Green Tea For Skin Health: 7 Recipes Backed By Scientific Research to Improve Skin
The benefits of green tea are no secret. This beloved drink contains high concentrations of antioxidants that are good for human health. It's been researched and shown to have potential health benefits in promoting heart and brain health. While drinking green tea has impressive effects, it's equally powerful when used on skin.
Green tea is the active ingredient found in many cosmetics and skin care products on the market. It's one of the most natural ways to improve the appearance of skin. While gulping down green tea is great for overall health, putting it on your face can also offer incredible skin benefits. Check out all the skin care benefits green tea offers!
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is a true tea along with black tea, white tea, and oolong tea. Green tea is light yellow or pale green in color and offers an earthy flavor and aroma. It is one of the least processed true teas, allowing it to retain the majority of its beneficial health compounds.
Green tea is used for skincare in a variety of ways. Green tea creams and lotions emerged from Asian markets such as China and have become mainstream in the western world. Green tea extract is another popular alternative and comes in the form of supplements or essential oils. All forms are backed by research demonstrating benefits for skin health and treatment of skin disorders.
Green Tea Skin Benefits
1. Reduces Dandruff
Dandruff is often considered a hair problem rather than a skin issue. In reality, dandruff is caused by skin on the scalp that is either too oily or too dry. Dandruff can be caused by environmental factors such as extreme weather or by bacteria and fungus that grow in hair follicles. Dandruff causes itchiness, flaky skin, and irritation on the scalp and neck area.
Green tea may also help you get fuller, thicker hair. A study published in Phytomedicine found that the tea antioxidant EGCG works to accelerate hair growth. The antioxidant helps to stimulate skin cells in hair follicles, triggering the growth of hair. Tea polyphenols also help to speed up cell turnover. This helps to promote new growth and regrowth of damaged hair follicles.
There are many green tea fortified shampoos that aim to reduce dandruff. The antimicrobial and antifungal nature of green tea helps to treat dandruff caused by mites and other bacteria. Green tea also helps to soothe and calm irritated skin thanks to anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Use: Green Tea Shampoo
Make your own green tea shampoo at home using just 4 ingredients. Brew a half cup of green tea using 4 tea bags or 4 tablespoons of loose leaf tea. Allow the mixture to steep for 20 minutes. Let the tea mixture cool to room temperature. Add one cup castile soap and two tablespoons of olive oil. You can also add in a few essential oils such as tea tree or clove if desired. Mix well and transfer to a shampoo bottle. Store in the refrigerator to preserve the tea compounds for up to one month. Use just like a normal shampoo.
The antioxidants in green tea are excellent at fighting premature aging. Free radical damage is one of the leading causes of premature aging. These invaders are increased by an unhealthy diet, smoking, and environmental factors such as pollution. Antioxidants in green tea eliminate free radicals that can cause fine lines and wrinkles—the classic hallmarks of getting older.
Green tea contains a special antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. Scientific studies show that this tea antioxidant is effective in rejuvenating dying skin cells. EGCG effectively works to reactive the reproduction process of skin cells, giving dull skin a healthier glow.
Green tea also is packed with vitamin B and vitamin E—two compounds that are essential for skin health. Vitamin B helps to maintain collagen production, which increases elasticity of skin. Collagen is one of the leading compounds in anti-aging products as it firms skin and prevents wrinkles. Vitamin E helps promote cell regeneration. This vitamin works to hydrate and nourish skin.
How to Use: Green Tea Anti-Aging Cream
Combine 4 ounces of cold green tea with 2 ounces of pure pomegranate juice, 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel, and half a teaspoon of cornstarch. Heat ingredients in the microwave for 1 minute. Let cool and transfer to a clean cosmetics container. Apply a small amount of the gel to skin every night before bed.
3. Treats Oily Skin
Green tea contains tannins—biomolecules that bind with amino acids in the body. Tannins are naturally astringent compounds. This means they work directly as a skin toner to even out the appearance of skin. Tannins shrink pores ensuring that they clog less often.
Tannins also regulate sebum production, the skin's naturally generated oil. People with oily skin tend to produce too much sebum, which results in clogged pores and acne breakouts. Most oily skin products aim to remove excess oil on the skin's surface, but green tea targets the root cause by minimizing oil production in skin cells.
One small study published in the Bosnian Journal of Medical Sciences examined 10 male volunteers who had oily skin over a period of 8 weeks. The volunteers used a 3% green tea extract formulation every day. At the conclusion of the study, 70% of participants demonstrated a decrease in sebum production.
How to Use: Green Tea Toner
Combine 1 tablespoon of green tea with two tablespoons each of lemon juice and honey. Add in 1 tablespoon witch hazel, 3 drops vitamin E, 4 drops tea tree oil, and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Mix well and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Wash your face and pat dry before applying the toner using a cotton ball. Allow the toner to dry before applying moisturizer or makeup.
4. Clears Clogged Pores
Acne is one of the main skin problems people experience. The unsightly pimples and red skin can be hard to get rid of. Most doctors prescribe oral antibiotics or creams to target this stubborn skin disease. Unfortunately, many of these medications have negative side effects including dry skin, itching, and depression. Green tea is an effective acne treatment that helps to reduce pores and get rid of blackheads and breakouts without serious side effects.
A study published in the Saudi Medical Journal examined the use of 2% green tea lotion on the treatment of acne. The single blind study consisted of 60 volunteers between the ages of 14 and 22. The experimental participants used tea lotion twice per day for two months. Patients that used to tea lotion demonstrated a 60% improvement in skin appearance compared to just 20% of the placebo group. A second study found that green tea lotion reduced papules and pimples in more than half of the participants.
Researchers suggest that green tea is effective in treating acne thanks to antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea removes bacteria that can clog pores and keeps swelling down to minimize the look of existing pimples. An additional benefit of green tea is that it's more cost effective than pricey dermatologist prescribed creams.
How to Use: Green Tea Face Wash
Brew a cup of green tea as normal. You can use matcha powder, green tea leaves, or green tea bags. Make sure to brew between 160 to 180 F to avoid killing healthy compounds. You can brew for longer than the standard 3-4 minutes since bitter taste isn't important. You'll only need about 3 tablespoons for the face wash so you can drink the rest of the tea if desired. Allow the green tea to cool to room temperature. Use a spray bottle to spritz the green tea on your face or simply pour a little into cupped hands. Let the tea sit on your face until it dries. Rinse with cold water and pat dry before applying moisturizer.
5. Exfoliates Gently
Green tea leaves can be used to gently exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells that can cause skin to look dull and lifeless. The exfoliation process also helps to trigger the production of new skin cells for a glowing appearance. Dried green tea leaves offer a slightly abrasive texture that softly removes dead skin. The antioxidants in the tea leaves also help to remove excess oil and dirt that can cause breakouts.
How to Use: Facial Scrub
Make your own facial scrub at home using green tea. Start with 1 tablespoon of dried green tea leaves or 3 green tea bags. If you are using green tea bags, remove the green tea from the sachets. Combine with 1 cup raw sugar, half a cup olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of organic honey. Store in an airtight dark glass jar. Apply liberally and massage in gentle circular motions. Rinse well and pat dry.
6. Reduces Puffiness and Redness
Green tea contains moderate amounts of caffeine. Tea tannins and caffeine both work to shrink blood vessels. This helps to reduce the look of puffy eyes and dark circles. Caffeine also brightens skin, resulting in an appearance that is glowing and rejuvenated.
How to Use: Coffee and Green Tea Serum
Make an anti-redness serum at home in your own kitchen. Combine the following ingredients in a large pan:
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee
- 1 tablespoon loose leaf green tea
- 4 ounces grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 10 drops grapefruit seed oil
- 10 drops lavender oil
Heat all the ingredients on low heat, stirring frequently until the coffee dissolves. Remove from heat. Pour the liquid through a coffee filter into a medium glass bottle. Apply to face and neck every evening.
7. Protects Skin From the Sun
We've focused on how green tea can be applied topically to protect skin. Since we're all about drinking green tea, we couldn't leave out the skin benefits of sipping a cuppa or two a day! Drinking a few cups of green tea every day can help minimize the sun damage caused by UV rays.
In one study published by the British Journal of Nutrition, oral green tea consumption was shown to reduce redness and inflammation associated with sun exposure. Researchers found that green tea increased benzoic acid levels—a key compound used to treat skin irritation caused by burns or conditions such as eczema. Drinking green tea may help to minimize the appearance of age spots caused by sun damage and prevent certain forms of skin cancer.
How to Use: Drink Green Tea Daily
Drink two cups of green tea every day to protect skin from sun damage. Check out our guide to learn how to brew it without bitter flavors. Always use sunscreen when heading outdoors. Avoid excessive sun exposure when UV rays area at their strongest between 12 and 4pm. Use long clothing and hats to protect skin further.
Green Tea and Skin Health
Green tea is a good choice for evening out skin tone and reducing blemishes. There are hundreds of types of green tea ranging from matcha green tea powder to premium blends such as Formosa Gunpowder and Japanese Sencha Fuji. This delicious elixir has high levels of antioxidants, tannins, and caffeine that improve skin health. Add green tea to your skin care routine for clearer, healthier skin.
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