There’s no doubt about it - acne can be one of the most frustrating and embarrassing conditions to deal with, especially when it crops up unexpectedly in your adult life. The good news is: you are not alone. Many adults experience periodic breakouts throughout their lives.

If you feel like you’ve tried every cream, mask, and face wash on the market to no avail, it might be time to start adding some natural remedies to your routine as natural drinks can work as a fantastic remedy to unhappy skin.

In this article, we will investigate if it is possible to clear acne with natural beverages. We will explain how acne develops and how a few specific drinks can help.

What Even Causes Acne?

To understand how various drinks can help tackle stubborn outbreaks, it’s important to understand the science behind acne. Where does it come from, and what can help?

woman with acne

Acne is usually caused by a buildup of oil, dead skin, or bacteria in the pores in the outer layers of the skin. Every pore is the opening to a follicle, which holds a hair and an oil gland. These glands release sebum, or oil, which travels out of the pore onto the skin.

Oil is produced naturally and is an important part of keeping the skin healthy and lubricated. However, when pores become blocked, and oil builds up in the follicle, the pore becomes irritated, forming a painful bump over the affected area. If the oil buildup is close to the surface of the skin, you will see a whitehead. If it is deeper in the skin, you may only see a red, irritated bump.

There are several causes for acne formation ranging from poor hygiene to hormonal imbalance, low immunity, and even stress, and a number of factors play an important role in acne formation, including our diet and genes.

About Hormonal Breakouts

side view portrait of woman with acne scars

While breakouts can occur from poor hygiene, more often than not, they are the result of a hormonal imbalance in the body.

Hormones are natural chemicals that move through the body to stimulate growth, metabolism, and fertility. They are a crucial part of a healthy, functioning body. However, if your hormones become imbalanced, you may find yourself struggling with acne, along with other symptoms such as indigestion, hot flashes, or constipation.

Acne in teenagers

Most teenage acne breakouts are thought to be triggered by the hormone called testosterone. Levels of testosterone tend to increase during puberty to help children develop. Studies have shown that testosterone can cause the glands to generate more sebum than the skin requires.

Acne in women

Research shows that women are more likely to experience adult acne than men. This is because women tend to have more natural fluctuation in their hormonal levels. During a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, the hormone progesterone is released, causing the skin to become more oily, while the pores swell shut.

Hormonal changes can also occur as a result of hormonal birth control, or during pregnancy. Some women find that their skin is noticeably better or worse thanks to these hormonal changes.

So, Can Water Help With Acne?

lime water
Photographer: Mae Mu | Source: Unsplash

It is an accepted truth that oily skin can cause acne. But how does the skin get this oily in the first place?  The answer is Counterintuitive, the cause of oily skin happens when the skin is excessively dry. The oil glands respond to this by working harder to produce extra sebum to lubricate the skin.  

You’ve probably heard that simply increasing your water intake can help to ease acne breakouts. But is there any truth in that? Can drinking water actually help with acne? Or are things more complex than that?

Indirectly, drinking more water is thought to help acne because:

  1. It keeps the skin hydrated. If the skin is hydrated, the oil glands won't have to work extra hard to produce oil.
  2. Water flushes away the toxins that are formed through the normal physiological processes of our body. Many of these toxins are excreted through urine. The less hydrated you are, the longer the toxins linger in your system, and this could be yet another reason for frequent breakouts.

By including eight glasses of water in your daily routine, you will ensure that your entire body is properly hydrated. Hydration affects all of the bodily systems for the better, including the epidermis, or the skin.  

Does Drinking Water Help With Acne Scars?

If drinking water can help acne to an extent, can drinking water also help with acne scars? Well, the answer is not so clear cut. Proper hydration, to some extent, may come to your rescue.

Studies suggest that dehydration affects the healing process and increases the likelihood of damaged skin getting infected. As water carries oxygen and nutrients around the body it can help with the healing process, and in turn, can reduce the chances of scarring.

Sometimes, you may also end up with a keloid scar, where your body produces excessive collagen in the process of healing and you are left behind with a firm bump on your face. Keloid scars are dealt with medical management, which may include steroids and other minor surgical procedures.

In short, if you have an already formed scar; water won't completely get rid of it. You will have to consult a dermatologist if you are seeking permanent resolution of depressed scars. However, that said, drinking water can reduce the appearance of scars by increasing the elasticity and reducing the dryness of the skin. Brighter, plumper skin can make acne scars less apparent.

Top 8 Drinks to Help With Acne

Tumeric Tea

cup of turmeric tea

Turmeric is one of the most popular superfoods at the moment; with turmeric lattes and teas being more popular than ever.

But it does more than just flavoring your latte. Turmeric can help you with acne breakouts.

This spice is known for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. The anti-inflammatory effect might help your acne management.

A 2016 study shows that curcumin, a component of turmeric is responsible for the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric, and is proven to help reduce the severity of acne

You can prepare simple turmeric water by boiling water and then adding turmeric powder to it. If this drink is bland for you, add lemon, honey or tea, and other herbs to improve the taste and goodness.

Lemon Water

fresh lemon water
Photographer: Francesca Hotchin | Source: Unsplash

Lemon water is another very popular health drink, and it might also help with acne.

Lemon is rich in vitamin C, which gives lemon the properties of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. Vitamin C inhibits the chemicals required to initiate inflammation and this way it is helpful in managing acne.

In addition to that, it also stimulates the production of collagen, which is an essential component for proper wound healing. This way lemon way can help you with acne.

Lemon water can be prepared by squeezing lemon juice in water (room temperature or lukewarm). Add honey or tea for improved flavor.

Holy Basil Tea

Photographer: Manki Kim | Source: Unsplash

Holy Basil, also known as tulsi, is a well-known herb from Southeast Asia. It might also help manage acne to some extent.

Basil has many health benefits. No wonder it is a celebrated herb in Ayurveda. Not only does it have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects that can help with acne, but it also has anxiolytic effects. i.e. it relieves anxiety.

So if you are under a lot of stress and you suffer from stress-acne, a cup of holy basil tea each day might be helpful.

Matcha Tea

how to prepare matcha tea
Photographer: Alice Pasqual | Source: Unsplash

Many men and women swear by matcha tea as the ultimate cure for their persistent acne. Matcha is a strong form of green tea that contains plenty of antioxidants that fight off chemicals and bacteria that find their way into the skin. Essentially, they help to reinforce the skin’s natural defense system. The main antioxidant in matcha, EGCG, results in a lower production of sebum, decreased inflammation, and protection from external free-radicals.

Spearmint Tea

glass of spearmint tea

Mint is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Of all the mint varieties, spearmint is reportedly the best. In fact, this type of tea has been found so effective that it can reduce inflammatory acne by 25% in just one month, and 51% in three months. We recommend including two cups of organic, fresh spearmint tea in your daily routine for the best results.

Celery Juice

a pitcher and a glass of celery juice

Celery has been found to regulate hormonal imbalances, so it’s definitely a great food to include in your juice if you’re battling acne. It’s been found to reduce inflammation and flush out toxins by killing bacteria and fungi in the skin.

Blueberry Juice

full grown blueberries
Photographer: Élisabeth Joly | Source: Unsplash

Blueberries are a wonderful source of vitamin B6, which has been shown to help stabilize hormones during the menstrual cycle. If you struggle with hormonal acne when your time of the month comes around, whip up a blueberry juice to help alleviate the symptoms of PMS, including acne.

Kale Juice

bouquet of kale leaves in a pitcher
Photographer: Vince Lee | Source: Unsplash

Kale has certainly become something of a fad in the past few years. It can help tackle acne because of its nutrient profile. In kale, you’ll find a perfect mixture of vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium. Vitamin A will help to regulate the sebaceous glands, vitamin C will stimulate collagen creation, and magnesium will control stress hormones and insulin levels.

Final Thoughts

Staying hydrated helps in indirect (yet important) ways. But water or a combination of the other drinks highlighted in this article alone is not enough.

There are many factors that cause acne, and therefore when it comes to managing acne, a regime should be followed rather than seeking a single fit-for-all solution (which, by the way, does not exist). The regime should include proper hydration, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a proper skincare routine which includes a good moisturizer.

Apart from that, any systemic conditions should also be managed. For example, women with PCOS are more likely to have acne outbreaks because of higher testosterone levels in their system than normal. You can also experience acne during pregnancy, and around the time of your menstruation. Similarly, an acne outbreak can happen when you are under extreme stress for a long period.

Acne in all these conditions results from hormonal imbalance. In these conditions, keeping hydrated, diet, and exercise might help a bit but it won't be enough. Proper medical treatment will be required for a permanent resolution.

If you’re struggling with persistent acne breakouts, try not to get too frustrated. If you are seriously concerned about the condition of your acne, do not hesitate to speak to your doctor about possible solutions tailored to your body.