Green tea has been praised for its many health benefits, but did you know it could also be used to improve your skin? Here are 7 amazing benefits of green tea for the skin and why you must add it to your skincare routine.
Green tea is one of the most popular, effective, and nutritious beverages, which is why it has been used for centuries in Asia as a traditional remedy to improve overall health.
While it's already a staple in many kitchen cupboards, its benefits don't just stop at drinking it – green tea is gaining popularity across the globe because not only is it beneficial for general health, but it also offers numerous benefits when applied topically to your skin, hair and even your eyes.
In this article, we'll discuss the 7 amazing benefits green tea provides to the skin and why it should become part of your skincare routine.
Here are 7 amazing benefits of green tea for the skin:
1. Reduces redness, puffiness, irritation, and inflammation.
The antioxidant properties help reduce redness, puffiness, irritation, and inflammation by fighting free radicals that are responsible for causing oxidative damage to the skin cells, therefore, protecting cells and molecules.
While the anti-inflammatory properties of EGCG inhibit the activity of certain enzymes like cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX), which trigger inflammatory responses in the body; this helps soothe puffiness, irritation, and inflammation from Psoriasis, Dermatitis, and Rosacea and other medical conditions.
In a study, the combination of resveratrol, green tea polyphenols, and caffeine was evaluated for its ability to reduce facial redness.
A group of 16 participants applied the product twice daily to the entire face for up to 12 weeks. Clinical photographs and spectrally enhanced images showed that facial redness improved in 16 of the 16 clinical images and 13 of the 16 spectrally enhanced images.
The reduction in facial redness continued to evolve over the study period, and no adverse effects were reported, indicating that this combination is safe for use and can successfully reduce facial redness; it also suggests that continued use of the product could provide even more improvement.
2. Treats and reduces acne.
Acne is a common skin condition due to overactive sebaceous glands, which result in excessive sebum production, and clogged pores.
Pores become clogged when excess sebum and dead skin cells mix together and form a plug; the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes) thrive on this mixture, leading to inflammation, swelling, and redness which present in the form of pimples.
Polyphenol's antibacterial properties reduce excess sebum production — the main reason for acne breakouts — by inhibiting the activity of sebaceous glands, which are responsible for secreting excessive sebum that causes clogged pores and break down the bacterial membranes to prevent future breakouts, thus helping to combat acne.
While, Polyphenol's anti-inflammatory properties prevent inflammation by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX), which triggers inflammatory responses in the body.
A 2016 study showed that after only four weeks of taking 1,500 milligrams of green tea extract, participants had a significant reduction in red skin bumps caused by acne.
Another study aimed to investigate the effects of green tea extract (GTE) on acne based on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Five randomized controlled studies were included in the analysis, with a total sample size of 125 experimental and 122 control participants.
Results showed that GTE significantly reduced the number of inflammatory lesions when applied topically. For non-inflammatory lesions, GTE was found to reduce the number of lesions when applied topically but not with oral intake.
Overall, the findings suggest that topical GTE application is beneficial for treating acne without causing significant adverse events, while oral intake may have limited effects, so further research is needed to further explore its impacts on acne treatment.
3. Hydrates and moisturizes.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which help boost the skin's moisture-retention capacity; these polyphenols create a barrier on the skin that prevents water loss and helps retain moisture which keeps your skin hydrated and moisturized for longer periods of time.
What's more, the vitamin E in green tea t is an emollient that works to form a protective barrier on the skin's surface that seals in moisture and prevents water loss to nourish, hydrate, and moisturize the skin.
A study was performed on 24 volunteers to determine the effects of cosmetic formulations containing green tea extracts on the skin.
The volunteers had experimental formulations with 6% Camellia sinensis glycolic leaf extracts (GT) applied to one forearm and vehicle or no formulation to another area as a control.
The parameters studied included:
- Stratum corneum water content.
- Transepidermal water loss.
- Skin viscoelastic-to-elastic ratio (Uv/Ue).
After 2 hours, 15 days, and 30 days of application, the research team found that the experimental formulations with GT increased skin moisture in the long term compared to vehicle and also improved Uv/Ue and skin microrelief; this suggests that GT provides lasting moisturizing effects and improves skin texture in the long run.
4. Protects against skin cancer.
Environmental stressors such as UV radiation and pollution produce dangerous components known as free radicals in your body that damage your DNA and lead to fatal diseases like skin cancer. That being said, antioxidants help neutralize these radicals to protect skin cells from damage, and green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, particularly two strong and high-potential catechins, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and Epicatechin Gallate (ECG), which are powerful free radical scavengers. By neutralizing or trapping the free radicals, green tea reduces the risk of DNA damage caused by environmental stressors and helps protect against skin cancer.
A study examines the efficacy of green tea polyphenols (GTPs) in providing photoprotection from ultraviolet radiation. Specifically, it investigates how GTPs can protect against UV-induced skin cancer development.
The authors provide evidence that green tea's major and most photoprotective polyphenolic component, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), can prevent UVB-induced skin tumor development in mice.
The mechanisms of prevention include:
- Inducing immunoregulatory cytokine interleukin (IL) 12.
- Stimulating DNA repair through IL-12-dependent nucleotide excision repair.
- Inhibiting UV-induced immunosuppression.
- Suppressing angiogenic factors.
- Stimulating cytotoxic T cells in a tumor microenvironment.
This study's findings contribute to the growing body of evidence that suggests GTPs provide significant photoprotection from UV radiation.
Another study examined the potential benefits of green tea polyphenols (GTP) and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) on skin health. It looked at topical treatments and oral consumption of GTP, focusing on their effects on solar ultraviolet (UV) light-induced skin disorders, including photoaging, melanoma, and nonmelanoma skin cancers.
The study found that the GTP and EGCG in green tea possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Treatment of GTP or EGCG prior to UVB exposure was associated with a reduction in immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 production at UV irradiated skin and draining lymph nodes, while IL-12 production was significantly enhanced in draining lymph nodes. In addition, topical treatment of GTP and EGCG resulted in the inhibition of UVB-induced erythema, oxidative stress, and infiltration of inflammatory leukocytes.
In humans, green tea polyphenols were found to prevent UVB-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers formation, which are considered mediators of UVB-induced immune suppression and skin cancer induction.
After further clinical trials, the study concluded that green tea polyphenols might be effective at preventing solar UV light-induced skin disorders in humans, including photoaging, melanoma, and nonmelanoma.
5. Prevents premature aging.
As previously mentioned, free radicals damage your skin and can cause premature aging by breaking down collagen and elastin.
As we age, our skin cells produce less collagen, an important protein that helps keep the skin firm and smooth, leading to fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots. But luckily, green tea is packed with antioxidants that help fight off these free radicals and protect against premature aging.
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) that help fight off free radical damage — unstable molecules that damage cells and contribute to the signs of aging — and reduce inflammation, both of which are the main cause of premature aging.
Epigallocatechin gallate can rejuvenate dying skin cells, repair damaged skin cells, and help form new ones while protecting collagen, elastin, and lipids and providing intense nourishment and hydration to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful.
Vitamin B2 and Vitamin E found in green tea also play an essential role in supporting new skin cell growth and maintaining collagen levels high to keep skin healthy and supple.
A study involving 80 women revealed that combining topical and oral green tea treatments improved skin elasticity. And, another study revealed that a combination of green tea and red light therapy had powerful effects on skin rejuvenation.
6. Improves overall complexion.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, which can help reduce the buildup of oil and dirt that can clog pores and cause breakouts.
Green tea is also a natural exfoliant, meaning that it stimulates the skin to shed dead skin cells and eliminate excess sebum and dirt while promoting healthy cell turnover, which can improve the complexion; the removal of these dead skin cells uncovers new, youthful-looking skin for a glowing appearance.
Moreover, green tea contains a compound called tannin, a natural astringent to remove excess sebum from the pores, and contains caffeine which constricts the blood vessels to tighten and brighten your skin by reducing puffiness and inflammation.
7. Stimulates hair growth.
The polyphenols and catechins present in green tea have proven to stimulate cell turnover in hair follicles, thereby promoting hair growth.
With all of the above being said, clinical trials have demonstrated that oral administration of green tea is found to be beneficial for protecting against free radicals, cancer, hair loss, and aging. While topically applying green tea can help treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris, rosacea, hirsutism, keloids, and genital warts.
Despite these benefits, not all studies have confirmed the efficacy of both oral and topical applications of green tea extract. Therefore further research is needed before any definitive conclusions about its potential effectiveness as a therapeutic option for skin conditions can be made.
Although further clinical trials are needed to confirm the efficacy of both oral and topical green tea extracts for treating skin conditions, the current evidence is certainly promising.
Give green tea a try next time you're looking for a new skincare product to add to your skincare routine — here are some of the best green tea skin care products along with the best green tea cleansers and green tea serums to get you started — and notice the difference in your skin!