Dark green water may seem like a millennial/Gen-z instagram thing, but truth be told, people have been drinking chlorophyll water for decades! You may have heard some chatter out there about using chlorophyll for acne and there are actually some research-backed reasons why. We’re diving in.
What is chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a pigment. All plants use chlorophyll to make food during photosynthesis. When you think about it, chlorophyll is kind of… everywhere. Every green plant you see has chlorophyll. Of course, this extends to the plants we eat as well like kale, spinach, arugula, bok choy, etc.
An important thing to know is that plant chlorophyll is different from supplemental chlorophyll. Before I totally confuse you, let me clear some things up.
Chlorophyll = natural compound found in plants (like I just described above!)
Chlorophyllin = semi-synthetic compound derived from chlorophyll that is used in chlorophyll supplements (ingredient will usually be listed as sodium copper chlorophyllin)
Because most of the research on chlorophyll is actually performed on chlorophyllin, we’ll mainly be focusing on the benefits of supplemental chlorophyll, a.k.a. chlorophyllin.
Chlorophyll for acne: dietary chlorophyll
So there’s a reason that chlorophyllin is studied more than chlorophyll when it comes to human consumption. Humans may not absorb chlorophyll from plants as it often doesn’t survive the digestive process long enough to be absorbed.
But that’s no reason not to eat your leafy greens (nice try.) These beautiful green foods also have amazing vitamins with antioxidant properties like vitamins A, C and E – all of which are incredibly supportive of clear skin. Like these vitamins, chlorophyll also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are important for clear skin.
Here’s the cool thing. Like vitamins A, C and E, chlorophyll is fat-soluble. This means that for absorption, you need to consume these foods with fat. So eat your greens with some fat (like avocado, olive oil etc.) and you’ll be getting in the benefits of antioxidant vitamins and potentially chlorophyll too.
Chlorophyll-rich recipes for fighting acne:
- Dairy Free Pesto
- Tropical Green Smoothie
- Protein & Greens Power Bowl
- 15-Minute Kale & Tofu Curry Noodles
- Green Glow Gazpacho
- Miso Edamame Power Bowl
Chlorophyll for acne: The research on chlorophyllin supplements
Okay, quick little reminder that we are shifting specifically into supplement territory here: chlorophyllin. Unlike chlorophyll, chlorophyllin is water soluble. Now that we’re acquainted, let’s talk benefits.
Chlorophyllin is antibacterial and has antioxidant properties. One in vitro study showed the antibacterial activity of chlorophyllin in a way that is specifically related to acne. In this study, chlorophyllin showed an inhibitory effect on the growth of Propionibacterium acnes (or P. acnes), the bacteria known for its role in acne.
Wound healing is important when it comes to acne. We all know popping or picking pimples often leads to scabs and scars. Turns out, people have been using chlorophyllin for wound healing since roughly the 1940’s. Chlorophyllin helps with wound healing because it is antibacterial.
As evidenced by some early animal studies, chlorophyllin may help promote liver detoxification. It does this by increasing phase 2 biotransformation enzymes, which promote optimal liver health. As you may know, the liver is a key detoxification organ. An optimally functioning liver is important to help eliminate excess hormones and other toxins that can lead to acne.
There are chlorophyllin tablets available, but personally, I like liquid chlorophyllin. Here’s my favourite way to take chlorophyllin. A little fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice + liquid chlorophyllin in a big glass of water = delicious! You can also add liquid chlorophyllin to any fruity smoothie!
In conclusion, chlorophyll may not be the be-all-end-all for clearing acne. But truthfully, nothing is! It’s about all the small habits that add up to clear skin. So if you want to add chlorophyll to your acne clearing regimen, I say it can only help.