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Green Tea and Skin



The medicinal properties of tea are attributed to flavonoid phytochemicals called polyphenols. The polyphenols found in tea mainly belong to the subtype called catechins. Green tea has more catechins than black tea. White tea is almost as rich in catechins as green tea but is different in composition and less well studied. The main catechins in green tea include gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

Due to lack of direct long-tern studies, opinions vary as to how much tea should be consumed for optimal health. Most experts suggest drinking from three to ten cups per day.

There have been a number of encouraging studies of skin benefits of green tea. Animal studies showed protection from skin cancer. Both animal and human studies have credibly demonstrated that topical green tea formulations reduce sun damage. Green tea appears to exert sun damage protection by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays. Therefore, green tea may synergistically enhance sun protection when used in addition to a sunscreen.

In particular, because sun protection benefits of green tea are particularly well documented, it makes sense to apply a green tea formula under your sunscreen every day. It is best to combine green tea with zinc oxide-based sunscreens because zinc oxide is chemically inert and will not react with green tea (which some chemical sunscreens might do, especially in sunlight).


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