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Can Drinking Matcha Tea Help Get Rid of Acne?

What if I told you there’s a specific type of green tea that might be the holy grail of acne-friendly drinks?  A tea that not only has over 3 times the amount of antioxidants found in regular green tea, but also reduces inflammation, fights insulin resistance, and protects your skin from sun damage more effectively?

Enter Matcha Tea

It’s hard to think of a drink with more health benefits than green tea, whether or not its matcha tea:

  • Helps prevents cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s
  • Promotes proper bone and teeth health
  • Protects the skin from UV damage
  • Increased fat burning for weight loss

In addition to just generally improving your health, green tea also helps clear the skin by touching just about every root cause of acne there is, from insulin to inflammation.

Matcha is a type of high-quality green tea from Japan.  It’s made from younger tea leaves that are shaded from the sun during their last few weeks of growth.  This is what gives it that vibrant bright green color.

Matcha green tea

Matcha tea comes in powdered form and can be mixed into smoothies, baked into foods, or simply consumed as a hot or cold tea.

There are claims that matcha was the ancient drink of choice for both monks seeking calming energy during meditation as well as Samurai warriors looking for a zen pre-battle boost.  While I can’t personally back up these claims, I can tell you firsthand that matcha tea not only packs quite the kick but also has improved my skin quite a bit.

Because it’s lower in caffeine than coffee, it’s a lot less likely to trigger the same stress hormones that cause acne.  I still get just as much, if not more energy and focus from matcha, and the caffeine comedowns aren’t nearly as bad.

Benefits of matcha green tea for acne

Being a form of green tea, matcha has all the same skin-clearing benefits of regular green tea, but because of its potency and quality, these benefits are enhanced and improved.

While it may be a bit more expensive, this edge can really make all the difference.

1. Matcha is packed with powerful antioxidants

Consuming plenty of antioxidants is crucial for fighting squalene oxidation, one of the root causes of acne.

Squalene oxidation occurs when the oil found on your skin (sebum) doesn’t have enough antioxidants and nutrients to fight off incoming threats,  like chemicals, bacteria, UV exposure, and excessive oil production.  Antioxidants help prevent squalene oxidation from happening in the first place, which allows your skin to maintain a healthy balance of having just enough oil to protect yourself from outside threats but not too much that it clogs pores.

Matcha tea is loaded with antioxidants that help regulate and protect the oil on the skin from oxidizing (turning bad and clogging the pore).

The main antioxidant found in matcha tea is epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG for short.  EGCG helps prevent several of the root causes of acne, including:

  • Decreased insulin resistance
  • Lower production of sebum oil
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Protection from UV damage and free-radicals

One study even found that matcha green tea had 137x more EGCG antioxidants than one regular commercial brand of green tea, and 3x more antioxidants than any other type of green tea found in scientific literature (R).  That’s a lot of antioxidants!

Because of its rich antioxidant profile, there’s hardly a process of the acne-formation process that isn’t in some way helped by the consumption of matcha and EGCG.

2. Matcha lowers insulin resistance

Insulin is the master hormone that’s released when your blood sugar level rises after eating a meal.  It helps the sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream get absorbed by all the muscles and cells that need it.  Unfortunately, most of us consume too much sugar and carbohydrates, and our insulin levels are constantly elevated as a result.  This leads to blocked pores, inflammation, and too much oil production on the surface of the skin.

Fortunately, EGCG (the antioxidant that matcha is loaded with) has been shown to naturally lower insulin resistance and significantly help with the absorption of glucose (R).  This is a huge win for clear skin, and yet another reason matcha can be critical in your journey towards clear skin.

3. Matcha is anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is what causes those nasty, red, angry pimples and whiteheads.  Pimples emerge from simple, relatively harmless acne infections that occur when a pore gets blocked.  A pimple is your body’s natural defense mechanism against this basic infection.

As I talk about here, most acne-sufferers also have chronic inflammation due to an unbalanced diet, so your body treats just about any minor infection (like acne) as a dangerous threat.  The result is an endless cycle of inflammation and infection that leaves your face in red and with pimples.

Yet again, matcha tea comes to the rescue.  The antioxidants found in green tea have been shown to decrease the release of pro-inflammatory cells in the body (R).  Less inflammation means fewer pimples, whiteheads, and acne scars – another huge pro of drinking matcha.

4. Matcha promotes a healthy gut

Our modern diets are full of foods that destroy our digestive system.  Wheat, pasta, corn, and some legumes all contain anti-nutrients called lectins that wreak havoc on the gut.  An unhealthy gut can lead to leaky gut syndrome, which results in these anti-nutrients actually “leaking” into your bloodstream and triggering inflammation – and as a byproduct of this inflammation, you get, you guessed it, acne.

Luckily, matcha comes to the rescue yet again.  Matcha contains large amounts of polyphenols – micronutrients that get broken down into gut-friendly bacteria.  Not only do they improve gut health by creating beneficial probiotics, but they actively work to inhibit the growth of dangerous pathogenic bacteria in the gut.

5. Matcha lowers levels of hormones that cause acne

Insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, is hormone triggered by insulin and dairy consumption – it’s an absolute nightmare for acne.

Over the course of a few weeks, your skin goes through a natural process of shedding and replacing old skin cells.  IGF-1 causes your skin to produce way too many cells, which rise to the surface of the skin and block the pore.  A blocked pore is ripe territory for acne bacteria to swarm in and create an infection that can lead to acne.

EGCG limits IGF-1’s skin-damaging effects by directly blocking IGF-1 receptors and preventing them from ever getting overstimulated in the first place.  EGCG also limits the production of sebum oil (R).  This means you have a lower chance of getting a blocked pore in the first place.

The best type of matcha to buy for acne

When buying matcha, or any tea for that matter, the quality counts – but, just like the decision to buy organic vegetables or grass-fed meats, it’s not within everyone’s budget to purchase the highest quality matcha.

The good news is that high-quality, organic, Japanese matcha is easy to come by and affordable.

There are two main grades of matcha:

  • Ceremonial – Highest quality, made from youngest leaves, exclusively for tea
  • Culinary – Lower quality, made for use with other ingredients or as tea

If you can afford it, a high-quality, organic, ceremonial matcha will often contain more antioxidants per gram – but the difference is less than you’d think.  Here’s a comparison of two popular brands below:

The ceremonial grade barely inches out the culinary-grade in EGCGs despite being more than 4x the cost.  This means that if you’re buying matcha for its skin-clearing benefits, an organic, Japanese-grown, culinary grade will do just fine.  The taste will be a little more bitter than ceremonial-grade matcha, but if you can get past that you’ll still reap most of the health benefits.

There are a few things you want to watch out for when it comes to buying high-quality matcha:

  • Make sure that it’s made in Japan – Lots of new Chinese matcha teas are springing up at a fraction of the cost of their Japanese counterparts.  Why?  They contain additives and often have more contaminants, like aluminum and fluoride, which are harmful to your overall health and can cause acne.
  • Make sure it’s USDA-Certified Organic – This is a must-have for matcha, as it ensures that you avoid the pesticides and chemicals (especially fluoride) that can lurk in otherwise healthy foods and cause you to break out.  Organic brands of matcha aren’t hard to come by, and they’re really not much more expensive.
  • Make sure it’s safety tested – Certain teas can contain radiation and harmful metals that cause serious health problems.  Check the manufacturers closely to make sure proper safety testing for microbes, pesticides, heavy metals, and radiation are done.

Jade Leaf Culinary-Grade Matcha is the brand I swear by.  It hits all three of the major boxes – 100% USDA organic, grown in Japan, and it’s free of heavy metals and chemicals like fluoride.  Not only does it contain a high amount of EGCG’s per gram (57 – 68mg) and taste great, but it’s an affordable way to consume matcha on a daily basis.  I simply add it to hot water and drink it as a tea or occasionally mix it in with a smoothie.  I’ve found it to be a phenomenal coffee replacement that’s both better for my skin and my mental clarity.  Matcha doesn’t come with the jitters, anxiety, or crash that coffee often does.

Conclusion

Thanks to its antioxidant properties, green tea, and more specifically matcha, can really be a lifesaver for clear skin.

Not only does it tackle all 4 root causes of acne, but its overall health benefits make it a no-brainer.

If you struggle with acne even after making massive dietary changes, coffee or other caffeine-dense drinks may just be the culprit – high amounts of caffeine can spike cortisol levels and increase stress, causing acne.  Try replacing your morning cup of joe with matcha once a week and see if your skin improves – I find it to be more calming and energizing without the crashes and irritability of coffee, and I bet you will too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is matcha good for your skin?

Matcha contains methylxanthines and EGCG which help stimulate circulation and decrease inflammation.

Where does matcha tea originate from?

Matcha tea was originally created in the 8th century in Japan. Matcha is created by shading young tea leaves and mashing them up into a powder.

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood

Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision.

Read more of Sam's articles.

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