Updated: Oct 31
Green tea has been a staple of diets in Asian cultures and increasing in popularity in Western countries. The consumption of green tea has been touted for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although understanding the components of green tea has led to a better understanding of its health benefits, it is difficult to say if culturally speaking it has been explicitly used for skincare benefits. Read more...
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How long has green tea been used in the beauty world, especially with respect to skincare?
Green tea has been a staple of diets in Asian cultures and increasing in popularity in Western countries. The consumption of green tea has been touted for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although understanding the components of green tea has led to a better understanding of its health benefits, it is difficult to say if culturally speaking it has been explicitly used for skin benefits. Green tea bags have also been used to apply directly to the skin to reduce under-eye circles. I found it difficult to trace the origins of this common practice.
What is in green tea that gives it its health and skincare benefits?
Green tea tends to contain epicatechins. These are known antioxidants. Green tea extracts also have known ant-inflammatory effects.
What are the most common benefits of using green tea on the skin?
Green tea differs from black tea in how it is made. It is not fully oxidized in the manner black tea is so it retains the green color of the leaves. It tends to have higher concentrations of a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The benefit of EGCG is that some studies have demonstrated its ability to potentially inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that contributes to skin pigmentation. By inhibiting the enzyme there is potential to reduce pigmentation.
The polyphenol EGCG has also been shown to improve and retain skin hydration in studies.
Studies have also demonstrated the benefits of polyphenols as photoprotective for the skin. They have the potential to inhibit UV-induced DNA damage to cells.
There is some promising data on hair regrowth linked to green tea as well.
Does green tea work only if consumed or can it work topically as well?
Green tea has been shown to be effective when taken as a tea as well as applied topically for its photoprotective effects. Green tea extracts can reduce the impact of UVB-induced damage to the skin and reduce immunosuppression caused by light exposure. There can also be a reduction in the oxidative stress on our cells.
Who would benefit from using green tea in their skincare routine most?
I drink green tea daily and have some skincare products that contain it as well Those prone to sun damage and pigmentation would likely benefit the most from integrating it into their routine.
Who (if anyone) should avoid using green tea in their skincare routine?
If you have any allergies or sensitivities to components of green tea, it is best to avoid.