Tea and Skincare
Posted by Kat Stein on September 21, 2018
In different cultures over the world, tea has played an important role in maintaining health and well-being for thousands of years. In some places, tea is so revered that there are daily ceremonies around it. Some drink tea as an caffeinated alternative to coffee, some drink it with the intention of preventing diseases like heart disease or cancer, some to lose weight, some just because it’s tasty, and some as part of their skincare routine! Did you know that tea could be good for the health of your skin?
Green tea is the second most widely consumed beverage, next to water, in the entire world! If that alone doesn’t speak to the healing properties of these herbs, I don’t know what will. Green tea is known to inhibit oxidative stress – this is what happens when your body has low amounts of antioxidants and high amounts of free radicals, making it easier for free radicals to do damage to fatty tissue. Part of the damage caused by oxidative stress is premature aging or wrinkles. Since green tea contains a large concentration of polyphenol antioxidants, it assists the body in fighting those DNA damaging free radicals. Green tea also helps reduce inflammation, cleanses skin, and protects skin against sun damage and skin cancer by quenching free radicals. To reap the benefits of green tea, you can drink lots of it (at least 1 cup a day), take green tea capsules (found at your local health food store), or use a cotton ball to dab the tea directly onto your skin. The best part? Green tea is just as beneficial when hot or cold, so it’s good for every season!
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that uses the same leaves used to make green and black tea but is partially oxidized; meaning that it is more processed than green tea, but not quite as processed as black tea. Oolong is jam packed with antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, sodium, fluoride, and an amino acid called theanine that helps us relax. The polyphenols found in oolong have been shown to slow down and reduce signs of aging, as well as to help with symptoms of a painful skin condition called eczema. This tea detoxifies the body, which helps clear up acne and other skin issues. The proteins and minerals found in oolong also help your hair stay full and shiny!
Different varieties of tea are made by processing leaves in different ways. Green tea is made by drying leaves and black tea is made by fermenting leaves – both of which tend to reduce the amount of catechins (the antioxidants that are key to tea’s health benefits). White tea is made from young leaves and buds that are steamed immediately after picking with no additional processing. Because of this, white tea has a higher catechin content, or higher antioxidant value, than any other tea! Similarly to green tea, white tea reduces oxidative stress to the skin, therefore reducing the harmful free radicals that can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, and uneven pigmentation in the skin. White tea is also high in the antioxidant EGCG, another one that helps eliminate wrinkles! All skin contains a group of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases that are responsible for the reduction of proteins during tissue turnover. The amount of MMP in our skin increases as we age and begins to consume collagen and elastin, the proteins that are responsible for skin cell renewal. Collagen is what keeps your skin strong, while elastin gives your skin the ability to stretch and bounce back. Without these, skin begins to age and lose its elasticity. Luckily, the antioxidants found in white tea inhibit the activity of MMP, allowing your body to hang on to higher amounts of collagen and elastin and to keep skin looking young!