If you’ve been researching natural remedies for acne, then you’ve probably come across videos and forums touting the benefits of mint. But given that there are different types of mints, you might be wondering about the pros and cons of peppermint tea vs spearmint tea for acne.
So, I’ve done some additional research on both peppermint and spearmint, and I’m going to share everything with you when it comes to how they help acne.
Overall we’re going to look at:
- the difference between spearmint and peppermint tea.
- how spearmint and peppermint can help acne.
- the amount of time it takes to see results with mint teas.
- how much mint tea to drink for acne.
Okay, let’s start off by distinguishing between spearmint and peppermint!
IS SPEARMINT TEA THE SAME AS PEPPERMINT TEA?
Although spearmint tea and peppermint tea have somewhat similar flavors, they are not the same thing. Peppermint (latin name mentha piperita) is actually a hybrid of water mint and spearmint (latin name mentha spicata). The hybridization process (not to be confused with modern-day genetic modification) produced a mint plant that is very high in menthol (about 40%) compared to spearmint (about 0.5% menthol).
That high menthol content gives peppermint a stronger flavor than spearmint. In addition, it also accounts for the cooling effect that is often associated with peppermint.
Last but not least, because of the differences in menthol content both plants seem to also have different anti-inflammatory properties (as we’ll soon see).
HOW DOES SPEARMINT TEA HELP ACNE?
There are two main reasons why spearmint can help with blemishes: it fights inflammation and lowers androgen levels (male hormones).
Let’s take a closer look at each property and the role it plays in clearing up the skin.
At the most basic level, acne is an inflammatory condition. So, logically, we should seek out remedies that lower inflammation if we want to clear up the skin.
And when it comes to plants in the mint family, spearmint actually has the strongest anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, one study compared the effect of spearmint tea and the antibiotic, minocycline, on acne.
That study found that both remedies worked the same, with spearmint getting the upper hand because it produced no side effects (source).
One of the major factors that can worsen acne in women is excess androgens (male hormones). High androgen levels contribute to excessive sebum production which can then lead to more clogged pores and pimples. Now, since spearmint has been found to lower free testosterone levels (1, 2), that’s probably another reason why it can help acne.
There are a few things to note about the studies done on spearmint and androgens:
- One study lasted 5 days and the other lasted 30 days. Overall, very short. Yet, even the 5-day study pointed out that there was a “significant decrease” in free testosterone. So, that’s quite promising in terms of what longer term consumption of spearmint tea could do.
- The studies were done with women who had hirsutism (excessive hair growth on the face, chest and back), which is often linked to androgens and hormonal conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
In addition to all the above, spearmint tea is also antimicrobial (can help with the acne-causing bacteria) and also soothes the digestive system (source). Because digestion also plays a role in the development of acne, it’s easy to see how this simple tea can be helpful as a natural acne remedy.
DOES PEPPERMINT TEA CLEAR ACNE?
Similar to spearmint tea, peppermint tea also has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which could support the body when it comes to improving pimples..
In addition, peppermint tea is also helpful for digestive health, which is another factor that affects acne.
Furthermore peppermint has antimicrobial properties, which can help you fight off the bacteria that are contributing to breakouts.
In many ways, peppermint seems to have similar properties to spearmint…except for the fact that peppermint has a much stronger menthol content.
This menthol content might be helpful if you have painful cystic acne and you decide to use peppermint tea as a DIY toner. The menthol has a strong cooling effect that can be soothing.
However, when it comes to addressing the underlying, systemic inflammation topical application of peppermint tea might not do much. You’d be better off drinking it.
HOW LONG DOES SPEARMINT AND PEPPERMINT TEA TAKE TO WORK FOR ACNE?
While there are no actual studies to confirm how long it takes for mint teas to work for acne, there is feedback from real people on popular forums like reddit. Overall, the feedback indicates that it can take several months to really see results with spearmint tea.
As for peppermint tea, there isn’t much feedback from people who’ve used it. There’s clearly a strong focus on spearmint (most likely driven by the fact that there are more studies for spearmint).
So, if you decide to give spearmint (or peppermint) a try for your skin, give it a few months to see how it works for you.
Also, keep in mind that it’s not clear from many forum discussions what type of foods people are eating. As with many natural remedies, it’s a good idea to take a holistic approach and eat a healthy diet while consuming mint tea.
HOW MUCH PEPPERMINT OR SPEARMINT TEA SHOULD YOU DRINK A DAY FOR ACNE?
Based on studies done with spearmint tea, drinking 2 cups a day is helpful for lowering androgen levels. So, start with that.
As for peppermint tea, there is no established dose. For general health, some experts suggest 1 to 2 cups a day.
The good thing is both teas are caffeine-free, so you can drink them at any time of day.
Also, if you’re going to drink 2 cups a day, it’s a good idea to space them out. We can only absorb so much in one go. If you try to down all of it at once just to be done with it, you might end up peeing out a significant portion of it.
TIPS FOR USING MINT TEA ON THE SKIN
If you spend any amount of time digging into natural acne remedies, then you might come across books and website that suggest using peppermint and spearmint tea as a toner.
But why would that be? Well, according to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, mint is a natural source of salicylic acid (source)!
Now, for acne sufferers, salicylic acid is one of the most popular topical ingredients that reduces acne swelling and redness, while also unclogging pores.
The only caveat is that the journal doesn’t explicitly state whether both mint plants have it, or just one. So, ultimately use your best judgement as to which one you’d like to try.
FAQs ABOUT PEPPERMINT TEA VS SPEARMINT TEA FOR ACNE
Which tea is good for acne?
Other teas that are good for acne include green tea, chamomile tea, nettle, ginger and turmeric tea (aka golden milk). Generally, the more antioxidant activity an herb has, then the more anti-inflammatory (and acne-friendly) it is.
How can I clear my face from acne?
In terms of topical remedies, a clay mask (such as bentonite or kaolin) can help to remove impurities that are clogging your pores. When cleansing, use a natural soap. If that’s too harsh, you can also use a honey-based or clay-based DIY cleanser that is soap-free.
In addition, be mindful of using topical products that contain ingredients that kill the good and bad bacteria on your skin. Instead, consider moisturizing your skin with a natural oil that won’t disrupt the skin’s bacterial balance.
Furthermore, focus on eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet. In fact, you don’t have to change your entire diet overnight. You can start with seed cycling for acne or by drinking more green smoothies or juices.
When it comes to spearmint vs peppermint, there’s currently more science to back up the fact spearmint tea is the better option for acne.
And as a bonus you might want to try using one of these teas as a DIY toner as well.
So, whether you plan on adding them to your acne diet or applying them on your skin, mint teas have a lot of potential as natural skin care remedies.
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