Can Green Tea Help Treat Acne? How To Use It

Reviewed by Dr.K.Harish Kumar, MD.DVL
by Ramona Sinha

Green tea is good for your health. But is it good for managing and treating acne vulgaris? Probably, yes. It is because green tea (like any other tea) is rich in polyphenols.

A study found that topical tea polyphenols might help improve mild to moderate acne (1). If you are looking for a natural way to help manage acne (not cystic acne), you may try this popular home remedy.

Research related to this remedy is very limited, but there are a few studies that explore how green tea may help your acne condition. In this article, we have discussed how green tea may soothe your condition and ways to use it for acne.

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).

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 sebum 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 antimicrobial 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

Method

  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-comedogenic moisturizer
  • Towel

Method

  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

Method

  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

Method

  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 mucopolysaccharides present in it help to keep your skin hydrated by binding moisture to the skin and stimulate the fibroblasts 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

Method

  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

Method

  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

Method

  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. You can check them out here.

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.

Green tea is beneficial for your overall health. No matter how you use it – orally or topically – this powerhouse of antioxidants can reduce acne and boost your immunity. However, if you have cystic or hormonal acne, these home remedies may not work. You will need to consult a doctor who can prescribe specific treatment and medications.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

1. Which is the best green tea brand for acne?

A: 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.

2. What are the other best teas for acne?

A: 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.

6 sources

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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