If the Reddit skincare SB were a ten foot deep pool, all of its most active users are comfortably treading water and I am dipping in my foot to check out the temperature. That has not, however, stopped me from using this gold mine of crowd sourced information to find my next skincare experiment.
This time last week my skin was almost completely clear (for me), save for one or two whiteheads that got taken care of quickly thanks to my CosRX pimple patches. But over the course of a few days -- more importantly, two days that brought me closer to my period during which my hormones go wild, my face has become the residence to a small family of cystic pimples.
I stumbled upon a Strategist article about the best ten acne treatments of 2018 where spearmint tea was on the list specifically for its anti-androgen properties that benefit hormonal acne sufferers. I ping ponged between being 100% sold and being riddled with skepticism, and then proceeded to buy a box of the damn stuff on Sunday.
Day 1: I'm hoping for a miracle but expecting more realistic results. If it doesn't make a difference, at least this is a healthy habit and spearmint tea is great for soothing an upset stomach.
Day 2: I picked at a cyst that deceived me into believing it was forming into a whitehead and now I have to walk around all day with a glob of concealer on my chin that (in my head) is as protruding as my Greek nose. And on a Monday no less.
Day 3: I'm not looking too great and am wondering if I have the luck of someone for whom this could have the total opposite effect?
Day 4: I have some lemon and ginger tea at a cafe in Morningside Heights while I wait to meet a friend. We end up ordering too much food and because it's all delicious I eat more than I normally would. I rush to Port Authority to make my bus home and promptly pass out after showering.
Day 5: I make myself a cup of tea in the morning to compensate for last night and I, unsurprisingly, am not able to finish it before having to leave. I give it a second go when I get home and even mix in some collagen powder because I can be an overachiever when I want to.
Day 6: Another day of mediocre skin. I have a cup of tea before bed.
Day 7: Today isn't much different than yesterday and I try to drink two cups (one with breakfast) but am defeated by the limits imposed on me by time. I get home early enough to have an hour in between showering and sleep where I squeeze in a cup of tea.
Does my skin look better? Not quite. I'm making a promise to myself to keep up this habit though because, like I said, spearmint tea has other benefits even if it isn't going to be my gateway miracle to clear(er) skin.
But the science is, kind of, there. This Byrdie article references a 2015 study by the American Academy of Dermatology that revealed that two cups of spearment tea "ingested daily reduced inflammatory acne lesions by 25% after one month and by 51% after three months."
So yes, had I included that in the foreward to my experiment journal my point would have been a moot point and that might be why I didn't. However, there's something to be said about treating acne from within that isn't limited to the lifestyle modifications of drinking more water, cutting back on alcohol, and eliminating processed sugars from your diet -- because I adhere to all of those and do all of those things and yet, I break out consistently.
The ritual of doing something like drinking tea feels more targeted and that, by fault, feels good. It could be my secret to not freaking out at the sight of a new blemish and utilizing my army of skincare products to defeat the spots on my face. Instead of taking away -- exfoliating too much is a thing I think a lot of us are doing right now -- I can use this as an introduction to me giving my skin and body the nutrients and goodness it needs.