The Science Behind Green Tea Benefits for Skin

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The Science Behind Green Tea Benefits for Skin

Uncovering why and how green tea can help your skin

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Camellia sinensis, or green tea, dates back centuries – and its momentum shows no signs of slowly. In recent years, it’s only gained more traction for its skin care benefits!

Being the curious beauty enthusiasts we are, we wondered: can green tea benefits be backed up by science? We’re taking a close look at the ways in which green tea benefits the skin, through its microscopic but mighty components.

Key Beneficial Components of Green Tea

Like all ingredients, green tea is made up of numerous components that give it a unique set of benefits. Amino acids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants are just a few elements in green tea that have been scientifically proven to be beneficial for human health.

Let’s focus on the key components of green tea, and how they stack up against scientific research.


#1: Caffeine
Caffeine is an effective skin de-puffer, as it can boost circulation in the skin and constrict the blood vessels. This helps eliminate puffiness and swelling, especially around the eye area.

As a result, green tea is a fantastic ingredient for eye creams, face masks, and more. It’s the reason we included it in our classic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, one of the top-rated eye creams for dark circles.

Caffeine also contains a ton of antioxidants, which are essential for anti-aging. It can also reduce redness in the skin, which helps make it a key player in our complexion-perfecting Green Color Corrector.

#2: Antioxidants
When we think about the ways in which green tea benefits the skin, antioxidants are often what come to mind. But what are antioxidants, and what can they do for the skin?

To answer these questions, we must first understand free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that have an unpaired electron, making them highly unstable. This makes them damaging to our skin, because molecules don’t like to have unpaired electrons – as a result, they’ll bond to other molecules in order to become stable. This includes the molecules in your skin.

Due to the highly reactive nature of free radicals, they can be quite damaging. They cause oxidative stress, which results in the weakening and deterioration of skin tissue. It’s kind of like metal, which rusts when faced with oxidative stress.

We encounter free radicals in our day-to-day lives: in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the UV rays from the sun. One of the biggest results of oxidative stress is signs of premature aging and damaged, weakened skin.

So how do you counteract these free radical damage? By consuming – and applying – antioxidants! Antioxidants are praised up and down because they will bind to free radicals before they can do damage. Think of antioxidants as a shield for your skin, working on an atomic level.

Antioxidants exist in countless forms, but one of the largest groups of antioxidants is known as polyphenols. Guess where you can find huge stores of polyphenols? You guessed it: in green tea.

PRO TIP: One of our most concentrated green tea treatments is our Matcha Oat Milk Nourishing Mask. It’s a hero for sun damaged skin, or skin that’s been overexposed to the elements (and free radicals).

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#3: Polyphenols
Polyphenols, in simple terms, are a group of plant-based compounds that offer several health benefits, the most notable being their antioxidant qualities.

One of the most abundant sources of polyphenols is mushrooms. The compound is also found in foods with deep, rich pigments: cherries, red grapes, coffee, cacao, and of course, green tea. Polyphenols supply these plants with part of their natural defense mechanism against decomposition, while also helping them ward off bacteria and fungi.

Like other antioxidants, polyphenols are known for defending the skin – especially when it comes to sun damage. According to a 2010 study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, polyphenols have been found to display photoprotective properties. They may even help reverse DNA damage caused by UV rays!

Additionally, the polyphenols in green tea possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties suggest an ability to defend against skin cancer, as observed by this 2018 study.

So whenever your skin is in need of a pick-me-up, we always recommend a mask that’s loaded with green tea and other polyphenol-rich ingredients. Our Green Tea Water Bomb Mask fits the bill, and is super hydrating to boot!

Remember how we mentioned that antioxidants are actually made up of a vast group of compounds? Well, polyphenols are a huge category of antioxidants – in fact, there are over 8,000 different kinds of polyphenols!

We can break these down into a few major categories, and one of those groups make up what are known as catechins. Among this unique class of polyphenols, green tea benefits from one of the best-studied catechins around: EGCG.

#4: EGCG
EGCG, or epigallocatechin, is one of the most powerful compounds found in green tea. It is also the most widely-researched type of catechin.

Like other antioxidants, EGCG is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. But it’s particularly praised for its prowess as a topical treatment, especially when it comes to reducing oiliness, redness, and acne.

One study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology demonstrated that EGCG can act as a mild, yet effective treatment for acne. It reduces inflammation, inhibits excess sebum production, and lessens the occurrence of P. acnes bacteria.

EGCG may also be effective for anti-aging. In one scientific study, it was found that EGCG helped encourage the production of new skin cells, resulting in a healthier, more radiant glow.

Looking for a way to enjoy a daily dose of EGCG? Our ultra-concentrated green tea serum is just the thing! Formulated with EGCG, this blend also includes a wealth of other skin-soothing ingredients like yerba mate, acai, and hydrating extracts from avocado and olive squalane.

Want more info on green tea benefits for skin? Read our original tell-all, and brush up on even more free-radical fighting ingredients to use in skin care.

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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