In most Asian countries, green tea has been around for thousands of years but it is now consumed worldwide. It was discovered in 2700BC by the Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Nung, who was boiling some water when the leaves from a nearby tree fell into the pot. This resulted in a wonderful aroma and the well known beverage was born.
These days, green tea is not just consumed for its flavour, but also for it’s multiple health benefits.
Due to its extensive processing, black tea does not contain the same extent of health benefits as green tea. The powerful antioxidants protect the body against disease, facilitate weight loss and reduce the risk of cancer. The powerful properties of green tea has led to it being used topically.
Green tea extract is made up of multiple compounds, including caffeine, but most importantly Catechins which make up 60–80% of the polyphenols. They are a group of very active flavonoids and give green tea its antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic character.
Skin aging is caused by oxidative stress by free radicals. The specific structure of the green tea polyphenols lead to the quenching of the free radicals and therefore green tea exerts a natural sun protective effect. A green tea extract containing product is great in addition to your favourite SPF. It is very important to use an SPF product daily to protect the skin against harsh UV rays.
Green tea extract is able to reduce inflammation and so in combination with its antioxidant properties, it is able to slow down various signs of aging. It is also able to inhibit the action of collagenase which leads to a reduced break down of collagen and a greater elasticity in the skin.
A study was carried out on 24 volunteers, who applied a formulation containing 6% green tea extract. After 30 days, skin roughness was significantly reduced and skin moisturisation was significantly increased.
Green tea can also be used to reduce acne due to it’s anti-inflammatory effects. As well a inhibiting inflammation, green tea extract can inhibit sebaceous lipogenesis hence leading to decreased sebum production and less acne breakouts. A test on 20 patients applying a formulation with 2% green tea extract for 6 weeks saw a significant reduction in acne.
Green tea extract is very soothing on the skin and helps reduce redness. It can inhibit antiangiogensis which is the development of blood vessels.
It can also help ease atopic dermatitis, which is a relapsing-remitting chronic, inflammatory skin disease. It is a successful, non-steroidal treatment.
In summary, green tea extract is a wonderful ingredient with multiple skin benefits and scientific evidence to prove it. It is a great addition to anyone’s skincare regime.