If you thought basil was just the leaf that you might find on top of a fancy Margherita pizza, think again! This nutrient-rich herb, typically found in Central Africa and East Asia, might just be your next go-to skincare savior: I’m talking about basil tea for acne! With its antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, basil tea makes for the perfect anti-acne skincare ingredient. In this article, I’m going to talk a little bit about the benefits of basil tea for acne, as well as give you some tips and pointers on how to include this natural ingredient in your skincare routine.
What Is Basil?
Belonging to the mint family, there are several forms of basil, with most of them known for their various culinary uses. While basil is a culinary staple from the Mediterranean to Vietnam, most people don’t know is that basil is full of skin-enriching vitamins and nutrients, as well as powerful antioxidants and free-radical fighting compounds.
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Common Varieties Of Basil
Sweet Basil: Sweet basil is one of the most common varieties of basil, known typically for its place in various dishes, as well as being a key flavor staple in the Mediterranean culinary palette.
Greek Basil (also known as bush basil): Despite greek basil being less aromatic and pungent than sweet basil, greek basil has stronger flavors.
Holy Basil (also known as tulsi or tulasi) Holy basil, considered sacred in some cultures, promotes therapeutic properties and is typically used in herbal green teas.
Thai Basil: Cultivated in Southeast Asia, Thai basil enjoys a sweeter, richer taste than most aromatic basils.
Is Basil Good For You?
Like many herbs and other greens, basil is full of vitamins and antioxidant properties and is beneficial when incorporated into any healthy diet or skincare routine. Basil can be used topically or ingested, typically via herbal teas but also eaten alongside foods such as salads. The great thing about basil is that there are many ways to use it in order to get the most out of its nutrient and anti-inflammatory properties. I will explain how to use basil for acne (and other uses) further on in the article.
Benefits of Basil:
- Contains Vitamin C, Vitamin A, as well as important minerals including iron, zinc, and calcium
- Is easily ingested through health supplements and herbal teas
- Easy to buy – you can find herbal teas and basil leaves in most supermarkets
- Great for DIY, natural skincare (keep reading for some examples!)
- Full of antioxidants (beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin)
- Is an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body manage stress and control inflammatory responses in the body
- Helps the body fight oxidative stress and the effect of free radicals on skin cell structure
Is Basil Anti-Inflammatory?
Yes! Basil is what is known as an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body deal with stress and actively fights any inflammatory response from your body. Those of us with acne-prone skin are aware of the impact stress can have on our complexions: just a couple of hectic days at work can cause an eruption of breakouts! Inflammation also leads to oxidative stress in the skin: this breaks down the collagen in the skin
Stress is known to increase acne breakouts due to the effect of cortisol, (the stress hormone) which triggers both stimulation of oil production, as well as an inflammatory response from the body. Being an adaptogen, basil is anti-inflammatory and can help keep stress-related breakouts at bay, and protect the skin overall from the damage incurred by free radicals. Basil also contains two important compounds that fight inflammation: orientin and vicenin. These two compounds have been proven to protect cell structure from oxidation damage.
Is Basil Antiseptic?
Basil is considered antimicrobial, which means that it helps to keep the skin’s surface free of bacteria-causing acne breakouts. Basil also contains several natural oils, meaning that it contains natural cleansing properties that can also contribute to the clearing of bacteria and acne on the surface of the skin. The natural essential oils can help clear out sebum, clogged pores, as well as dead skin cells, preventing the build-up on skin that can lead to breakouts. Basil’s antimicrobial properties have been shown to effectively counter bacterias including staphylococcus, salmonella, and listeria, making it antiseptic both for the skin and body.
How to Use Basil Tea for Acne
Basil can be used in many ways to help speed up skin repair, clear up breakouts, and keep your skin naturally hydrated. Here are my top recommendations for incorporating basil into your skin and wellbeing routine:
Basil Tea Drinks
Drinking herbal teas is great for helping acne-prone skin: not only does drinking tea boost natural hydration but most herbal teas (like matcha) are packed with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which help keep the skin healthy and blemish-free. If you want to obtain an all-over dose of those powerful basil antioxidants, drinking basil tea will deliver them to the whole body, rather than simply to the surface of the skin. Basil tea is proven to aid the body in the following ways, besides helping maintain healthy skin:
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps fight depressive moods and mood swings
- Can aid management of diabetes through blood sugar regularion
- Detoxifies the body and works as an all-over anti-inflammatory
Is Drinking Basil Good for You?
Yes! When it comes to choosing between topical skincare products and ingestible supplements, those with acne-prone skin might even be better off drinking basil tea than using topical creams or serums infused with basil, at least to begin with. I’d recommend drinking basil tea for acne rather than applying DIY masks: see how your body and skin react before moving onto topical treatments. This also applies to those with sensitive skin: drinking basil tea will enable you to take advantage of all the nutritious basil medicinal properties without potentially inflaming your skin with a new product. Basil tea also contains no caffeine, so it isn’t going to cause caffeine-related breakouts in the way that excess coffee consumption can.
Basil-infused herbal tea can also be a great alternative for men when it comes to herbal and green teas: certain types of herbal tea are unsuitable for the treatment of male acne, as they reduce testosterone and can cause a wide variety of lifestyle problems when consumed regularly. I don’t recommend excessive consumption of peppermint tea if you’re male: this type of herbal tea can reduce testosterone, which can leave you feeling lethargic and moody. Basil tea is a great alternative, and won’t impact your hormones.
What is the Best Type of Basil for Tea?
When it comes to choosing the best type of basil tea for acne, you don’t need to spend a lot of time choosing between the various varieties. Most of the variations between common types of basil are simply differences in taste and aroma: the benefits and basil medicinal properties tend to stay the same, no matter what type of basil you use. That being said, I’d recommend using holy basil tea because it has a milder aroma and taste than other types of basil.
Basil Tea Toner
One of the most cost-effective and novice-friendly DIY basil treatments is basil tea toner – you can make this at home with just a couple of ingredients.
How To Make Basil Tea Toner:
- Begin by boiling a handful of fresh basil leaves
- After straining the water, discard any remaining particles
- After letting the toner cool down, apply a small amount to a cotton pad and apply it to the face. No need to rinse it off afterward – let your skin soak up all the basil benefits!
What Are The Benefits Of Basil Tea Toner for Acne?
Basil tea toner is great for acne for a number of reasons, not least because the natural ingredients (just basil and water) mean that you’re not overloading your pores with heavy, potentially comedogenic ingredients. Basil also contains Camphene, an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial organic compound ideal for a homemade toner that clears the pores without stripping the skin.
Benefits of Basil Tea Toner for Acne:
- Lightweight on the skin
- Won’t clog the pores
- 100% natural alternative to manufactured skincare products
- Inexpensive compared to similar skincare products
- All-round skin benefits: a healthy glow, clearer skin, antimicrobial,
If you’re not into the idea of making your own homemade skin toner, you can find high-street skincare products infused with basil and combined with other skin-enhancing ingredients. One of my favorite toners is Banila’s Dear Hydration Toner, which combines holy basil with peppermint and neem leaf, two other inflammation-fighting, antioxidant herbs. I used this toner for just a couple of days before I noticed a reduction in breakouts: the combination of these three herbs, alongside the bamboo and lotus water, really kept bacteria and build-up off my skin. I don’t tend to use lots of skincare products, but I do find that skincare products infused and formulated with natural ingredients tend to work best for my skin.
Neem and Basil for Acne Treatment
If you’re not familiar with neem, it’s a super anti-inflammatory herb with known therapeutic properties. When combined with basil, this duo can become a powerful antioxidant cocktail for the skin, and help with redness, inflammation, acne breakouts, and other common causes and symptoms of acne.
How to Make a Neem and Basil for Acne Treatment:
- After washing a handful of freshly washed clean basil leaves and a handful of neem leaves, mix them in a blender or processor together.
- Add a little water to the mix until the mixture reaches a smoother, spreadable consistency.
- Apply the homemade mask to your face (avoiding the eye area) before washing off after around 10-15 minutes.
What Are The Benefits Of a Neem and Basil for Acne Treatment?
As both basil and neem are considered antimicrobial herbs, this combination will clear away any existing impurities from the skin, unclog the pores, and leave you with a non-shiny, natural and healthy glow.
Do I Have to Make A Basil Mask?
If you’re not too keen on doing DIY masks, there are a number of skincare products that you can buy which contain all the anti-inflammatory properties of basil, whether it be moisturizers, toners, cleansers or masks. Before I was even aware of the skincare benefits of basil, I’d been using Clearstem’s PREGAME face mask: this glow-enhancing mask is infused with bamboo, exfoliating fruit acids, and yes, holy basil!
I’d been using this mask for around 2-3 weeks when I began to truly see the difference in my skin: my complexion felt truly hydrated and the skin around my acne scars appeared plumper and smoother; the scars themselves seemed much less pronounced than they once were. And, for the first time in a long time, I was breakout-free. Not one single pimple. After having a quick scan of the label and seeing “holy basil” amongst the ingredients, I knew that I finally had to write an article about this superstar skincare ingredient! In my work as a pharmacist, I already knew about the benefits of basil when it came to its potency as a natural antiseptic; that being said, I never knew just how effective it could be when used on the skin. If you’re looking to incorporate a basil skincare product into your skincare routine, I highly recommend this mask.
Basil Tea for Acne: Verdict?
So, with all that being said, what do I really think about basil tea for acne? We know that basil tea carries numerous skin-enhancing benefits for the complexion, but does this “superfood” (or rather, super drink!) guarantee clear skin? The answer to this is simple: clear skin demands a thorough overhaul of both your diet and your lifestyle.
If you incorporate basil tea into a diet full of refined sugars, unrefined carbohydrates, and greasy foods, obviously the benefits of basil tea are going to seem minimal. However, if you incorporate basil tea into a lifestyle or daily routine which is already healthy – aka a balanced diet, enough exercise, and a minimalist skincare routine – you’re going to benefit significantly from basil tea, with greater and longer-lasting visible results.
If you are looking for a “healthy” drink to help flush toxins out of your system and improve your skin but don’t care for the taste of basil you should check out celery juice. Celery juice is great for flushing toxins out of your system and decreasing inflammation throughout the body.