As anyone who has ever had acne and frantically Googled “how to fix breakouts” knows, the internet is full of truly terrible, dumb, and straight-up dangerous “cures” like popping zits with needles (don’t freaking do it) or slathering pimples in toothpaste (so irritating, so ineffective). So when we saw the internet going crazy over spearmint tea as a fix-all for hormonal acne, we were super skeptical—that is, until we did some research and found out that it just might work. Yup.
Last night, a Reddit user posted the following question to the sub-Reddit Skincareaddiction: “Can we talk about spearmint? I have been drinking 1 cup of spearmint tea every evening for several months and the results are incredible. I have not had a single zit, which confirms that my acne is hormonal. 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.”
Almost immediately, the post blew up with other Reddit users confirming similar results with spearmint tea. “No more hormonal acne for me,” wrote one user; “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.” Added another user, “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.”
Of course, this is the part where we say not to trust the internet, and to only follow advice from your dermatologist, and blah, blah, blah, we know you’ve already added two boxes of tea to your Amazon cart. But we really do recommend talking to your doctor before starting anything that could possibly affect your hormones, as there have been studies—yes! Scientific research that actually supports this internet obsession!—that linked spearmint tea with a decrease in androgen (a.k.a. male hormones that contribute to acne in females) levels, especially in women with PCOS.
“There is data to suggest that spearmint may have anti-inflammatory properties and may decrease activity of certain hormones in the body,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. “While it may help, it should not take the place of your traditional acne treatments, like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.” Of course, if you’re battling hormonal acne and don’t want to take hormone-regulating medicine (the only true treatments for cystic acne), then hell yeah—try adding a few cups of tea to your daily liquid intake and see what happens. And then come back here and tell us; we’ll be waiting patiently for the results.