In the world of trending skincare there always seems to be something new for you to try. Each new ingredient or technique is boasted as a miracle cure for all your skin concerns. Unfortunately, that is a tall order for a single element of your skincare routine and you shouldn’t pin all your hopes for radiant skin to just one practice or product. However, knowing and understanding how each of these techniques or ingredients can contribute to your skin goals is the first step in putting together a regimen that will help you find the beautiful skin you deserve.
One skincare ingredient that is quickly increasing in popularity is green tea extract. You have probably heard of green tea touted in the world of superfoods as it has received a lot of attention for being a healthful beverage, and rightfully so. As a drink, it is packed with powerful antioxidants and other nutrients that provide powerful benefits for your overall health. One of these antioxidants, known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), has been studied by the scientific and medical communities extensively and offers many promising applications. Some of these recent studies have even indicated that green tea may help protect against cancer 1 , heart disease 2, and osteoporosis 3, in addition to aiding in weight loss 4. But is green tea good for your skin?
Generally speaking, there are a number of benefits of green tea for skin , which is why you have seen it being listed on more and more of your skin care products. Specifically, you will see green tea extract in skin care. So if you are imagining rubbing tea leaves all over your face, that won’t be necessary, though it is always an option. And as a result, you can easily harness the power of green tea to give you better skin from the inside and out!
Green Tea Extract For Skin
The green tea that most of us think of is the kind that is brewed with hot water to make an ingestible drink. In this case, the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant are dried and then steeped in the hot water to produce an infused liquid. And while consistently drinking green tea has been shown to have tremendous skin health benefits as well, it’s preparation can be inconsistent with variations in water temperature, time steeping, the amount of tea used, and even the brand you choose to prepare. Although this does not seem to have a drastic effect on the efficacy of tea drinking.
Green tea extract, on the other hand, is made by soaking the tea leaves in an alcohol solution to extract components from the tea in a more concentrated form that can be packaged and used. These extracts may be sold as standalone supplements such as liquids, powders, capsules, or tablets with decaffeinated versions also available. Or they may be incorporated into other products such as skin care or cosmetics. Green tea extract typically contains antioxidant properties and compounds, including flavonoids, vitamins, and polyphenols such as EGCG.
Benefits of Green Tea
There is a wide breadth of research regarding green tea and its benefits for the body. But when it comes to the effects seen on the skin specifically, clinical studies are a little more limited. However, the published outcomes of several experiments suggest that the anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic potential, as well as other properties, possessed by green tea could be utilized to help address a variety of skin disorders and provide a number of other benefits 5.
Improves Moisture As we mentioned before, green tea extract contains polyphenols but what we didn’t say is that these elements are known to be effective against free radicals that can damage the skin. One study found that when a solution containing 6% green tea extract was applied to the skin, participants experience increased moisture over a period of 30 days 6.
Minimizes Puffiness Due to the caffeine that is naturally present in green tea extract, it can help to reduce any puffiness and bloating in the face, including puffy eyes. ECGC is a known anti-inflammatory and coupled with the caffeine, green tea becomes an incredibly effective way to minimize swelling and soothe the skin, decreasing redness, specifically around the eyes.
Helps Prevent Skin Cancer Perhaps one of the most studied benefits of green tea for the skin is its efficacy in helping to prevent skin cancer. Research supports that green tea polyphenols protect against UV carcinogenesis, specifically ECGC 7. This process can help slow the development of mutated cells or prevent damage from occurring in the first place.
Reduces Acne Finally, green tea has also been shown to help reduce sebum production and treat acne breakouts 8. Sebum, the oil the glands in your face naturally secretes, can cause breakouts when too much is produced. By applying green tea, you may be able to help decrease the occurrence of acne, bacteria, and breakouts.
Green Tea Skincare Products
With its increasing popularity, green tea skin care products can be found nearly everywhere and in every variation including cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers. The trick is to find the best product for you and your skin concerns while also looking for a high-quality product that will actually deliver the benefits of green tea, rather than just tout it as a marketing technique. A good tip to find products with higher concentrations of green tea is to look at the ingredient list; the higher green tea appears on the list, the more concentrated it is in the product.
For example, the Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer uses green tea extract with lavender oil to calm and soothe stressed skin. This antioxidant-rich formula helps to combat the damaging effects of free radicals and provides deep hydration for those who need extra protection, such as individuals with sensitive skin.
Most people do not experience any side effects when using green tea making it a safe choice for those with skin sensitivities. However, you should always spot test a new product to see if your skin becomes irritated and to follow the instructions for use on the label. This is especially true for products with higher concentrations of green tea as extended exposure to pure green tea in a single use may result in an adverse skin reaction.
If your bathroom counter is already cluttered with products and you happen to have green tea bags lying around your house, there are a number of at-home tricks you can use to instantly see some of these benefits without buying anything new.
Bags on Bags A quick tip to put life back into tired, baggy eyes is to place tea bags on them. After briefly steeping the green tea bags to wet them, cool them in the fridge. Then gently place them under your eyes for about five to ten minutes. The tea’s caffeine and anti-inflammatory nature paired with the cooling effect instantly calms and soothes the skin while reducing swelling. Once removed, rinse your skin to prevent irritation.
Pump Up Your Mask Maybe one of the easiest hacks to incorporate the antioxidant benefits of green tea into your skincare routine is to add it to your favorite mask. Simply wet a tea bag (to help prevent an explosion of tea leaves) and cut it open. Then mix the green tea leaves with some of your facial scrub in your palm. Apply the mask to your face as is instructed on the label and rinse when done! If you don’t have a store-bought mask that you like using, you can even make your own by combining the tea leaves with honey for a simple DIY alternative.
Drink It Up As you know, the health benefits of drinking green tea seem to be limitless. The effects that green tea has on your skin are very similar to those of consuming the tea and so by sipping green tea consistently, you can help to rebuild and repair your skin from the inside out. Depending on your familiarity with tea, you can use organic loose leaves or tea bags though for the latter option you will want to look for those which contain loose leaves as opposed to “dust.” This will help ensure that the tea is higher quality and less processed, meaning you get more of the benefits. Though due to the caffeine content, you will probably only want two consume one to two cups per day.
Green tea extract can truly be a miracle skincare ingredient when used consistently as part of your regimen and it is easy to incorporate it into your routine! It can help improve your skin’s natural moisture, fight acne, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation that makes your face look puffy. Whether you decide to try some at-home methods or purchase a product at the store, you will be harnessing the power of green tea extract and seeing its effects in no time.