Acne Magic Quick Tip #2: Warm Tea Bags

Admittedly, despite the inexplicable popularity of my first “magic potion”  tip, I was not intending on writing a lot of posts about beauty and facial care.  But here’s another quick zit fix, the efficacy of which I can attest to personally.  And the idea actually came from a tip a nurse gave me when my daughter got a flu vaccination.

She said that if the injection site got red and swelled, I could use a warm tea bag on it to take out some of the redness and inflammation.  So I got to wondering, would it do the same for those pesky (and very painful) subcutaneous pimples I sometimes get, (ones I refer to as underground zits.)

Turns out, it does.  Take a tea bag and run it under hot water, as warm as is comfortable, and then press the bag to the blemish.  (Hold it there with a paper towel to catch any tea that drips out.)  Within minutes, you will notice a difference in the size and redness of the pimple.  This is especially helpful when I’ve picked and squeezed at the damn thing, trying to get it to come to a head, but only accomplished making it bigger, redder, and more sore.

I’m not a dermatologist by any stretch, but I think it works for several reasons. Firstly, heat will open your pores and likely start to draw the blemish out.  Normally, to reduce swelling, an ice cube would probably be a safer bet, but I believe the tea has a sort of drawing salve effect, and the benefits of tea are well documented.  I have used this trick several times, and I don’t know if my blemishes necessarily heal any faster, but I definitely notice the short term effects of a reduction in size and redness.  At any rate, it’s cheap and easy, as most of you probably keep tea bags in your kitchen anyway.

Tea can also be used topically, as a tincture or a poultice, for cuts, burns, baggy eyes, or as an astringent.  It can also be ingested, different types of tea supposedly having different therapeutic benefits.  I’ll include some links below if you are interested in using tea or other herbs for health and beauty.

So…there’s your quick tip, and here’s your links.  Don’t say I never gave you anything!

common herbs and some of their uses

brewing therapy teas

24 responses to “Acne Magic Quick Tip #2: Warm Tea Bags

  1. It is my professional opinion that it works. The problem is it doesn’t work for everyone but nothing ever does. I also use tea bags during a facial to reduce the puffing of a customer‘s eyes. It is just generally a good idea to stimulate a pimple as little as possible.

    If you massage, pinch, prick, or squeeze then you run the risk of opening up your blood vessels and allowing more of the bacteria under your skin to reach the surface. This is also why after some people get waxed they also breakout. Cosmetically a person would think it is bad but it is completely natural.

    When I am at home giving myself a facial I will boil a pot of water, all you need is a wee bit, and then put a green tea bag in it. I will wait a minute to let the water cool then put my face over it. I use a towel placed over my head to keep the steam in. I find its great for opening up the pores before you put on a mask or get rid of blackheads. Most people don’t have steamers we do in the salon. Honestly it doesn’t matter what kind of tea you use. I like the relaxing aroma.

    Anyway hope that helps.

    • Yeah, experts seem to agree, picking is bad always! But I still do it. It’s almost a compulsion. In a variation to your idea, I drape a warm rag over my face for a few moments to open pores. I was wandering if I could make an light infusion of tea-water to do that. Thanks for your tips!

  2. Thank you for the informative post…I can also attest to the use of green tea bags in drawing out those really stubborn blackheads so they come to a head and form a pimple which makes them easier to get rid of…I then use a benzoyl peroxide ointment or ice to prevent further infection of the pimple. At the same time I drink a lot of green tea so that could also be helping my skin overall. I have gone from breaking out with various pimples consistently around my chin area to maybe a pimple at a time (and only during that time of the month), after incorporating green tea into my diet…Its amazing how these simple ( read cheap) things which we sometimes overlook can make such a vast difference to our skin and subsequently our self esteem..And I am the kind of person who used to buy every new, expensive treatment on the market to get rid of my acne and they NEVER worked…FML :/

    • How much green tea have you added to your diet? Do you add sugar or honey? I love tea but I have to add at least a LITTLE sugar (I don’t like a lot of it) but would that counter the positive effects of the tea? Thank you for adding these additional tips!!!

      • Hi alienred, I usually drink 4-5 mugs per day, I find them easier to drink than water…and I drink them without sugar or honey since I try to avoid any carbs in my diet…I have however decided to start having them with a little organic honey since drinking green tea straight everyday can get tiresome at times…So yes, not the honey in the bear, but Manuka or any kind of raw honey and just a teaspoon of it…It is better to avoid sugar altogether since you would just be cancelling out the effects of the green tea…Btw do you have any other quick tips for underground pimples..I woke up a week ago with this under skin pimple which refuses to reduce in size and is too hard to pop…So far all I have noticed is that layers of skin peel off every two days, leading once again to an impenetrable bump..I have tried the green tea bag trick but I think the zit is too deep under the skin to be affected…I am afraid that I am going to give in and try to pop it and I dont want to..
        And thank you again for your informative posts…I look forward to reading everyone of them..

        • Awww,. man, resist the urge!! The underground ones usually don’t pop! That’s what makes them so horrible. If you have been using an acne med on it (topical) that may be why you are getting the peeling. I also find that if they do help, it is by keeping the damn thing from coming to the surface, so even if the infection in the zit clears, you are often lef with just a little hard bump that takes a couple weeks to go away. So it really depends on which you find less bothersome. lol. I know that sucks. If you feel you must pop, try putting a nice hot rag on it for a few moments before hand to open the pores, and then try using your knuckles instead of finger tips, to gently squeeze the sizes. If you have to apply too much pressure and it’s still not popping, leave it be, because all you’ll end up doing is making the thing bigger and redder by irritating the skin around it too! (I should know; I’m a veteran picker! lol) Hope some of this helps…

  3. At 27, my hormonal acne erupted in the same gross underground fashion, as chin dwellers o_O I have also found that an almost hot green tea bag seems to get the healing started earlier. They are almost never the pop or pick kind, just mountains. Recently I started a diff regimen that I want to share because about a week in it’s actually working: antiseptic/antimicrobial skin cleanser in the morning and benzoyl peroxide 10% cleanser at night. It’s very drying- hence my stumbling upon your site for the rosewater/glycerin tip, but it’s keeping new bacteria from growing and very old bumps are actually finally fading. Hate hearing about others with this same humiliating affliction, but it’s great to know I’m not alone lol *le cry : )

    • That’s awesome you finally found something to help! For my part, exfoliating (almost to the point of excess) with a good charcoal mask seems to really help me. I have to be careful with the Benzoyl Perox. As you said, very drying. Once I used the creme and my face was scaly for like a week and a half!!!

  4. im 11 and i want my pimples gone so bad my mom came up with idea and im not sure if it will help because i dont want it to get more red so i guess ill give it a try

    • Sugar? No, honey, there’s nothing to add sugar to. It’s just a warm tea bag. You are essentially using it as a compress. I have found this seems to work for redness and size, but often only temporarily, for that. The heat and tea should draw the impurities closer to the surface though. For you I’d recommend the black sugar and charcoal mask Freeman makes. (I posted somewhere else around here about it, and you can get it at the drugstore.)

  5. Well I’ve only put tea bags on for like 2 minutes and it worked . I mean it’s still there but, the redness and swelling is gone , my skin is very sensitive so I have to use natural products on my pimples :-/

  6. Pingback: 33 Smart Ways to Reuse Tea Bags (Other Than to Make More Tea)

  7. This site is quite interesting. Please how will i get my own treated, it was just started somehow like pimple, it’s now very hard and strong and has grown hairs on it, will it gone if i should use this procedure. There are three strong deep ones on my right cheek and one below my ear. They are so horrible and irritating. Please suggest on what i should do. Thanks.

    • Well, it’s hard to say, ELijah. I mean, sometimes, you can get really hard cystic ones or closed comedones that are best seen to by a dermatologist. The tea bag trick is really only temporary. It makes it smaller and draws some redness out, but it doesn’t necessarily make it stay away. Try a warm compress on the large ones . If it may come to a head, you may see white near the surface and once a warm tea bag or rag has opened up your pores, you may be able to get it to come out. But don’t or push too hard, because you can just damage your skin further. If these large ones are very painful, and last too long or get worse, you may want to see a doc and make sure they are not abscesses, especially if this is something that doesn’t normally happen to you. best of luck. 🙂

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