Green Tea for Skin Care and Glowing Skin

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As integrative and alternative medicine became more popular, the scientific community started pushing to have more research done on many natural products to determine whether or not there was any basis to the claims that they can have skin benefits. One of the commonly used and researched botanical products is green tea (Camellia sinensis) for skin, as well as many of the active ingredients of the herb.  A shift in most of the research led to a focus on the effects of these individual purified, extracted components, and not always the whole herb or tea made from the herb. 

 

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate: Natural Chemical with Skin Benefits

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is likely the most well-known component and belongs to one of the groups of plant-based chemicals called catechins. EGCG has antioxidant,[1] chemopreventive,[2] photoprotective,[3] and anti-inflammatory actions.[4] Researchers looked at green tea for skin and it appears the skin benefits depend on whether the green tea is taken orally or applied topically. Oral supplementation with green tea extract and low Vitamin C over a 3-month period was not protective against ultraviolet radiation-induced sunburns.[5] On the other hand, topical application of green tea extract appeared to have a protective effect against sunburns.[6]

EGCG may also effectively inhibit infections like herpes labialis (cold sore outbreaks),[7] bacteria like Pseudomonas and E. coli,[8] and the bacteria involved in acne, Propionibacterium acnes.[9] 

One possible drawback of EGCG is that it is susceptible to breaking down in sunlight.[10] This breakdown can be reduced by combining it with glutathione,[11] which is an antioxidant that is found in plants, animals, and fungi.

 

Oral Green Tea Reaches the Skin

There is evidence that consumed green tea is absorbed and reaches the skin. After supplementation with green tea, some of the breakdown chemical byproducts of the plant, as well as catechins (plant chemicals found in green tea) that are specifically broken down by gut microbiota, can be found in the skin.[12] Future studies may help determine methods to increase human skin penetration and distribution of EGCG or other substances within green tea.

 

Green Tea Components May Have Skin Benefits

Green tea is also rich in polyphenols, which have been shown to protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage and sunburn when applied topically,[6] and other components of green tea, called terpenes, can enhance the uptake of green tea related chemicals such as the catechins.[13]

A tea is essentially a water extraction of components within the herb. When refining the herb to obtain specific ingredients, many other forms of extraction are used. A study of Camellia sinensis water extracts found that they can inhibit the production of the pigment-producing activity of melanocytes, which may allow them to be helpful as skin lightening agents.[14] A different type of purification called tannase-converted green tea extract may also have skin benefits due to skin lightening and antiwrinkle capabilities.[15]

With the increased awareness of the potential skin benefits, green tea is now frequently added to skin care products in one way or another. More research will help reveal the skin benefits that the green team may have for the skin and other parts of the body. Further research is also needed to better tell how topical application of green tea for skin care is different from oral supplementation. Scientific evaluation will help find and promote the ideal methods of using the herb.

 

For further reading on the benefits of drinking tea, click on the article links below:

Green Tea for the Skin

Matcha Tea: A Japanese Secret to Health

Dosha Balancing Tea Recipes for Glowing Skin

Antioxidant Packed Teas for Sun Fun

* This Website is for general skin beauty, wellness, and health information only. This Website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. The information provided on this Website should never be used to disregard, delay, or refuse treatment or advice from a physician or a qualified health provider.

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References

  1.  Lu LY, Ou N, Lu QB. Antioxidant induces DNA damage, cell death and mutagenicity in human lung and skin normal cells. Sci Rep.2013;3:3169; PMID: 24201298 Link to research.
  2. Katiyar S, Elmets CA, Katiyar SK. Green tea and skin cancer: photoimmunology, angiogenesis and DNA repair. J Nutr Biochem.2007;18(5):287-296; PMID: 17049833 Link to research.
  3. Luo D, Min W, Lin XF, et al. Effect of epigallocatechingallate on ultraviolet B-induced photo-damage in keratinocyte cell line. Am J Chin Med.2006;34(5):911-922; PMID: 17080554 Link to research.
  4. Chu C, Deng J, Xiang L, et al. Evaluation of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) cross-linked collagen membranes and concerns on osteoblasts. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl.2016;67:386-394; PMID: 27287135 Link to research.
  5. Farrar MD, Nicolaou A, Clarke KA, et al. A randomized controlled trial of green tea catechins in protection against ultraviolet radiation-induced cutaneous inflammation. Am J Clin Nutr.2015;102(3):608-615; PMID: 26178731 Link to research.
  6. Saric S, Sivamani RK. Polyphenols and Sunburn. Int J Mol Sci.2016;17(9) PMID: 27618035 Link to research.
  7. Zhao M, Zheng R, Jiang J, et al. Topical lipophilic epigallocatechin-3-gallate on herpes labialis: a phase II clinical trial of AverTeaX formula. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol.2015;120(6):717-724; PMID: 26548726 Link to research.
  8. Jeon J, Kim JH, Lee CK, et al. The Antimicrobial Activity of (-)-Epigallocatehin-3-Gallate and Green Tea Extracts against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli Isolated from Skin Wounds. Ann Dermatol.2014;26(5):564-569; PMID: 25324647 Link to research.
  9. Yoon JY, Kwon HH, Min SU, et al. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate improves acne in humans by modulating intracellular molecular targets and inhibiting P. acnes. J Invest Dermatol.2013;133(2):429-440; PMID: 23096708 Link to research.
  10. Bianchi A, Marchetti N, Scalia S. Photodegradation of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in topical cream formulations and its photostabilization. J Pharm Biomed Anal.2011;56(4):692-697; PMID: 21807473 Link to research.
  11. Puri A, Nguyen HX, Banga AK. Microneedle-mediated intradermal delivery of epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Int J Cosmet Sci.2016;38(5):512-523; PMID: 27009797 Link to research.
  12. Clarke KA, Dew TP, Watson RE, et al. Green tea catechins and their metabolites in human skin before and after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. J Nutr Biochem.2016;27:203-210; PMID: 26454512 Link to research.
  13. Fang JY, Tsai TH, Lin YY, et al. Transdermal delivery of tea catechins and theophylline enhanced by terpenes: a mechanistic study. Biol Pharm Bull.2007;30(2):343-349; PMID: 17268077 Link to research.
  14. Kim YC, Choi SY, Park EY. Anti-melanogenic effects of black, green, and white tea extracts on immortalized melanocytes. J Vet Sci.2015;16(2):135-143; PMID: 25643794 Link to research.
  15. Hong YH, Jung EY, Noh DO, et al. Physiological effects of formulation containing tannase-converted green tea extract on skin care: physical stability, collagenase, elastase, and tyrosinase activities. Integr Med Res.2014;3(1):25-33; PMID: 28664075 Link to research.