Wearing a mask or face covering is the most effective tool we have right now to stop the spread of COVID-19, because according to studies wearing a mask can reduce the risk of infection by as much as 65%.
So wearing a mask is a no-brainer, but the downside is the friction of the fabric constantly rubbing against the skin and the heat and re-circulated moist air being the perfect breeding conditions for bacteria, giving rise to breakouts, blackheads, and skin irritation on our lower faces when we wear a mask for a prolonged period of time. Sure, "maskne,” as it’s been dubbed, is a small price to pay for lowering the rate transmission of COVID-19, but wouldn’t it be nice not to have to pay this price?
While skincare products like salicylic acid cleansers and retinol night creams go a long way in fighting acne, holistic methods like drinking tea is a great way to supplement your typical routine. These liquid elixirs, like antibacterial spearmint tea and anti-inflammatory green tea and honey, have no side-effects (if had in moderation), and won't dry out or irritate the skin like other topicals can do.
Before we talk about things that help clarify skin, I want to talk about things that might not. There have been many studies that prove that lactose, plus the chemicals and preservatives in milk have been linked to breakouts. I advise my clients that have active acne to eschew regular milk in tea to an alternative source like almond, oat milk, or drink herbal (milk-free teas). You should also consider swapping sugar with honey (which has a low glyceamic index).
Here celebrity Facialist Adeela Crown breaks down the skin benefits of different types of teas.
GREEN TEA: To help regulate oil and bacteria
Green tea contains substances called catechins. These plant-based compounds, or polyphenols, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. They also attack free radicals.
Green tea is especially rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol that has shown to improve acne and oily skin.
In addition to having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, EGCG lowers lipid levels and is anti-androgenic, making it effective at reducing sebum (oil) excretions in the skin. Excess sebum can clog pores and increase bacterial growth, causing hormonal acne.
How to brew: Depending on whether you are using loose leaf green tea or tea bags, brew from 1 - 3 mins and not longer. Small green tea leaves generally infuse more quickly than large leaves. Set a timer for 1 minute. Taste the tea at 1 minute and then every 30 seconds until it is to your liking. Add honey and lemon slice for antioxidant and antimicrobial protection.
How to drink: You can try drinking two to three cups a day, either hot or cold. Brew yours at home and avoid ready-made tea drinks where possible, unless their label indicates how much tea is actually in them. Some of these products contain more sugar than green tea!
BLACK TEA: To help speed-up skin-healing
If maskne blemishes are left unchecked, they may lead to long-term scarring, discoloration, and even repeated re-infection of the same congested pores over and over again. As well as using topical Oil Control Pads daily after your cleanse, I suggest brewing a hot black tea.
Rich in antioxidants, freshly brewed black tea helps accelerate the skin healing process and rejuvenates the skin from the inside out. Black tea also helps reduce inflammation and stimulates collagen production to increase skin's repair and regeneration mode.
The antioxidants present in black tea can help flush out toxins from your body and reduce the appearance of blemishes. A cup of hot black tea daily will give you naturally glowing skin and an even tone for days! Choose from Darjeeling (known as the Champagne of Black tea), Assam, Ceylon, Lapsang Souchong.
How to brew: For best flavor, bring spring or freshly drawn filtered water to a boil, add the tea bag or loose leaf and steep for 5 minutes. I don't recommend steeping for more than five minutes, because the longer that you steep your tea, the more caffeinated it will become.
How to drink: If you'd like to forego milk for lactose-intolerance or hormonal reasons then there are ways to make your brew more interesting and healthy to help reduce maskne. Try adding Lemon Verbena or fresh sprigs of Lemon Thyme for acidity and antibicrobial effect. Ginger will help boost immunity, and little-tried method of adding berries like raspberries, blackberries during the 5mins brew time will act as vitamin shots in your tea.
AYURVEDIC HERBAL TEAS: To target multiple maskne issues with balanced blends
If you, like me, prefer milk-free teas with powerful aromas and serious skin health benefits centered around 5000-year-old, long-practiced ayurvedic principles then look no more.
The Indian healing art of Ayurveda is based on the five elements of nature and the three individual doshas (energies) of each person, i.e. vatta, pitta, kapha. The Ayurvedic teaching aims at balancing your natural energies to aid your physical and mental well-being. A perfect philosophy for creating blends of teas to create harmony from inside-out. Perfect for strengthening the body to fight back the against a maskne attack!
Ayurvedic teas are normally a balanced blend of various herbs and botanicals to stimulate various skin health centres within the body. Depending on your taste palate and your choice of aromas the blend can act as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, detoxifying, can help improve gut health plus boost metabolism and immune system.
How to brew: Depending on the base leaves, steep for no longer than 5 minutes.
How to drink: Choose hibiscus to help against inflammation and moringa to provide the body with vital nutrients. Adding dried rose petals adds to the aromatic taste.
One of my go to brands for superior ayurvedic blends is ASMI AYURVEDA for their sustainably produced and packaged (they come in reusable chic tins) pre-blended selections. Try their Purify blend to aid detoxification to support inside-out skin health.
Be skin smart. Be Skincredible™
written by Adeela Crown