Type of Ingredient: Skin-Soothing, Anti-oxidants, Anti-inflammatory
Main Benefits: Green tea leaves or extracts have polyphenols, a potent antioxidant and anti-bacterial
Who Should Use It: In general, anyone who wants their skin to be bright or reduce aging
Ideal For These Concerns: Hyperpigmentation, redness, wrinkles, fine lines, dehydration, sun damage, and dark spots
How Often Can You Use It: You can use it in both morning and evening
What is Green Tea?
The tea plant originated in Southeast Asia over 4,000 years ago and is currently produced in over 35 countries with China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya generating three-quarters of the world's production. Green tea is thought to have first been discovered in China, where green tea leaves were used for medicinal purposes (including digestive issues, headaches, and inflammation). The active ingredient in green tea is polyphenolic catechin. The four main catechin compounds are (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), (−)-epigallocatechin (EGC), (−)-epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), and (−)-epicatechin (EC). EGCG is the most abundant and extensively studied catechin with potent therapeutic effects in skin. Catechin is effective scavengers of reactive oxygen know as free radicals. Today, you'll find green tea in creams, lotions, serums, sunscreen, anti-acne regimens, and other products.
The Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is an abundant source of polyphenolic catechins, known to protect the skin due to its antioxidant, chemopreventive, and immunomodulatory effects. Literature from the National Institutes of Health cites the chemical composition of green tea—and in particular, the catechins found within—which make it such a powerful metabolic agent capable of cell rejuvenation. Green tea has great anti-aging properties, especially to maintain the skin's elasticity. Topically, the polyphenol benefits in green tea soothes and calms irritation, redness, dryness, and breakouts. In other words, green tea can help the skin heal.
Board certified dermatologist, Dr. Amanda Doyle explains, “Green tea contains potent anti-aging antioxidants called catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate, (EGCG) that scavenge free radicals, which if not removed can damage the skin."
Photo-aging is caused by chronic UV exposure. The inhibitory effect of green tea polyphenols on hydrogen peroxide formation and cell signaling is important to its antioxidant properties. There are few in vivo human studies demonstrating green tea polyphenols protecting the skin from UV rays. For example in 2001, Katiyar and colleagues applied topical EGCG to adult human volunteers and then exposed them to a single dose of UV irradiation (4xMED) and compared to adult human volunteers without the topical EGCG cream. The study demonstrates the protective effects of EGCG on the skin as an antioxidant. Please note that green team enhances UV ray protection but it alone can’t do the full job.
Dr. Gianeti and colleagues at The University of Sao Paulo conducted research on 24 human volunteers to objectively measure the effects of EGCG. The study found that applying a solution containing 6% green tea extract to the skin of participants increased moisture over a period of 30 days indicating that green tea extract has a prolonged moisturizing effect.
Oil naturally secreted from the skin’s glands is a key factor in developing oily skin and acne breakouts. According to a review of research conducted by researchers from the University of Davis School of Medicine, EGCG was found to reduce sebum production. Reduced oil helps to alleviate the development of acne. Additionally, green tea extract has antibacterial properties that is beneficial to address active acne breakouts making it a good ingredient to fight against acne.
Green tea extract applied to skin is safe. Most of the side effects associated with taking green tea orally and an high doses. Using green tea for skin problems has a very low instance of side effects and very few people experience irritation as a result. However, allergic reactions to green tea are possible and you should use any product that contains it sparingly until you know how it will affect you.
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2015, pages 455-464
Rheumatology, July 2010 Epublication
Food and Chemical Toxicology, April 2008, pages 1,298-1,307
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, December 2001, pages 109-141