Can a green tea face lotion help acne? Today I’m talking about all the benefits of topical green tea for acne and how a green tea face lotion can be a highly effective acne treatment.
Unless you’ve been living under a log for the past few years, then you’ll know that Green Tea has some amazing health benefits – including plenty of skin benefits too! But while many of you will be drinking cups of Green Tea on a regular basis, not many of you will be consciously applying a Green Tea product to your skin – a simple addition to your skin care regime that could cut sebum production by up to 60% and reduce acne count by 57%!
Topical green tea for acne: Can a green tea face lotion help clear acne?
When drunk as a tea, Green Tea is a powerful acne fighter, it’s higher in antioxidants than spinach, blueberries and dark chocolate and which help reduce inflammation and fight bacteria and infections. The main acne-busting antioxidant in Green Tea is a particular catechin called EGCG. EGCG boasts outstanding antioxidant activity and can help reduce inflammation, balance out hormones and blood sugar levels which are all major factors when it comes to clearing acne, but did you know these benefits also apply when you use Green Tea as a topical skin care product?
Can a Green Tea face lotion help clear acne?
Using a green tea face lotion to help clear acne could be one of the simplest additions to your routine that could have a really impressive impact on your skin. Green Tea is a particularly good skin care addition for those who suffer with hormonal imbalances such as elevated androgen levels and PCOS as these types of hormone imbalances are often teamed with excess sebum production. This means the sufferer has to deal with super oily skin on a daily basis.
The reason why excess sebum production can cause problems is because it leads to hyperkeratinisation, a condition where excess skin cells shed faster that usual which increases the risk of clogged pores and bacteria overgrowth which causes inflammation.
Undoubtably, eating a nutrient rich diet with tonnes of fresh veg and fruit and minimal processed and inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar is the most effective way to bring your hormone levels back into balance and reduce the amount of sebum your skin produces. However, sometimes a super clean diet isn’t always enough and our skin requires a little extra help to take our skin from red and blemishy to radiant and beautiful!
That’s where topical green tea comes in!
Topical Green Tea for acne: how can it help treat breakouts?
As I mentioned earlier, Green Tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which has a much higher antioxidant potential than vitamins C and E. All topical antioxidants can reduce inflammation in the skin by reducing oxidative stress, so even though Green Tea is rich in antioxidants, it’s not a unique quality as there are tonnes of other plant ingredients that are also high in antioxidants. Read more about the importance to topical antioxidants here.
However, while the potent antioxidant properties of Green Tea is still definitely something to shout about, the most impressive characteristic of this unique plant extract is that it can fight all three causes of acne: hormones, inflammation and bacteria.
Topical Green Tea reduces hormone activity in the skin
There is evidence that shows that those prone to acne are more sensitive to androgen hormones than those who have clear skin. When there’s too much free testosterone floating around our blood (from PCOS or insulin resistance) an enzyme in our body called 5-alpha reductase converts that testosterone into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is like testosterone’s stronger, more evil brother… it’s testosterone on crack and causes oily skin, acne breakouts, hirsutism and sometimes even male pattern baldness!
How can Green Tea extract help?
Green Tea can have a significant impact on skin DHT levels as studies have shown that Green Tea can inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the skin! While you can take natural DHT blockers internally via tinctures and supplements (Green Tea, Saw Palmetto, Nettle & Pumpkin Seed oil), using a topical solution is a much safer way of blocking the hormone conversion at a surface level as taking supplements/medication to do the same job can have unwanted side effects, especially if you are male.
Topical Green Tea clears acne by 57%
One study from 2006, looked at the effect of a 2% green tea face lotion on acne compared to plain, distilled water on two groups of acne patients aged between the ages of 14 and 22. Before the results were observed, the researchers carried our a detailed computer analysis of each patients skin and counted up the number of pustules and papules.
After 8 weeks, the group using the 2% Green Tea lotion experienced an average 57% reduction of pustules and an average 32.5% reduction in papules. Unsurprisingly, the group using the distilled water saw no improvement at all to their skin.
Another study was then carried out in 2008 comparing 2% Green Tea face lotion with a 5% zinc sulphate solution. After 8 weeks, both groups showed improvement in acne count but the Green Tea lotion was significantly more effective with an average reduction in pustule count of 50.8% and an average reduction in papule count of 48.5%. The zinc sulphate solution improved acne by 21% (pustules) and 26% (papules).
Topical Green Tea reduces sebum production by 60%
One study used a group of acne patients to see the effects of a 3% green tea solution on sebum production. Each week the researchers analysed the subjects sebum production and after 8 weeks sebum production had fallen by 60%!
Here is the graph from the study so you can see just how much the green tea solution reduced oil production on a weekly basis. This graph shows clearly that the sebum reducing benefits of using topical Green Tea for acne get better and better the longer you use it.
Green Tea has antibacterial properties
While Green Tea isn’t one of the most potent antibacterial extracts available in skin care products. There are some studies that show Green Tea can potentially decrease the activity of acne causing bacteria. (link, link)
The antibacterial properties on their own may not be enough to make Green Tea stand out from the crowd in terms of acne healing but when teamed with all the other unbeatable acne fighting properties I’ve listed above, the antibacterial properties of Green Tea are a nice little bonus!
As you can see, topical Green Tea for acne has been pretty well researched over the last 10 years and displays impressive results, especially when it comes to reducing acne count and sebum production. However, if you’re thinking of brewing a cup of Green Tea and splashing it over your face every day then you may be disappointment with the results. Your skin would need to absorb a huge amount of Green Tea each day to achieve all the acne-fighting properties needed for improved skin. That’s why skin care brands will use Green Tea Extract, a highly concentrated form of Green Tea that retains all the active properties of the fresh leaf.
Best beauty buys: skin care with Green Tea for acne prone skin
So, despite green tea potentially being one of THE BEST natural ingredients you could be putting on your acne prone skin, it’s pretty tricky to track down quality, natural skin care products that contain this plant extract and are also free from pore clogging ingredients such as Coconut, Olive and Palm oil! Here are some of my favourites, which are all awesome for oily skin types, but also suitable for combination skin – you may just find you need to apply a little Rosehip oil to the drier areas.
The Whole Kit: Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit – $60
The Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit is one of the easiest skin care routines to clear up acne. This six-piece system treats acne with science based AND natural ingredients and helps to boost hydration without clogging pores. The kit contains a face wash, toner, treatment serum (for day), treatment cream (for night), an oil-free moisturiser and a face cloth!
The Cleanser: Green People Foaming Face Wash – £12
This is a great everyday natural cleanser that’s great value for money and packed full of certified organic ingredients. As well as Green Tea, it also contains a blend of acne-fighting ingredients such as Sage, Larch and Black Willow Bark which is a rich source of natural salicylic acid to smooth the skin and enhance skin turnover!
The Toning Mist: Odacite Mint & Green Tea Toning Mist – £29
A targeted treatment to ‘tone’ and refresh oily, pimple-prone skin types, Odacité’s exquisite Mint + Green Tea Hydra-Purifying Treatment Mist works to replenish and re-balance after cleansing – regulating sebum synthesis and combatting congestion to restore skin’s youthful clarity and luminosity.
The Vitamin C Serum: Youth to the People Vitamin C Serum – £64
This multifunction, high performance serum uses fast-acting peptide molecules to maintain skin elasticity and promote natural collagen synthesis. And Vitamin C doesn’t just boost your immune system, it both brightens skin and prevents hyper-pigmentation to work like Photoshop in real life.
The Vitamin B Serum: Marie Veronique Treatment Serum – $90
Pretty much all of Marie Veronique’s acne range use a Green and White Tea infusion as the base with added EGCG Extract for extra antioxidant activity. The Treatment Serum also contains a blend of B vitamins (specifically B5 and B3) to help regulate sebum production and reduce inflammation alongside Black Willow, Liquorice root and Lactic acid to help improve skin tone and texture.
The Moisturiser: OY! Cleansing Moisturiser – £11
If you struggle with super oily skin and are looking for a moisturiser that’s not heavy or greasy then this may be the product of your dreams! I suffer with ovarian cysts which is often linked with elevated levels of androgens and really oily skin so this moisturiser is one of my favourite products to use.
Don’t let the fact that this is marketed for teens put you off – it’s completely free of pore clogging oils and is formulated using a base of Hemp, Sunflower, Aloe Vera, Rosehip and plenty of acne fighting ingredients such as Black Willow Extract, Tea Tree, Prebiotics and of course, Green Tea!
Available in the US here.
Make your own MSM & Green Tea toner
When I dug deeper I found that these products only had green tea concentrations between 0.4% and 0.5% – the studies I’ve referred to above all used concentrations of 2-3%, so while these products are amazing in their own right and contain not only green tea, but other acne fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid from willow bark, B vitamins, prebiotics and more, I was still on the lookout for something that contained a decent dose of Green Tea to really get my oily skin under control. So… what if I could add another product into my beauty routine? A product that contained 3% green tea extract?
That’s be great huh!?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to find anything even close. So I came up with a plan to create my own concentrated green tea toner, talked it through with an expert source who said it’d be fine from a skin safety point of view, as long as I made small batches and aimed to use each batch within 10 days to prevent any bacteria overgrowth or spoilage! So, I got my cosmetic chef hat on and started playing with formulations…
If you’re still not convinced of the benefits of topical Green Tea for acne, then I urge you to keep an eye out for Green Tea Extract in your beauty buys and see for yourself how great topical Green Tea is! For me, Green Tea is now one of the key ingredients I always look out for whenever I purchase a new product as it’s such an amazing ingredient for those with acne-prone and oily skin types!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin