I am a huge fan of drinking infused mint water or spearmint tea for hormonal acne. This is one of the few natural remedies that has ever worked for me.
If you have cystic or hormonal acne, you need to try this.
If you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), this can not only help acne and breakouts, but studies have shown spearmint tea can also help with hirsutism, abnormal androgen and hormone levels, and possibly weight gain connected to your hormones.
It’s so simple, inexpensive, and can be life changing.
IN THIS BLOG POST
Spearmint tea for acne, how it can help?
Cystic and hormonal acne is usually caused by a combination of hormones, bacteria, and inflammation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, certain hormones like androgens can “stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne.”
Stabilizing your hormones, especially reducing high androgen levels can help get rid of acne.
And that’s where the mint comes in.
Studies show that spearmint tea has anti-androgen effects
One study on 42 women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and hirsutism (excess facial and body hair) caused by high androgen levels showed promising results from drinking spearmint tea twice a day.
The group was randomly divided into two groups; one group drinking spearmint tea, and the other drinking a placebo. The trial was for 30 days, and they all drank two cups of tea every day.
At the end of the 30 day trial, the group drinking the spearmint tea had a reduction of free and total testosterone levels (androgen levels), and an increased LH and FSH levels. The participants who drank the spearmint tea also noted significant improvements in hirsutism.
The study itself was too short to draw any conclusion about how spearmint tea could improve hirsutism (they would need a few more months to monitor hair growth cycles), but it was concluded that the study showed great promise in reducing excess androgen levels.
Another shorter study had similar results. This study was for only 5 days. 21 women with hirsutism participated in the study (12 of which also had PCOS). At the end of the study, all women showed a decrease in free testosterone levels, and an increase in LH, FSH, and estradiol levels.
I can attest from my own health coaching practise that many of my coaching clients with hirsutism from PCOS have noted a great improvement from drinking spearmint tea. None of them have completely gotten rid of the facial and body hair, but drinking the tea has reduced it significantly.
And if the spearmint tea can reduce high testosterone levels that is causing excess body and facial hair, it can also help with hormonal acne too. That’s where my story comes in…
How I got rid of cystic acne by drinking mint water
I’ve had a very long history of dealing with cystic and hormonal acne. It started back in my teens and only got worse in my 20s and early 30s.
I was also diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in my 20s. And that’s when I had the “ah-ha” moment of understanding why I was dealing with such painful cystic acne that only got worse as I got older. It was my hormones.
In my early 30s I made major diet and lifestyle changes, and I was able to naturally balance out my hormones, get rid of the acne, and reverse all symptoms of PCOS naturally.
I thought I was completely free of acne.
Then, years later when I was 37, I gave birth to my first daughter. And boom, within a few weeks after giving birth my skin started breaking out with large painful cystic pimples.
As one pimple would heal, another one would pop up. And they were huge, like giant goose eggs under my skin.
It felt never ending, and my face throbbed and hurt. What made it worse was people asking me what’s going on with my face? At a time when I should be enjoying my new baby, I dreaded waking up to a new pimple, or anyone getting to close to see my skin.
During that time, I had another blog and I was putting together infused water recipes which included water infused with fresh mint. Infused water, also known as “detox water”, is similar to tea. But, you don’t heat or boil the water. You use room temperature or cold water. And instead of using dried herbs, you soak fresh herbs in the water you’ll be drinking.
I ended up really liking the taste of water infused with fresh mint water, so I started adding fresh mint to my pitcher of water every day. And low and behold, within a few days of drinking it, I had completely clear skin.
I was shocked.
Normally it takes months, sometimes 6-12 months to get rid of these large cystic pimples. But when I started drinking the mint water, the pimples would shrink up and disappear within days.
I couldn’t believe it. And best of all, as long as I didn’t pick the pimples or breakouts, I didn’t have any marks or discolouration left behind either. They disappeared without a trace.
As I continued to drink pitchers of mint water every day, my skin remained clear.
And if I ate my favourite acne trigger foods like ice cream and raw chocolate, I knew how to get rid of the breakouts fast.
And that’s when I realized that not only does the mint help with lowering androgen levels and hirsutism, but also hormonal acne too.
And you don’t need to drink spearmint tea. I much prefer just adding a few sprigs of fresh mint to a large pitcher of plain water, making an “infused” mint water, and drink the mint water throughout the day. This way I’m getting all the acne clearing benefits from the mint, plus getting great hydration, and not staining my teeth from tea.
What if you don’t have PCOS or a hormone imbalance, can mint water still help acne?
Women with PCOS aren’t the only ones with elevated androgens.
Hormone fluctuations connected with your menstrual cycle can increase androgen levels.
Even stress can stimulate hormones, including androgens.
Our hormones are constantly moving up and down.
If you get breakouts around your period, ovulation, or during times of stress; I would recommend trying the mint water or mint tea.
It doesn’t hurt to try. And if it helps, you’ll be so relieved you did.
I’ve had clients and subscribers tell me how much it’s helped with breakouts around their period. Some of them track their periods and start drinking the mint water or spearmint tea starting a week before their expected menstrual period to prevent breakouts.
How to make spearmint tea and infused mint water for treating acne
Below I’ve listed instructions on how to prepare spearmint tea and infused mint water for treating hormonal and cystic acne.
I recommend choosing one method, and drinking it daily for 2-4 weeks to see if it helps your skin.
Instructions for spearmint tea for acne
- Buy organic spearmint tea
- Boil fresh drinking water, and pour it into a tea cup or coffee mug
- Place the spearmint tea bag in the hot water and allow to steep for 3-5 minutes
- Discard the tea bag after using (always use a fresh tea bag every time you prepare the spearmint tea)
- Have the tea plain. Don’t add milk, creamer, sugar, honey or sweeteners to the tea
- Drink 2 cups of plain spearmint tea every day (one in morning, another in the late afternoon/evening)
Instructions for infused spearmint water for acne
- Buy organic fresh spearmint or grow your own
- Get a large glass water pitcher or water bottle and fill it with fresh drinking water
- Rinse 3-5 sprigs of fresh mint in water. Make sure to clean the mint thoroughly of soil and debris.
- Discard any dead or wilted leaves.
- Place the clean 3-5 sprigs of mint in the drinking water
- Allow it to soak in the water for 15-20 minutes before drinking.
- Leave the fresh mint in the water, it doesn’t need to be removed.
- Drink the infused mint water throughout the day and evening (doesn’t need to be consumed all at once).
- The water bottle or water pitcher containing the mint and infused water can be left out at room temperature or refrigerated.
- Aim to drink 1 litre of the infused water every day (or more).
- At the end of the day discard the mint and any remaining water (make fresh infused water every day, don’t store it for the next day).
Is it safe to drink spearmint tea everyday?
Spearmint and peppermint tea have been consumed and enjoyed by many cultures for centuries. Many of which drink it every single day.
I like the infused mint water because it’s not a concentrate. The mint leaves are placed whole in fresh water. They aren’t juiced, ground down, crushed, boiled, or steeped.
The tea is a little bit more concentrated than the infused water, but still, it’s not like you are juicing pounds of mint or consuming a concentrate.
But, with everything, moderation and variety is always important. To be on the safe side, you can drink mint water or tea while you have breakouts to clear them up quickly, and stop drinking it once your skin is clear.
Can you use peppermint instead of spearmint?
Spearmint and peppermint are in the same family, but they are not the exact same.
The studies that were done on lowering androgens used spearmint tea.
I personally have tried both spearmint and peppermint in my infused water and have had the same results with both. For me there was no difference (at least not with the infused water).
But, if you are trying this experiment for the first time, I would recommend using spearmint. Just in case. If you can’t find fresh spearmint, spearmint tea is easy to find. You can get it at a health food store or grocery store.
Later on, once you know if the spearmint helps your skin or not, you can try peppermint.
Can you use spearmint essential oil instead of fresh mint or mint tea?
No, I don’t recommend consuming essential oils. I don’t think it’s safe, especially drinking it every day.
Spearmint essential oil is a concentrate. It’s made from steam distilling massive amounts of spearmint leaves. Infused mint water on the other hand has trace amounts of mint from soaking it in water (in comparison, almost a homeopathic amount of mint). Even though they are made from the same materials, they are two different things.
Also, most essential oils on the market aren’t 100% pure. They can have alcohol and other ingredients mixed in, and are usually produced for external use only. To be safe, I wouldn’t consume it (especially for treating hormonal acne).
Is it safe to drink mint water or spearmint tea for acne while pregnant or breastfeeding?
I don’t recommend drinking mint water or spearmint tea while pregnant. There’s no evidence whether it’s safe or not, but it is an herb. Best to be cautious and avoid it.
As for while breastfeeding, large amounts of spearmint and peppermint tea can decrease your milk supply. Best to wait until you’ve stopped breastfeeding or are weaning.
Is it safe for men to drink spearmint water or spearmint tea for acne?
Men need to be cautious with spearmint tea because it lowers testosterone.
But, some men have too much testosterone, and that could be what is causing acne.
My recommendation for men wanting to try the mint water or spearmint tea for acne is to drink it for 2 weeks. If you don’t see improvement in your skin, then stop.
If during those 2 weeks you see improvements in your skin, then continue until your skin clears up. Once your skin is clear, then stop drinking it.
I recommend cycling it. Drink it when you have breakouts, and stop when your skin is clear. Don’t continuously drink it.
Who should avoid spearmint tea?
Along with pregnant and breastfeeding women, if you have an iron deficiency or borderline low ferritin/iron, I don’t recommend drinking mint tea or infused mint water.
Like all teas, mint tea has tannins. Research has shown that tannins can hinder absorption of iron. For most people with normal iron levels, this shouldn’t be an issue. But, if you have low iron or a deficiency, I would be cautious and avoid all tea, including herbal teas like spearmint and peppermint teas.
And if you have a condition where you have low testosterone, or low androgens; you should also avoid drinking spearmint tea and infused mint water.
Some people with acid reflux or indigestion also have problems consuming anything with mint, including mint tea and infused mint water.
Can I re-use the fresh mint the next day to make more mint water, or re-use the tea bags?
No. Best to use fresh tea bag every time you prepare the mint tea, and fresh mint every day.
Can I store a few bottles of mint water in my fridge overnight, or over a few days?
No. Best to make fresh batch of infused mint water every day. I wouldn’t leave fresh mint soaking in water longer than 8 hours.
I already drink a lot of water during the day. Should I have the infused mint water in addition to that water?
If you are planning on drinking the infused mint water, and are already drinking 2 or more litres of water a day, I would replace one of those litres of plain water with the infused water. You don’t want to over drink water. The infused mint water is just as hydrating as regular water.
I have back acne and/or chest acne, can the mint water help?
It could help, especially if the acne is cystic or from over production of oils and sebum in your skin.
It’s worth drinking the mint water for a few weeks to see if it can help (if you don’t see any sign of improvement in 2-4 weeks, stop drinking it).
I no longer have acne or breakouts, should I continue drinking the mint water or spearmint tea? Will the breakouts come back if I stop?
Once your skin is cleared up, you can stop drinking the mint water or tea.
Mint is an herb, and to be safe, best not to consume it all the time.
I recommend drinking it when you have breakouts and stop once the pimples are healing. Cycle it. Drink it when needed, and stop when you don’t.
If you continue having bad breakouts every time you stop drinking the mint water, you need to investigate what the underlying cause is. There might be something in your diet and/or skin care routine that is triggering the acne, and to fully clear up your skin, you need to get rid of that as well.
I can’t get fresh mint, is there another herb I can try?
As of now, spearmint is the only herb that has been studied and shows androgen-lowering properties.
There isn’t any known or safe substitutes.
Does the spearmint tea or infused mint water work for everyone?
No. Unfortunately there’s isn’t one remedy that works for everyone.
But it’s worth trying.
I recommend trying the spearmint tea or infused spearmint water for 2-4 weeks.
Be consistent. Drink it every day.
If your skin doesn’t improve or start clearing up in 2-4 weeks, then stop the mint tea/water. You’ve given it a good amount of time to know it’s not the right remedy for you.
If your skin does start clearing up, then continue drinking the mint tea/water until all blemishes and acne are clearing up. Once everything is fading and healing, you can stop the mint water or tea.
References for this article
Adult Acne, American Academy of Dermatology Association website
Grant P., Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial, Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):186-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2900.
Akdoğan M, Tamer MN, Cüre E, Cüre MC, Köroğlu BK, Delibaş N, Effect of spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) teas on androgen levels in women with hirsutism, Phytother Res. 2007 May;21(5):444-7.
Nicole M Delimont, Mark D Haub, Brian L Lindshield, The Impact of Tannin Consumption on Iron Bioavailability and Status: A Narrative Review, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 1, Issue 2, February 2017, Pages 1–12, doi: 10.3945/cdn.116.000042