Over two thousand years ago, the Chinese began using green tea for medicinal purposes under the Han dynasty. According to those ancient doctors, the infusion of the camellia sinensis plant could be used to treat conditions such as headaches, depression, and more.
Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, green tea is, in fact, full of antioxidants, enzymes, and amino acids. Additional vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, potassium, and magnesium add to the health benefits. And a continuous stream of new research seems to reinforce the fact that ancient doctors may have known more than we often give them credit for. (At least when it comes to tea!)
One of the most interesting dermatology-related pieces of research to come out in the past year regarding green tea is an article entitled “Update on Green Tea” published by Dr. Leslie S. Baumann in Dermatology News. In the article, Baumann discusses several potential benefits of green tea as suggested by dozens of studies over the course of the past quarter century.
Green tea and acne
Though most of us know green tea as a hot beverage, green tea extract is frequently used as an additive to topical creams and lotions aimed at fighting acne. This is because the abundant antioxidants found in green tea are effective at reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals.
Dr. Baumann notes in her article that, although oral ingestion of green tea has been shown to offer some effectiveness in fighting acne (as well as many symptoms of rosacea,) it is far more potent when applied as a topical extract. According to one study cited by Baumann, “2% green tea lotion is both an effective and cost effective approach for treating mild-to-moderate acne lesions.”
Green tea and anti-aging
A substantial amount of research has also suggested that green tea can be effective at reducing many of the skin ailments associated with aging. (I.e. wrinkles and brown spots.) Once again, the properties of green tea tend to be far more powerful when it is applied topically, though some research does suggest that orally ingesting green tea can also have its anti-aging benefits.
Green tea as part of a healthy lifestyle
The simple takeaway for patients: the antioxidants found in green tea can help rejuvenate the skin while protecting against potential breakouts of inflammation caused by acne, rosacea, etc. Many clinical studies choose to focus on the effectiveness of potent green tea extracts that are applied topically–and, should you decide that your condition warrants dermatological medication, you may wish to consider choosing a product that makes use of green tea. However, for everyone else, the many health benefits of green tea (which go beyond the skin) make the delicious beverage worth considering as part of a healthy lifestyle. As any good dermatologist will tell you, a healthy lifestyle is the foundation for healthy skin!