Want to do your skin a favor? Cozy up with cup of tea. That’s not exactly the advice you would expect to get, but new evidence suggests that tea may help to slow the effects of aging, protect your skin from environmental damage, reduce redness and inflammation, and even clear acne-NATURALLY.

“Real” Tea

Green, black, white, and oolong tea are your only “true” teas.

They are all made from the leaves of one plant, the “tea bush” (Camellia sinensis).

The only difference between the tea varieties is their processing that gives each a unique taste.
Evidence suggests that tea, especially green and white, can protect against sun damage and reduce inflammation, redness, and acne.

 

Anti-Aging

The anti-aging benefits of tea lie with its high level of antioxidants. When you leave an apple or avocado exposed to air, brown spots appear. The same process occurs with your skin. Free radicals in our environment cause our skin to oxidize resulting in age spots, freckles, dark circles, and redness. To make matters worse, your skin has a harder time protecting itself as you age. Here’s the good news: Foods that contain ANTIoxidants, like tea, help your body fight back and minimize the damage. While all “real” teas have antioxidants, green and white teas have the highest concentration.

Redness and Rosacea

A few studies have shown that tea can reduce redness and irritation caused by Rosacea and aging. Catechins, the antioxidants found in tea, function as anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents. One of the major catechins in green tea has been shown to be the most effective agent against skin inflammation (redness that occurs with aging) and cancerous changes in the skin.

Another study found 2% polyphenone (via a particular type of green tea extract) reduced inflammation in papulopustular rosacea. More here: http://www.smartskincare.com/treatments/topical/greentea.html

Sun Protection

Probably one of its’ most surprising and little known benefits, green tea can boot your skin’s natural sun protection.

UK and German studies found that participants who supplemented with green tea for 12 weeks were 20% lighter than those with same UV exposure but no supplementation.
Considering that sun exposure is the number one cause of skin aging, this is good news for those wanting to hold onto their youthful looking skin.

There is another more powerful takeaway from this study though: It has proven that you can consume tea to benefit your skin. It does NOT have to be applied topically!

The benefits of topical application HAVE been documented however. Green tea applied topically can work alongside your sunscreen to provide better protection.

It’s best to use a zinc based sunscreen. It will not an adverse chemical reaction with the green tea like other active ingredients

More here: http://www.acneeinstein.com/new-evidence-shows-drinking-green-tea-direct-skin-benefits/

Acne

A few teas offer great news for acne sufferers. We now have evidence that green tea can help balance hormones, a trigger for many acne breakouts. Green tea increases the molecules that bind to sex hormones (called sex hormone binding globules), and thus reduces levels of bioactive hormones. You can read more here: http://www.acneeinstein.com/3-ways-green-tea-treats-acne/

A 2013 study also found that when applied topically, green tea reduced sebum (oil) levels in acne sufferers. Less oil means less acne! More here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738281/

Zinc Deficiency

All acne sufferers also have one thing in common: low levels of zinc.
A 2013 study found that the more severe your acne, the lower your zinc levels. Twelve studies have shown that supplementing with zinc reduced inflammation and break outs in acne sufferers. More here: http://www.acneeinstein.com/zinc-for-acne/

You can try using a zinc supplement or you can grab a cup of rooibos tea instead. While not technically a tea because the leaves of rooibos tea come from a common shrub in Africa, rooibos tea has a high mineral content: including zinc. A 2009 study also found that rooibos tea taken orally effectively lowered inflammation, another acne trigger. More here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/482907-is-rooibos-tea-good-for-acne/

Dark circles? Try a black tea.

Black tea has a higher caffeine level than the other teas. The caffeine effectively shrinks the blood vessels just under your skin, reducing swelling and puffiness under the eyes. The constricted blood vessels also help to eliminate the dark circles. Black tea also contains tannins (responsible for the color and astringent flavor of the tea). Like caffeine, they help to constrict capillaries and blood vessels.

Herbal “Tea”

While not technically tea, many herbal teas or herbs that are added to traditional tea can really pack some powerful beauty benefits.

Nettle 

Nettles have been used in skincare remedies for ages. In an article from 1854, a Dr. Joseph Buller describes replacing the use of “liquor arsenicalis” (essentially a poisonous ‘medicine’ used in the 1800s to ‘cure’ all sorts of ailments) with nettle decoction or extract. Virtually all of his patients were cured of their chronic skin diseases, despite the fact that – in his words – this knowledge was passed down by “the class of peasantry usually termed ‘old women’“. Read more: http://www.herbhedgerow.co.uk/nettles-uses-in-natural-herbal-beauty-skincare/#ixzz4V5stndWH

While we need more research, the studies that have been shown anti-microbial activity and a high phenol content. In essence, nettle has the potential to protect your skin from environmental toxins and microbes while also being an inflammatory. Good news for acne sufferers yet again! Research: https://examine.com/supplements/stinging-nettle/

Cocoa Shells

Cocoa stimulates blood flow and naturally enhances your skin’s UV protection. Cellular studies and results from oral treatment and topical application studies in both animals and humans showed that cocoa polyphenols, especially those belonging to the flavanol family, have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. More here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145303/

Cardamon Seed

According to sources at Stylecraze, cardamom has vitamins A, B, and C, all of which can enrich your skincare routine in a very beautiful way.

For instance, cardamom has shown to improve circulation due to its levels of vitamin C, plus it contains antioxidants and infection fighting properties that can increase the recovery time of dark spots and blemishes.

 

Schisandra berry

Schisandra is a natural beauty tonic that’s capable of protecting the skin from wind, sun exposure, allergic reactions, dermatitis, environmental stress and toxin accumulation. Schisandra chinensis has been widely used to treat skin diseases due to its anti-inflammatory effects. While more formal research on the effects on shisadra on skin health are needed, one 2015 study using rats observed that schisandra extract inhibited ear swelling by lowering skin dermatitis, immune cell filtration and cytokine production, which are all markers of inflammatory skin disorders in humans.

Recommendations: “Healthy Skin” by Yogi is an organic tea that uses each of these herbs in a base of Roobios tea (mentioned above under “Acne”). It tastes wonderful and can be found on Amazon here but may actually be cheaper for you to purchase at Walmart.

The “Super” Tea

While all of the various tea types are beneficial, there is one that stands out from the crowd: Matcha. There’s a lot of hype around macha tea, but when you dig through the research, it’s for good reason. Matcha tea is technically a green tea, but rather than drinking just the water the leaves have steeped in, you consume the tea leaves themselves. The leaves are ground into a fine powder and mixed into water, milk, or even baked goods.

There are many benefit claims, but here’s what we DO know backed by scientific evidence:

Matcha tea contains 137 TIMES the level of antioxidants found in common green tea.
(see explanation of antioxidans above).

A study by Dr. David J. Weiss and Dr. Christopher R. Anderton measured the number of antioxidants found in matcha and compared those levels to those found in normal china green tea. They found that just one cup of matcha was equal to drinking 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea!

To give you even more perspective, consider it’s antioxidant levels next to other “super foods”:

What does this mean for beauty and skin?

  • Greater anti-aging properties than green or white tea
  • Potentially better UV protection than the green tea used in previous studies
  • Better ability to regulate hormones than green tea
  • Reduces inflammation better than any of the other teas

Recommendations: Matcha tea comes in grades. Choose “Ceremonial Grade” for drinking teas and lattes. Anything not labeled “Ceremonial Grade” will have a slight bitter aftertaste when used for drinks, but tastes wonderful when used in baking and other recipes.

Tea Sources

Mountain Rose Herbs has he best selection of organic, fair trade, loose leaf teas that I have found to date. The quality is outstanding and because they sell in bulk, the prices are fair. You can find them here.

 

The best value I’ve found for organic Ceremonial Grade matcha comes from Coastal Tea Company. Their price is phenomenal for the quality of tea you receive. You can find it here or on Amazon (eleigible for Prime membership!).

If you prefer not to drink tea, you can take powdered or capsule supplements. Personally, I buy pure matcha tea in bulk and encapsulate myself to save cost and ensure my pills are 100% pure.

Another option is to apply it topically. Sprays, hand soaps, or any product that you rinse off will likely have minimal benefit. Look for bath salts or lotions that contain green tea that will have prolonged contact with your skin.

Article by Elizabeth Mills (About)

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