By Sarah Kinonen. Photos: Getty Images.
I know I'm not alone when I say this, but when a breakout pops up uninvited, I will do virtually anything in an attempt to get it gone, stat. Slather on a clay-based face mask? Been there. Dab on a medicated spot treatment? Done that. But what I haven't tried is something so far left field it might just work: sipping a steaming cup of spearmint tea.
Recently, the people of the Internet have been praising the benefits of spearmint tea in the SkincareAddiction sub-Reddit forum, and how just a few cups of the antioxidant-packed stuff over time has the power to drastically clear up breakouts. "Can we talk about spearmint? I know this has been brought up before but most of the posts I see are not from people who have tried it. I have been drinking 1 cup of spearmint tea every evening for several months and the results are incredible," wrote Redditor lizparade.
"I have not had a single zit which confirms that my acne is hormonal," the writer continued. "I have tried researching this further but there is very limited information and most of it has to do with treating polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which I do not have. In my understanding, it reduces androgens circulating in the blood and probably is not helpful to men."
Redditors began chiming in with their own experiences, "I've been using spearmint tea (Traditional Medicinals brand) for several months and I have stopped experiencing the hormonal breakouts I used to get on my chin and I'm inclined to believe that the spearmint tea is effective for me," wrote one user. "No more hormonal acne for me. =) It did take like 3 months for any significant improvement though and 6 for all my cysts to fuck off. That includes a cyst that had been plaguing me for a year," said another.
Impressed, but still a bit skeptical, we reached out to Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor, department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, for the lowdown.
"Because the cause of acne is multifactorial, meaning different issues (clogged pores, inflammation, hormones, bacteria, etc.) cause the problem, depending on the person, I'm skeptical," says Tanzi. "There is no single cure for acne. Certainly spearmint tea can have other body benefits, but it is unlikely that it will cure acne for most people with the problem."
Suffice it to say, sipping spearmint tea won't clear up deep-rooted cystic acne overnight. What will work, though? Topical treatments formulated with salicylic or glycolic acids, which gently exfoliate the skin to get rid of excess oil. And hey, if chugging a daily cup of tea works for you, too, then who are we to stand in the way?
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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