Green tea is a powerhouse of health benefits, particularly when it comes to your skin!
Just like black tea, green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, but unlike its darker-coloured sibling, green tea isn’t subject to the same extent of withering and oxidation.
The fact that it undergoes less processing preserves more active ingredients, which makes its health benefits more pronounced.
It is common knowledge that green tea contains high levels of antioxidant compounds but it is not very well-known that, apart from the systemic benefits for the organism, it comes with more specific benefits for other organs, including the skin.
- Reduce The Risk of Skin Cancer
- Slow Down Skin Ageing
- Maintain Skin and Hair Health
- Reduce Skin Irritation
- Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Microbial
- Tame Oily Skin and Treat Acne
Drinking Green Tea May Help Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer
Green tea leaves and buds contain many active ingredients that are known to improve general health and well-being.
Among these are several protective polyphenols from the flavonoid group with powerful antioxidant properties, with the most active being catechins and in particular, epigallocatechin gallate EGCG.
Compounds from this antioxidant group are found in unprocessed fruits, vegetables and are valuable for their ability to inactivate free radicals, reducing the oxidative stress experienced by cells.
Sun damage caused by UV rays is the major cause of skin cancer, and certain types of skin cancer are caused by UV radiation indirectly through the creation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species that attack the DNA, causing mutations in it.
Free radicals are also produced by cells as part of normal biological oxidative processes or due to the action of various internal and external chemical factors, contributing to ageing and the risk of various types of cancer.
Importantly, drinking green tea and applying green tea topically has been indicated to assist with preventing chemically or UV-induced skin carcinogenesis in animal models, hence, combining these two delivery methods could maximize the health benefits for skin cells.
Green tea has also been shown to help with protection from the immunosuppression caused by UV radiation and chemical stressors. The immune system is a crucial defence line against cancer - when it is functioning normally, it recognizes and kills cancerous cells before they develop into tumours.
Reishi is another amazing natural substance that studies have indicated has great promise in anti-cancer applications, as well as improving skin health. Check out our articles on reishi mushroom benefits for skin to find out more on it.
Green Tea Slows Down Skin Aging
The sun damage caused by UV rays not only leads to skin cancer but also determines skin aging. This process is called photoaging or ‘sun damage’ and is characterized by the appearance of fine lines, age spots, freckles, a loss of skin elasticity, redness, etc.
You might have seen images of truck drivers with one side of the face that was more frequently exposed to the sun looking much older? This is the perfect example of sun-related skin damage.
The best method to avoid this is to limit direct exposure to sunlight and to use sunscreen, but that’s not always possible.
The capacity of green tea polyphenols and in particular of the antioxidant EGCG to counter free radical damage caused by UV radiation and to promote the expression of antioxidant enzymes serve as an important protective factor against DNA oxidative damage and photoaging.
DNA repair promoted by green tea is also essential in preventing premature ageing.
Besides, the consumption of green tea increases the amount of elastin fibre and collagen in the skin, through which it helps to fight wrinkles. The polyphenols found in green tea also trigger autophagy in cells, which leads to rejuvenation of cell components and tissues.
Helps to Maintain Skin and Hair Health
Green tea can improve skin health due to its tonifying and moisturizing effects that help reduce skin roughness.
There are also studies to suggest that it plays a role in treating a variety of skin disorders, including atopic dermatitis, keloids, hirsutism, candidiasis, cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Using green tea in combination with other antioxidant compounds, like vitamin C and vitamin E, either internally or by applying products containing a green tea extract, are thought to also amplify its beneficial properties.
Green tea contains its own vitamin E as well as vitamins C, and B, but these are usually found in trace amounts, hence, many skincare products add them from external sources.
The benefits of green tea for the skin could be also harnessed by using homemade recipes.
These can be as simple as infusing a concentrated solution of green tea in water, adding some lemon juice and a few drops of vitamin E oil - feel free to rinse the skin with it or to use it as a spray. If you consider drinking it, keep in mind that excessive vitamin E ingestion can be fairly dangerous.
Among the many health benefits of drinking green tea is the potential prevention of hair loss. Since hair is an extension and a product of the scalp, a healthy scalp means healthy hair.
Our organism is complex machinery and the health of our skin or hair is influenced by a multitude of factors. For those interested in this topic, there is plenty of room for additional reading about the normal functioning of our organism, the aetiology of many disorders, prevention methods, etc.
May Help to Reduce Irritation of the Delicate Skin on Your Face
When applied to the skin, green tea has a soothing effect - shrinking blood vessels, treating puffy eyes, and getting rid of dark circles.
The most convenient method of application would be using pre-cooled green tea bags infused in a small amount of water and applying them on your closed eyes for 10-15 minutes.
The effects of green tea have also been investigated on such skin disorders as rosacea - a condition that is often triggered by excessive exposure to sunlight and characterized by visible blood vessels and redness noticeable on the face.
Given its photoprotective effects, it is fairly plausible that drinking green tea or applying a mask could help protect from this condition.
Exerts an Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Microbial Effect on the Skin
Polyphenols found in tea leaves, especially EGCG, are indicated to possess anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown in animal models that tannic acid can protect the skin from external irritants that cause inflammation, justifying regular topical application.
The compound EGCG has an anti-microbial effect against a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
The catechins found in green tea, and in particular EGCG, are the major components of an FDA-approved drug for treating genital warts, which is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) - however, the mechanism of action isn't understood yet.
Helps to Tame Oily Skin and to Treat Acne
Oily skin is normally caused by excessive sebum production, which might be triggered by hormonal activity.
Acne can happen when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells - this can lead to inflammation and overgrowth of Propionibacterium acnes.
Lotions containing 1% and 5% of EGCG used twice a day were shown to be very helpful in treating acne over an 8-week trial period - helping to reduce inflammation, diminish the number of sebum-producing cells, and help inhibit the growth of the bacterium P. acnes.
A review of multiple studies also indicated that tea polyphenols applied topically can help reduce sebum secretion. Consider adding tea tree oil to your green tea extract to increase the anti-acne effect of the mixture.
A scrub or cleanser used before applying the green tea extract would help get rid of dirt, oil, and dying skin cells, opening the skin and the pores for the action of the anti-acne ingredients.
What happens if I drink green tea every day?
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the U.S. National Institute of Health states that drinking green tea is safe even in amounts of up to 8 cups a day.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit intake to a maximum of 6 cups per day - this limitation is imposed by the amount of caffeine contained in green tea.
There are many tea-loving people that drink a cup of green tea at least three times a day for decades without any noticeable damage to their health, however, use green tea cautiously in combination with certain drugs, especially with those that can cause liver damage.
The tannins contained in this beverage can also act as an iron scavenger - avoid consuming these two simultaneously.
Can drinking green tea improve your skin?
As explained above, consuming the beverage has photoprotective and chemoprotective anti-cancer and anti-aging effects on the skin as well as other important benefits from green tea for skin health and hair health.
Is green tea good for your face?
Green tea may help reduce the signs of ageing by protecting from sun damage.
The latter is known to be one of the major external factors causing premature skin ageing. Applying green tea bags under the eyes can help reduce swelling, dark circles, and irritation. Finally, green tea is effective against oily skin and acne.
Is putting green tea on your face good?
Applying a green tea extract or skincare products containing the latter to the face ensures direct contact between the skin and the active compounds in green tea.
EGCG is a hydrophilic substance, hence, the rate of infiltration into the skin might not be too high, but this can be compensated by the longer duration of action and higher concentration compared to the beverage.
Hence, a green tea face mask makes use of another valuable pathway for delivering active ingredients.
What is the best type of green tea for skin health?
Normally, you should gravitate to types that are less processed and preserve the active ingredients better. For instance, Matcha tea powder is known for its much higher antioxidant levels, higher caffeine and theanine (a stress-reducing amino acid found in green tea).
Can we use a green tea face pack daily?
Start slowly by testing for allergic reactions or hypersensitivity on a portion of body skin.
If this is not the case try your first face mask containing a green tea extract for 15 minutes or more. If everything goes well, feel free to make it a daily/weekly skincare routine.
How can I use green tea on my face?
Specialized cosmetic products (such as masks) are formulated so as to ensure the preservation of active ingredients and a maximum effect of the product.
But the benefits could be harnessed to a great extent even by making your DIY green tea extract/infusion and applying it topically - avoid high temperatures when preparing such an infusion - better leave it to infuse longer at room temperature (or mix hot-brewed and cold-brewed fractions).
You could also apply pre-cooled infused tea bags directly on the skin around the eyes.
Can you leave green tea on your face overnight?
This would prolong the time of action, giving the active ingredients more time to penetrate the skin and exert their effects.
It is good to ensure that the water content of the mask remains acceptable, otherwise, the rate of diffusion of the ingredients may decrease.
Can I steam my face with green tea?
While it is known that steaming opens clogged pores and helps clear the skin, it is unknown if we can benefit additionally if we use green tea (as stated, some components in green tea, such as the antioxidants are thermolabile).
Does green tea make your skin glow?
From protecting the skin from free radicals to recycling old cellular/ tissue components, by moisturizing and tonifying, and by increasing elastin and collagen content in the skin, green tea can help a ton in achieving glowing skin.
Tea has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine.
Besides its benefits for the entire body, the benefits of green tea for the skin are multiple and important.
Whether these are derived from drinking green tea or using the extract of green tea leaves topically (for instance, through a mask), - both these approaches have their value and could complement each other.
The wide spectrum of protective properties that many promising studies are indicating (e.g. anti-cancer, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, skin tonifying and moisturizing properties) make green tea a very popular ingredient in a variety of cosmetic products, including cleanser formulations, serums, masks, creams, etc.
Finally - green tea comes with a host of other health benefits far beyond just your skin - if you’d like a quick rundown on what this delicious drink can do for the rest of your body, check out this awesome video below!