Acne breakouts are never fun. Not only can acne be painful, but it also can make you feel self-conscious and less confident. If acne persists long enough, most people set out to clear their acne through dietary changes, skincare products, medications, or other types of manual intervention.
So when social media influencers started raving about the benefits of liquid chlorophyll for acne, people were intrigued.
And while some reports suggest that chlorophyll might be a beneficial component when it comes to getting rid of acne, it also comes with a fair share of warnings and potential side effects you should pay close attention to if you are considering giving it a try. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
But before we move on to how chlorophyll can improve skin health and clear acne breakouts, you need to understand how your diet can trigger acne. Many people are surprised to learn that certain foods can trigger acne breakouts. So before you begin buying supplements to clear your skin, try to figure out if removing inflammatory foods from your diet can clear your skin. If you want to learn more, check out GoodGlow’s acne resource guide for in-depth information on how to take your skin’s health into your own hands.
What is Chlorophyll, and What Does It Do?
Chlorophyll is the green pigment that gives plants their color. Just like we have melanocyte cells that produce melanin and give our skin its color, plants have chloroplasts, which are organelles that produce chlorophyll.
The primary function of chlorophyll in plants is to absorb light and energy from the sun and convert it into chemical energy that can be used to produce glucose from carbon dioxide and water. This process is called photosynthesis, and it’s how plants make their food.
This tells us that chlorophyll is vital in sustaining plant life, but what does it have to do with human health?
Well, since chlorophyll is found in edible plants such as spinach, parsley, broccoli, kale, asparagus, etc., it’s known that it’s rich in vitamins C, A, E, and K. These vitamins are powerful antioxidants that can help fight free radicals by carrying oxygen throughout the body and boost enzymes that detoxify our bodies and relieve inflammation.
However, since eating these plants is healthy and nourishing for our bodies, we’ve developed a way to boost these effects by consuming chlorophyll in liquid or supplement form.
To put things into perspective, one cup of spinach has around 25 milligrams of chlorophyll, while one cup of parsley has about 20 milligrams.
On the other hand, one cup of liquid chlorophyll (which is the recommended daily dose written on bottles of liquid chlorophyll) contains 100 to 300 milligrams of green goodness, which is around ten cups of edible greens, give or take.
Therefore, to maximize the intake of this nutrient, many have taken to ingest concentrated chlorophyll to help relieve inflammation and eliminate inflammatory skin conditions such as acne.
Drinking chlorophyll is particularly being touted on social media as a quick way to eliminate pimples and a one-week ticket to clear skin.
But can chlorophyll really help with acne, or is this just another social media trend like the many others that cycle in and out each week?
Does Drinking Chlorophyll Help With Acne?
Based on minor clinical trials, it was determined that chlorophyllin, a chlorophyll-derivative, exhibits some antibacterial, antioxidant, and anticancer activities.
This makes sense since chlorophyll is a polyphenol, a component that helps manage blood pressure levels, keep the blood vessels healthy and flexible, promote good circulation, and reduce chronic inflammation throughout the body.
However, at this stage, chlorophyll’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities, specifically against acne-causing bacteria, are difficult to determine.
But in this small study, it is suggested that some components may potentially decrease both mRNA and protein levels of acne-related inflammation.
Simply put, chlorophyll and some chlorophyll derivatives can help control the growth of acne-causing bacteria and reduce the inflammation that leads to acne on the skin’s surface.
And while this is a new and interesting avenue to explore when it comes to managing acne, we can assume that chlorophyll can positively impact acne, specifically because of the vitamins and minerals it contains and their anti-inflammatory properties.
As we already mentioned, chlorophyll has abundant levels of vitamins C, A, E, and K, all antioxidants that help fight inflammation.
Vitamins A, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins that help renew the skin and keep the mucous membranes healthy.
Vitamins A and E are also great for keeping the skin moisturized and strengthening the skin barrier, which is important because a compromised skin barrier with an insufficient count of lipids to defend against pathogenic bacteria is one of the main triggers of acne.
On the other hand, vitamin K, when used topically, has wound-healing abilities that help the skin recover after an injury or trauma by being involved in the formation and support of proteins that help maintain healthy skin cells.
But besides that, when ingested, vitamin K has many vital functions within the body, including anti-calcification, anticancer, and, most interestingly, insulin-sensitizing properties.
This action can help decrease acne because we know that insulin or insulin resistance can lead to increased production of the IGF-1 hormone, which is a big factor in the development of acne.
Lastly, we have vitamin C, which is an incredibly popular melanin-inhibitor frequently found in skin care products that helps fade hyperpigmentation and inflammation due to acne, heals UV damage on the skin, and boosts collagen production.
However, when taken through food sources like fruits and vegetables, vitamin C can help fight the free radicals that cause inflammation and improve the skin’s barrier function, thus improving the skin’s overall health, including making it less susceptible to developing acne.
So, we can see that drinking chlorophyll does have some potential benefits when it comes to managing acne.
But before we get too excited, it’s important to note that these studies are very preliminary and more research needs to be done to determine the efficacy of chlorophyll for acne.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that chlorophyll is a very large molecule, and when you drink liquid chlorophyll, not everything goes into the skin. Most of it is broken down into smaller pieces that are then absorbed into the bloodstream.
The rest of it is being excreted through urine, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re thinking about using chlorophyll specifically for acne.
That said, chlorophyll-rich juice is definitely not a magic compound that is going to give you clear skin overnight, and there are, in fact, some side effects that you should be aware of.
Side Effects of Drinking Chlorophyll for Acne
Drinking too much chlorophyll can lead to an array of side effects, ranging from an upset stomach, diarrhea, and green stool because, again, this is a pigment that stains.
It can also interact with certain medications like blood thinners, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start taking chlorophyll instead of resorting to self-dosing, as you might not be so pleasantly surprised by some of the side effects.
Additionally, there are some major concerns about how drinking chlorophyll can affect the skin, as it’s been observed that the green juice can cause rashes and blisters.
Chlorophyllin, which is the compound we mentioned earlier, can accumulate in the lining of the blood vessels in your skin which can lead to irritation, rashes, burning, and redness.
Furthermore, chlorophyll can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and prone to sunburns.
Remember, chlorophyll is a pigment whose main function is to absorb light and turn it into energy for plants, which means it can do the same to your skin.
Finally, one of the most severe skin reactions associated with self-medicating with chlorophyll is pseudoporphyria, a condition that manifests on the skin as inflamed, swollen, and painful blisters that can lead to permanent scarring.
Therefore, considering all this, we can determine that while there are potential benefits to drinking chlorophyll for acne, there are also some significant risks. Self-medicating might not be worth it in the end.
Does Topical Chlorophyll Help With Acne?
Topical chlorophyll can be a better option if you want to use this green pigment for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
While, again, we don’t have as much research on topical chlorophyll and its effect on acne, this route looks more promising than drinking liquid chlorophyll due to the reduced risk of experiencing some of the side effects we mentioned earlier.
Additionally, some research confirms topical chlorophyll can reduce inflammation and redness associated with acne and the size and severity of lesions.
Namely, a study conducted on 24 participants with various severity of acne applied a lotion containing chlorophyllin for four weeks and experienced a significant reduction in their acne symptoms, including a decrease in the number of acne lesions and reduced inflammation.
These findings suggest that topical chlorophyll might be an effective acne treatment; however, further research is needed to confirm these results.
And although this might be the case, we are already seeing an increase in demand for skincare products that contain this powerful antioxidant due to the overall stability and safety of removing potential irritants in a lab and carefully formulating a product that is both effective and safe to use.
Best Skincare Products with Chlorophyll
While chlorophyll is still a very new ingredient, it’s one that’s going to become increasingly popular in skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties.
With that said, here are two excellent skincare products that contain chlorophyll and can help improve your skin:
Youth To The People Kale + Green Tea Superfood Face Cleanser
Gentle, soothing, and effective at removing daily grime and makeup, the Kale + Green Tea Superfood Face Cleanser is a foaming gel cleanser that cleanses the skin without stripping its natural moisture barrier and leaving it dry, stretched, and irritated.
Normal, Oily, Dry, Combination, and Sensitive Skin
Youth To People’s cleanser contains superfoods including kale, spinach, green tea, and alfalfa help redcue redness and inflammation in the skin.
Balances PH of Skin
Vitamin C and E extracts help to balance the natural PH balance of the skin.
Youth To People’s cleanser is completely free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, dimethicone, and mineral oil
One of the most popular products from the clean skincare brand Youth to The People, the Kale + Green Tea Superfood Cleanser is a gentle gel cleanser containing several antioxidant-rich ingredients, including vitamins C, E, and K, that help reduce inflammation, fight free radical damage, and protect the skin from environmental stressors.
And although it’s not specifically marketed as an acne-fighting cleanser, this product does contain chlorophyll, which, with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, is an excellent option for those struggling with acne.
Youth to The People Kale + Green Tea Superfood Face Cleanser Pros:
- Excellent for sensitive, acne-prone skin.
- Soothes inflammation and actively reduces irritation.
- Helps relieve redness caused by acne.
Youth to The People Kale + Green Tea Superfood Face Cleanser Cons:
Youth To The People – Air-Whip Moisture Cream
Lightweight, air-whipped gel moisture cream
Featuring hyaluronic acid and a custom superfoods blend of kale, spinach, green tea, alfalfa, vitamins C, E, K
Soothes inflammation on the skin and repairs damaged skin barrier
Clean, 100% vegan formula
No parabens, phthalates, sulfates, phthalates, dimethicone, or mineral oil. USA made and supplied in recyclable packaging. No animal testing.
Suitable for all skin types
Friendly for all skin types, best for combo/oily
Formulated with kale, spinach, and green tea, the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture is a lightweight moisturizer rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, which work together to soothe inflammation, reduce acne and redness, and fade acne scars.
Additionally, and due to its whipped, lightweight texture, this cream is ideal for those with oily and acne-prone skin as it doesn’t clog pores or leave behind a greasy residue that can further aggravate acne.
Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream Pros:
- Lightweight, whipped texture hydrates the skin without leaving it greasy.
- Excellent for sensitive, irritated, and acne-prone skin.
- Contains barrier-repairing ingredients.
Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream Cons:
Does Chlorophyll Help With Acne Scars?
Due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, chlorophyll could potentially help fade some types of acne scars, mainly discolored patches such as hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory redness, with consistent use.
However, since chlorophyll is still a relatively new ingredient, there is not enough evidence to support its efficacy in fading acne scars.
On the other hand, a good skincare routine, including using products that contain chlorophyll and work great for your skin, could smooth out some of the textured types of acne scars, such as atrophic scarring; however, a combination of a great skincare routine and professional treatments are going to give you the best results.