10 Teas With Skin Healing Benefits
This is a guest post written by Sara Sumic, MSc, a molecular biologist, former acne sufferer, and a skincare blogger. She started Healthy Skin Glows to share science-based skincare tips for healing acne-prone skin naturally and without harsh ingredients. She releases a new online course, called Skin Rebalancing Protocol, in January 2019, which will be a thorough guide for finding a skincare routine that fits your unique needs. As you go through the phases of the course, she will help you bring your skin back to its healthy balance, quit over-the-counter acne treatments without causing new breakouts, then reduce hyperpigmentation, bumpy skin and slow down skin aging. You can find her at healthyskinglows.com and her instagram @healthyskinglows
We all know the importance of keeping ourselves hydrated, but sometimes plain water gets a bit boring, right?
If only there was something more exciting to drink! Perhaps also helpful for clearing up acne?
Certain herbal teas are exactly what you are looking for! Below you will find my favorite herbal teas that promote beautiful, clear skin and help you stay hydrated effortlessly.
Not just that, there are a few tips to help you make a truly delicious drink you will crave.
Finally, I will draw your attention to fluoride found in tea (some more than others), how to limit your fluoride intake and why it is important to do so for clear skin.
Let's go over some of the best teas for beautiful, clear skin!
Chamomile tea is great for soothing an upset stomach and preparing you for a good night's sleep, which is essential for skin healing!
For an extra delicious nighttime treat, steep chamomile in warm non-dairy milk. Add some honey and enjoy a cup a few hours before bedtime.
This can help you get that high-quality sleep that helps to reduce dark circles and promote clear skin. There is really no better skin healer than a good night’s sleep!
Dandelion tea supports liver function and digestion, both of which are essential for healthy and clear skin.
Dandelion contains calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamins B and C which are great for regulating hormones and protecting against free radicals.
Both dandelion root and leaves have great benefits for the skin. You can also try dandelion greens in your salads!
Ginger has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce inflamed cystic acne. Providing a boost to your body’s circulation, it can also help to flush out toxins from your body and leave your skin looking moisturized and glowing!
It contains about 40 antioxidant substances that prevent free radical damage and protect against aging. It also evens out the skin tone and improves elasticity.
I love making ginger tea from freshly grated ginger. I steep 1tsp of grated ginger in hot water for 10-15 minutes, adding a squeeze of lemon and some honey when it’s ready to drink.
This beautiful drink is full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, iron, zinc, vitamins B2, B1, A and C.
It improves the skin’s elasticity and firmness, which is why it has even been named ‘The Botox Plant’!
Stinging nettle supports healthy skin because it helps to purify the blood and detoxify the liver, which is essential for achieving clear, glowing skin.
In addition, it is rich in zinc, selenium and vitamins B and K, which are essential nutrients for healthy and clear skin.
Nettle also aids in eliminating intestinal worms and parasites if present, thus reducing the systemic inflammation that fuels acne.
It is somewhat bitter, so combine it with other, more flavorful herbs (such as chamomile, rosehip or hibiscus) for a good tasting tea.
High in calcium and other minerals, oat straw tea is a powerful herbal remedy that nourishes the body.
Most notably, it is high in calcium – a cup of oat straw infusion contains a whopping 300 milligrams! It also contains other minerals, protein and the spectrum of B vitamins (except vitamin B-12).
Oat straw is also high in silica, a crucial mineral for healthy and resilient skin, hair, nails and bones. It can also soothe and nourish the central nervous system, making it a good choice if you suffer from not just acne, but also anxiety and insomnia.
RED RASPBERRY LEAF
Red raspberry leaf is an amazing herb for women's hormonal balance. It helps to regulate our monthly cycles (very important for clear skin), and reducing heavy bleeding during the period.
It also helps to increase progesterone levels (especially if you are deficient), which keeps your pores clear because progesterone diminishes the action of pore-clogging androgens.
No one likes constipation, but did you know that it could be what’s contributing to your acne? When we are constipated, all those toxins and waste hormones that wait to be flushed out of our body (via bowel movement) get reabsorbed instead!
Just a tablespoon of dried and crushed rose hips steeped in boiling water can help clear up your system.
The many health benefits available from rosehips are due to the presence of flavonoids, carotenoids, polyphenols, catechins and other phytochemicals. It can also speed up skin healing (source), which helps to reduce acne scars.
I am lucky to have some handpicked by my mom and dad, which they also dry themselves. I always use it in my tea blends, it adds such a nice hint of sweetness.
Recent research has shown that drinking spearmint tea daily has a powerful anti-androgenic effect (source), which is beneficial for acne, especially if you suffer from PCOS.
Since androgens trigger a pore-clogging process called hyperkeratinization, reducing them can help us achieve clearer skin.
It is important to drink it every day over a period of at least 2-3 weeks to notice a difference.
FINALLY...GREEN TEA (OR MATCHA)
Although not a herbal tea, green tea is a very powerful acne fighter. It contains catechin called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which can reduce inflammation, thus alleviating swelling and redness of acne spots.
It is also dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blocker (source), which means it helps to reduce hyperkeratinization process, preventing clogged pores. Clogged pores are the first stage of acne – every acne spot starts with a small clogged pore.
Since matcha is made by grinding leaves into a powder, it is much more powerful than green tea. Just 1/2 a teaspoon of matcha powder is equivalent to 8 – 10 cups of green tea!
Important note: green tea and matcha both contain caffeine. If you know you are sensitive to it (it makes you feel jittery, anxious, etc), I would stick to caffeine-free herbal teas. If you are weaning off coffee, green tea and matcha are good replacements.
EXAMPLE DIY TEA BLENDS YOU CAN TRY FOR CLEARER SKIN
Feel free to mix and match your teas as you like! Here are a few ideas:
Oat straw – nettle – red raspberry leaf – spearmint
Oat straw – rosehip – red raspberry leaf – hibiscus
Spearmint – rosehip – dandelion – chamomile
Steep your herbal teas for about 20-30 minutes (I use a french press) and drink them hot or cold. Sometimes I even let them steep overnight (don’t do this with green tea, steep it only for 3-5 min), which creates a herbal "infusion", a much more concentrated form of tea (and the beneficial minerals!).
If you make a herbal infusion, you can dilute it in some water the day after if you find the taste is too strong. Feel free to add some yacon syrup or raw honey, mint and lime or lemon juice into your tea, whether it is hot or cold. This combo tastes absolutely delicious!
WORD OF CAUTION: WATCH YOUR FLUORIDE INTAKE
Certain teas contains fairly high amounts of fluoride. The plant picks up the fluoride from the soil and brewing process extracts it from the leaves.
What's more worrisome than fluoride in tea is fluoride in your drinking water (if it's fluoridated where you live).
Good news is that herbal teas listed above contain little to no fluoride compared to "real" teas such as green or black tea. The longer the leaves stay on the tea tree, the heavier the fluoride content, thus black tea has more fluoride compared to, for example, green or white tea.
Why fluoride poses a threat to your health
Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor, which means the body mistakes it as something else, in this case iodine. Iodine, unlike fluoride, is essential for every major body function and the body absorbs it into tissues. When fluoride is present, it will be taken up instead of iodine, and that is a problem!
Studies have shown that TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) values were higher in people who had higher fluoride concentration in their drinking water. High TSH usually indicates hypothyroidism.
Thyroid problem (hypothyroidism) causes acne because:
● It causes your pituitary gland to make too much prolactin, which suppresses ovulation
● It impairs insulin sensitivity (increasing the risk of PCOS)
● It slows detox of estrogen and testosterone (also increasing the risk of PCOS)
● It robs the ovaries of the cellular energy needed to ovulate and produce progesterone (which is essential for preventing those hormonal breakouts)
HOW TO ENJOY TEA BENEFITS WHILE LIMITING YOUR FLUORIDE INTAKE
● Check whether drinking water in your area is fluoridated. Use a water filter to remove fluoride (and other contaminants) if necessary
● Opt for herbal teas listed in this post as they contain very little to no fluoride
● Opt for high-quality, organic teas only (especially when it comes to green or black teas). Lower quality teas are often made from fallen, old leaves that have more fluoride than young tea leaves, which leads to accumulation of more fluoride
● Decaffeinated tea showed higher fluoride values than caffeinated tea in scientific studies, so don't use decaf green (or black) tea. The best is to opt for ceremonial grade matcha or regular organic green tea
In summary, when your drinking water is of high quality, and you avoid other sources of fluoride (such as toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride, teflon cookware, etc), you should be fine drinking the amazing herbal teas listed here.
Pick organic, loose leaves to make your tea and you will reap incredible health benefits, promote clear skin and hydrate your body effortlessly!
In radiant skin health,
REFERENCES ON FLUORIDE
Basha, P. M., P. Rai and S. Begum (2011). "Fluoride toxicity and status of serum thyroid hormones, brain histopathology, and learning memory in rats: a multigenerational assessment." Biol Trace Elem Res 144(1-3): 1083-1094.
Gulati, P., V. Singh, M. K. Gupta, V. Vaidya, S. Dass and S. Prakash (1993). "Studies on the leaching of fluoride in tea infusions." Sci Total Environ 138(1-3): 213-221.
Mellette, J. R., J. L. Aeling and D. D. Nuss (1976). "Letter: Fluoride tooth paste: a cause of perioral dermatitis." Arch Dermatol 112(5): 730-731.
Peckham, S., D. Lowery and S. Spencer (2015). "Are fluoride levels in drinking water associated with hypothyroidism prevalence in England? A large observational study of GP practice data and fluoride levels in drinking water." J Epidemiol Community Health 69(7): 619-624.
Singh, N., K. G. Verma, P. Verma, G. K. Sidhu and S. Sachdeva (2014). "A comparative study of fluoride ingestion levels, serum thyroid hormone & TSH level derangements, dental fluorosis status among school children from endemic and non-endemic fluorosis areas." Springerplus 3: 7.
Waugh, D. T., M. Godfrey, H. Limeback and W. Potter (2017). "Black Tea Source, Production, and Consumption: Assessment of Health Risks of Fluoride Intake in New Zealand." J Environ Public Health 2017: 5120504.
Yi, X., S. Qiao, L. Ma, J. Wang and J. Ruan (2017). "Soil fluoride fractions and their bioavailability to tea plants (Camellia sinensis L.)." Environ Geochem Health 39(5): 1005-1016.