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Ingredient: Green Tea

Fast Facts         

Type of Ingredient: A skin-soothing antioxidant with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties

Main Uses and Benefits: Green tea leaves or extracts have polyphenols, a potent antioxidant that can defend skin against free radical damage, brighten skin, and reverse signs of aging. 

Find It In: Creams, lotions, serums, sunscreen, and topical treatments for hyperpigmentation, acne, redness, wrinkles, fine lines, dehydration, and sun damage    

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 on skin. Catechin is effective scavengers of reactive oxygen known as free radicals.

Today, you'll find green tea in creams, lotions, serums, sunscreen, anti-acne regimens, and other products. 

The Skincare Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is an abundant source of polyphenolic catechins, known to protect the skin due to its antioxidant, chemo-preventive, and immuno-modulatory effects.  Literature from the National Institutes of Health cites the chemical composition of green tea—and in particular, the catechins found within—makes 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."

1. Reverses UV Damage and Fights Skin Aging 

Photoaging 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 a few in vivo human studies demonstrating how green tea polyphenols protect the skin from UV rays.  In 2001, Katiyar and colleagues applied topical EGCG to adult human volunteers and then exposed them to a single dose of UV irradiation (4xMED). Result showed the protective effects of EGCG on the skin as an antioxidant.

Please note that while green team may enhance UV protection, it alone can’t protect your skin. 

2. Increases Moisture in Skin 

Dr. Gianeti and colleagues at The University of Sao Paulo conducted research on 24 human volunteers to 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. 

3. Helps Fights Acne 

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, which helps 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. 

Is Green Tea Safe?

Green tea extract applied to skin is safe. Most of the side effects associated with taking green tea are taken orally and in 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 skincare 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