Kombucha And Acne: The Sufferer's Guide
Kombucha has many purported health benefits, uses and applications. One such is acne, anecdotally some have said that by drinking kombucha their acne has improved. Others have said that by using SCOBY facemasks, or kombucha soaps it has also helped clear up their acne too.
We’re going to explore the purported effects, considerations before using, expert medical advice, how to consume, DIY soaps and face masks too.
[Warning: Below contains unverified opinion and anecdotal reports from unqualified individuals - none of which constitutes medical advice, nor should it be acted on. If you’re concerned about your health, visit your family doctor immediately]
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What Is Acne?
Acne is often thought of as a condition only teenagers have, and one they’ll grow out of quickly. For many this couldn’t be further from the truth, leading them on a path from medical expert to medical expert only to never find a solution. More recently many online health advisers have been seeking alternative treatments and remedies - kombucha has been used in the attempted treatment of acne.
The Official Definition:
“Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples, and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.” Source: MayoClinic.
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a slightly effervescent sweet fermented tea beverage. It’s thought to have originated in China over 2000 years ago. The popularity has boomed in the past 10 years, with popular brands such as GT's and Kevita being stocked nationwide. It's often touted as a health drink, and has become very popular in the USA and now worldwide too.
Here at Grow You Pantry we grow our own SCOBYs! If you're interested in SCOBYs, or other kombucha accessories check out Our Store for the latest price.
Does Kombucha Help Acne?
This is disputed, there is no medical evidence that proves it does help or cure acne. Therefore we will investigate the living contents contained within kombucha and the SCOBY - breaking down how it has been purported to help.
How Can Kombucha Help Acne?
Live Cultures - Unpasteurized, raw kombucha contains bacteria. When brewing kombucha the live culture cause the fermentation of tea. Therefore when consuming kombucha for the health benefits it’s essential that you only purchase raw, unpasteurized kombucha. This will ensure the live cultures will be contained.
Live cultures contain many different strands of bacteria and yeast. This is the part which is sought after by those looking for kombucha's health benefits.
Probiotics - Probiotics are contained within a live culture. Probiotics is the technical term for bacteria that supports and improves gut health. In raw kombucha they’re contained within the ‘living’ culture.
The Gut - There’s an unsubstantiated theory that good skin starts with the gut. If you have great gut health it’s thought that you will also have great skin. Proponents of this theory advise that you eat a diet rich in good yeast and bacteria. Advocating foods and drinks such as, raw kombucha, raw apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, and kefir to name a few.
Similar Studies - Fermented foods have been said to help improve the condition of acne. There was a Korea study which had participants consume fermented dairy products which saw a decrease of acne of up to 40%! You can check it out for more information here: Korean Fermented Dairy Study.
How To Use Kombucha To Treat Acne
When drinking kombucha we would recommend drinking no more than 8oz per day. If you’re new to drinking kombucha or looking to experiment we would recommend drinking less than 8oz. Try small amounts for 5-14 days before assessing the results. As this is a natural remedy don’t expect miracles!
SCOBY Face Masks
DIY SCOBY face masks have started to become very popular. You can whip one up from your old leftover SCOBY, making them free of charge and super easy too! Being popularised by YouTube and Pinterest creators we’ll include our favourite recipe below.
Check Out Our Recommended SCOBY Mask Recipe:
Kombucha & SCOBY Soaps
Incorporating your favourite brew, SCOBY, and scent to create a unique smelling soap. People looking for their probiotic fix, newest skin care product and DIY fun have been making their own soaps.
Our favourites are from the ‘Soap Queen’. They provide vast amounts of educational resources as well as selling their own soaps too.
Check Out Our Favourite Recipes:
Choosing A Kombucha Brand
When selecting a brand of kombucha, for it’s purported health benefits, you need to ensure that it’s raw and unpasteurized. Regular store bought kombucha is often heat treated to kill all bacteria after the fermentation stage. After which is then injected with ‘probiotics’. Kombucha puritans would say that they’re aren’t the true strains or have the same effect as kombucha's natural live cultures.
To ensure that you get a raw brew, you’ll either need to brew it yourself or source it locally. If you don’t brew yourself we would recommend that you post on a local Facebook group or regional kombucha group. There you will often be able to pick some up locally for free or at a minimal price point.
If you’re looking to start brewing check out, our guide that is the most comprehensive online: How To Brew Kombucha.
Kombucha Acne Before And After
Online there are many stories that have been authored purporting their positive results after drinking kombucha for even short periods of time. Below we’ve picked a few of the most popular to share with you.
Kristen from Total Beauty - A full piece about how she had severe acne that kept flaring up. After a significant period of time, and lots of trips to her esthetician, trying every makeup product, and significant research she had an extremely bad outbreak.
During this outbreak her esthetician recommended that she started taking probiotics. This is when Kristen came across kombucha, specifically Kevita Kombucha. After two weeks she wrote the article below, and included before and after photos to show the difference. Her acne improved and reduced dramatically.
For the full article check it out here: TotalBeauty.
Banish Article - An article written in 2017 on Banish.com had a beauty journalist try drinking kombucha for 10 days to see if it had any positive effect on their acne. They sourced their kombucha locally from a reputable high quality source to ensure the best chance of results.
This was the outcome of their trial: “From personal experience I can tell you that it 100% improves the clarity of my skin, and if I go without it even for a few weeks I start breaking out in spots again.” Source: (Banish.com). They’re continuing to drink it and even starting to brew it too!
For the full article check it out here: Banish.com.
Common Kombucha & Acne Questions
Can Kombucha Cause Acne?
It’s unlikely that kombucha will cause acne. If you’re concerned that it may cause acne, then we would suggest only consuming small amounts and seeing how your body reacts. The amount of raw kombucha recommended per day is no more than 8oz, meaning that you can experiment with small amounts first.
Does Kombucha Make Your Skin Break Out?
We could not find any medical evidence nor anecdotal evidence for kombucha causing your skin to become worse than before consuming. However it’s possible there may be some possibilities your body ‘detoxes’ and have some negative side effects.
Can Taking Probiotics Make You Break Out?
Similarly to the previous question we couldn’t find anything specific that states probiotics make your skin worse. In almost all cases it’s been written that probiotics help your skin.
Can I Put Kombucha On My Face?
You can smother raw kombucha on your face, although it's a very think liquid and likely run off. If you’re looking to include kombucha into your skincare routine it would be better suggested that you use a SCOBY face mask, or kombucha soap.