various kinds and varieties of green tea that is grown may differ because of differing conditions of growth.

The product value of green tea as a beneficiary of health in general has grown over the years.

Apart from boosting the strength of the immune system in general, it is believed to effectively reduce risks of cancer and cardiovascular diseases while at the same time, helping to reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol, lower blood pressure and maintain digestive bacteria balance.

A cup of green tea is supposed to possess a higher concentration of flavonoids than fresh fruit or vegetable juices or even wine. This is the main ingredient that gives green tea such a health boost.

Flavonoids are certain phytochemicals that are responsible for properties like anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic functions in green tea, which helps it in fighting diseases and strengthening the immune system.

How does green tea treat acne?

Green tea contains a kind of polyphenol known as catechins which exhibits really powerful antioxidant properties.

It helps in neutralizing the free radical which helps in the prevention of cell damage and thereby protects our skin from the possible damage caused by the acne-causing bacteria and even repairs it.

Catechin is an antioxidant, even more, powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E.

Green tea contains a catechin known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is 20 - 100 times more powerful than other vitamins.

These catechins also exhibit anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and are therefore effective in fighting off the bacteria and also reducing the inflammation caused due to it.

Green tea is widely consumed in the form of regular tea even when taking it as a treatment for acne. However, it is possible to use it as a mask as well along with other different ways.

Enumerated below are various ways in which green tea can be used to treat acne:

  • Green tea cleanser: For this, you will need 2 bags of green tea and half a cup of boiled water. Keep the tea bags in boiled water for around 15 minutes after which it should be left to cool down. This can be used either after the water is cold enough or when it is hot. The steam of hot water ill open up the clogged skin pores for better cleaning.
  • Green tea toner: The procedure for making the toner remains the same as the cleanser, only its application differs. Use a cotton ball to apply it on the face and leave it on for approximately 10 minutes before taking a bath. This shall make your skin glowing and soft.
  • Green tea exfoliate: Add 2 tablespoon of powdered sugar to the preparation made for cleansing in order to make it into a textured paste. Apply this on your face with your fingertips and leave it on for about 10 to 15 minutes, till it dries after which you can wash it off with lukewarm water. This will remove the dead skin cells and unclog your pores.
  • Other combination masks: You can use green tea with other remedies like honey, curd or olive oil by mixing these ingredients along with green tea cleansing preparation in equal ratio. The paste thus prepared can be applied on the affected area or face and left to dry for about 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off.

Benefits of using green tea

The benefits of green tea are numerous and can be divided into two sub-headings.

The first one shall talk about specific skin benefits while the other will elaborate general health benefits:

Skin benefits: 

  • When used topically along with a sunscreen, it helps in protection against sun damage. The antioxidant property neutralizes the free radicals and also protects against inflammations caused by sunburn
  • It helps in the condition of psoriasis by slowing down the process of excess skin cell production which seems the main cause of this disorder
  • Its antioxidant property along with the calming effect it has helped in reducing the redness caused by Rosacea and is more effective than a placebo
  • Being the antioxidant that it is, it prevents the formation of wrinkles and other signs of aging on the skin

General health: 

  • It increases metabolism and intensifies fat oxidation which facilitates weight loss
  • It helps regulate glucose levels and thereby controls high blood sugar helping in the control of diabetes
  • It keeps the lining of blood vessels relaxed and also prevents clotting thereby minimizing risks of heart attack
  • It is believed to kill cancer cells in general though it specifically prevents esophageal cancer
  • Green tea reduces bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol
  • It also tends to delay the mental deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Green tea prevents throat and tooth infection
  • It reduces risks of high blood pressure
  • Theanine amino acid, found in green tea, tends to provide a tranquilizing and calming effect, thereby helping in cases of depression
  • The catechin contents are anti viral and anti bacterial in content and help in dealing with various infections

Possible Issues associated with green tea consumption

Green tea is mostly safe for consumption; however, there are some rare cases of side effects. Whatever side effects it leads to is mostly because of the presence of caffeine in the tea. Some of them are enumerated below:

  • It may lead to an upset stomach and constipation
  • It has caused liver problems in extremely rare cases
  • Headache, insomnia, and heartburn
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and nervousness
  • Dizziness and convulsions
  • 10 to 14 grams of green tea can be fatal. Lower amounts can lead to toxicity
  • The tannins in green tea leads to reduced absorption of iron which may cause iron deficiency anemia
  • When taken in very high dosage, it might facilitate increased flushing out of calcium in urine which can lead to higher risks of osteoporosis

Precautions while using green tea

Though cases of severe side effects are very rare and mostly related to the extreme overdosage, you must observe the following precautions while using green tea:

  • Since it contains caffeine, it is usually advisable to avoid green tea during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. In case you want to consume it, the quantity must be restricted to not more than two cups a day
  • It can worsen the situation of anemia
  • Caffeine might increase risks of bleeding. You should avoid green tea if you have a bleeding disorder
  • A diabetic patient must monitor his/her blood sugar regularly if consuming green tae as it tends to affect blood sugar level
  • The caffeine in green tea might worsen irritable bowel syndrome
  • It might cause Glaucoma

Green tea possible interactions

Green tea might interact with the undermentioned medications or herbs and thus the use of it in these combinations must be avoided:

  • It reacts with stimulant drugs like amphetamines, cocaine, ephedrine and can speed up the heartbeat or nervous system
  • The caffeine might block the effects of adenosine
  • Antibiotics taken along with green tea decreases the rate at which caffeine is broken down in the body and therefore increases the risks of side effects
  • Birth control pills also tend to decrease the rate of caffeine breakdown and might increase risks of side effects. Estrogen also tends to have the same effect with green tea
  • Green tea tend to add to the impact of anti-coagulant
  • Alcohol, nicotine and diabetes medications also tend to react with green tea

What users say about using green tea for acne treatment

We did an analysis of online consumer reviews of people who have been using green tea for their skin. Here is a summary of what they liked and disliked about the product, based on their experience:

What they liked about:

  • Calming effect: Many consumers felt that green tea had a calming effect on their skin. It relaxed their muscles and increased blood circulation which helped a lot. It makes you more comfortable in your own skin.
  • Effective in a sunburn: Unlike most other acne-treating products that make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure, green tea actually tends to protect you from the harmful UV rays of the sun
  • Reduces redness: A lot of consumers approved of the fact that they could rely on green tea not only for reducing acne breakouts but also for fading away the redness caused due to inflammation or the acne marks and scars. One product could solve all these problems.

What they did not like about it:

  • Not target specific: A few consumers were of the view that green tea did not attack acne as a specific target but worked towards improving overall health in general. As such its effect is scattered and may show very less impact on the acne healing process as a result.
  • Not time effective: Because of its non-target specific nature, it tends to take a lot of time in showing any impact. It is not a quick fix and it may take weeks for you to see any signs of improvement


Green tea is a naturally occurring antioxidant and is believed to possess more flavonoids than any other fruit or vegetable juice.

It is a health and immunity booster because of its antioxidant and anti inflammation properties. Using this for acne would mean indirectly taking care of your entire body.

What more, include it in your daily diet plan and it will not even seem like a treatment, and one that deals with acne prevention and fades away its scars along with strengthening your immunity system, all at once.

This product is definitely worth a try.

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