News About Green Tea and Antioxidants in Skincare: Latest Skin Care Research

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A spot of tea may have a slew of skincare benefits. Discover green tea's special role in helping the skin in a new article at

According to folklore, a hot cup of tea can fix almost anything that ails us. Now, research suggests that tea's benefits also extend to our skin. The key is in green tea's antioxidants, which fight off free radicals, sun damage and other factors that can hurt your skin.'s latest article, "Green Tea: A Bevy of Skincare Benefits," offers a brief look at green tea's potential benefits.

Types of tea
Tea is made by steeping processed leaves, buds or twigs. Green tea is just one type of tea along with black, oolong and white tea. These teas vary in color, flavor, fermentation and processing. Yet, all four types come from the same plant -- Camilla Sinensis. Regardless of processing methods, all teas contain valuable ingredients. Green tea is the most studied of the teas and boasts many benefits.

Antioxidants and free radicals
Free radicals cause skin damage, resulting in signs of aging, like fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and elasticity loss. Fortunately, antioxidants counter this free radical damage. Green tea contains large amounts of antioxidant polyphenols and catechins. To help boost catechins' absorption by the intestines, Yahoo! Health suggests adding citrus juices, like lemon, lime or grapefruit, to your tea.

You can take advantage of green tea's antioxidant and anti-aging benefits topically, too. Many skincare products feature this ingredient.

Antioxidants and the sun
The antioxidants in green tea have important implications for sun exposure, too. Studies suggest that green tea helps make sunscreen even more effective. Applying green tea to skin may also reduce sunburn, inflammation and sun damage.

Plus, it may help stave off skin cancer, thanks to green tea's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. According to mice studies, conducted by Santosh Katiyar, Ph.D., professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, green tea may be able to prevent skin cancer cells from developing and even destroy some cancerous cells. To get these benefits, you can drink five to six cups a day, Dr. Katiyar tells Rosemary Pennington on 90.3 FM WBHM, a Birmingham radio station. While this may not be feasible, he also says that applying green tea's polyphenols is just as effective as drinking the tea.

However, green tea by itself doesn't provide sufficient sun protection and doesn't block UV rays. So you still need to use sunscreen daily!

The antioxidants in green tea may aid skin's elasticity, which helps skin retain a smooth texture, free of wrinkles and sagging. According to a 2005 study, "Researchers found that the women taking green tea supplements showed improvement in their skin's elastic content," writes Allison Tannis in Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles: Eat Your Way to Firmer, More Beautiful Skin with the 100 Best Anti-Aging Foods. And because green tea has the amino acid L-theanine, it also reduces cortisol, a hormone that can destroy the collagen that keeps skin firm, according to Yahoo! Food.

EGCG: New life for old cells
EGCG (epigallocatechin galleate) is a polyphenol antioxidant in green tea. According to research conducted by Stephen Hsu, Ph.D., professor and biologist at the Medical College of Georgia, EGCG may prevent skin problems in new cells and treat skin problems in older cells.
Specifically, Dr. Hsu found that a skin cell normally lives for about 28 to 30 days. Young skin cells are found in inner layers of skin, while older skin cells are found on skin's outer layer or surface. Therefore, older cells on skin's surface are close to dying. EGCG aids skin cells in multiple ways. It:

•Helps skin cells travel from inner to outer layers of skin quicker, accelerating the turnover process.
•Produces more new, young skin cells.
•Re-activates the DNA of old, dying skin cells.

Because of EGCG, green tea may also help with skin concerns like wrinkles, psoriasis, rosacea and acne.

Green tea and psoriasis
Animal studies have suggested that green tea may treat psoriasis. Green tea helps inhibit inflammation. It affects a protein called Caspase-14, which carries instructions for skin cells on how to divide, how long to live and when to die. In psoriasis, skin cells are constantly created, without dying off, as they would in normal skin.

Also, in psoriasis, the gene proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), is over-expressed and accelerates the creation of skin cells. In one study by Dr. Hsu, animals with psoriasis had high levels of PCNA. PCNA appeared in all the skin's layers, even though it's usually only found in the bottom layer. After being treated with green tea, the animals "showed near-normal levels of PCNA in only the basal layers," according to Science Daily. Green tea may help regulate cell production and cell life.

Caffeine and sun damage
Caffeine isn't just the fuel that wakes us up in the morning. It may also help protect the skin. In a series of mice studies, caffeinated green tea (and black tea) -- used orally and topically -- prevented and repaired sun damage, writes dermatologist Leslie Baumann, M.D., on her Yahoo! Health blog. In contrast, decaffeinated teas didn't provide any sun damage prevention or repair. Some studies even indicate that topical caffeine may be stronger and provide more benefits than green tea's polyphenol antioxidants, Dr. Baumann explains.

DIY tea treatments
You can use tea to concoct your own beauty treatments. Give these a try:

•Want a toner? G. Todorov, Ph.D., of Smart Skin Care, recommends brewing green tea, pouring it into an ice cube tray and sticking it in the freezer. Once the green tea cubes are frozen, remove the tray and let it thaw for a few minutes to prevent freezer burn. Then rub one cube gently over your face.

•Need a remedy for puffy eyes? The old at-home treatment of putting tea bags on your eyelids can help. Be sure to use caffeinated tea bags because caffeine serves as an anti-inflammatory. And don't use Earl Grey tea: It actually contains an oil that can leave you red and itchy. Dunk the tea bags in cold water first, which is refreshing and decreases swelling. Then apply a tea bag to each lid.

•Have aching feet? Make a soothing green tea foot soak, ideal at the end of a long day or prior to an at-home pedicure. Use Helen Foster's recipe from The Beauty Book:
1.Boil water and pour it in a large footbath container.
2.Throw in five green tea bags and a few drops of peppermint oil.
3.Allow water to cool slightly for a few minutes, and then soak your tired tootsies.

Key considerations
How do you know if a product contains green tea? And whether it contains a good amount of the ingredient? When buying green tea products, pay close attention to the:

•Label. Green tea may be listed by many other names, such as camellia, Chinese tea, GTE, Matsu-cha Tea or Thea viridis, according to Medline Plus. Also, pay attention to where the green tea is listed compared to the other ingredients in a skincare product, licensed esthetician Lisa Frost tells The Natural Merchandiser. For example, if you see green tea listed as one of the first ingredients, then the product has a higher amount of green tea. Is green tea listed further down? Then you can assume there's a lower amount of green tea in the product, and it won't be as powerful. If the product has several other ingredients, it probably has a lower amount of green tea. Some of those ingredients -- like parabens or propylene glycol -- may even counteract green tea's benefits, says Frost.

•Storage. When a skincare product containing green tea comes in contact with the air, polyphenol oxidization may occur. This decreases its antioxidant power, so your product may not be as beneficial. To prevent your skincare from spoiling and oxidizing, keep the product lids tightly closed, and store them in a dark place.

•Dose. When taking a green tea supplement, experts have different dosage recommendations. According to Medline Plus, look for a supplement that contains 100 to 150 milligrams of green tea extract. Take it three times a day, suggests Dr. Todorov. Keep in mind that supplements vary greatly in their content of green tea extract; some supplements have far more green tea than others. Also, it's uncertain whether taking a supplement provides any skincare benefits. Check with your doctor before taking a green tea supplement, because it can interact with other medications, supplements or medical conditions. covers all skincare and beauty topics from head to toe. Check out these latest articles:


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