Green tea for skin
When one of my friends recently asked, “If you had to do PR for anything in the world, what would it be?” I answered, with more enthusiasm than she expected: green tea!!
This wonder drink can do no harm. I would never have to do damage control for it because there are reams of studies showing only benefits to every health ailment possible. Obesity? 3-5 cups of green tea has been shown to help speed up fat loss and boost calorie burn. Cancer? Green tea’s antioxidants protect your cells from free-radical production that can lead to tumor growth. Fuzzy memory? 2 cups of green tea a day has been associated with a 50 percent lower chance of having cognitive impairment, compared to those who drank less than three cup per week.
Ok I’ll stop now. Let’s get to how green tea can help improve your skin. You may have notice that a lot of anti-aging creams contain green tea extracts nowadays. That’s because topical green tea has been shown to thicken the epidermis (the top layer of skin) as well as inhibit the enzyme that causes uneven skin pigmentation, resulting in less blotchiness and discolouration. But you reap more of green tea’s benefits when you ingest it. Here’s what you get from downing a cup, or two, or three a day (the more, the better).
Extra sun protection
Wearing sunscreen every day is a must-do if you want to preserve your skin’s youthful appearance, but if you tend to skimp on SPF, sip more green tea. It can protect the skin from sunburn and skin cancer after exposure to UV light. In fact, one recent study showed that applying green tea directly to the skin 30 minutes before UV exposure greatly reduced the resulting sunburn and DNA damage caused by UVB (burning) rays. In yet another study, participants were given 250 mg of green tea polyphenols twice a day (one cup of green tea has between 50 and 100 mg of polyphenols). Six months later they reported significant improvement in overall sun damage, redness, and broken capillary veins, suggesting that green tea can actually reverse the sun damage you already have.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the active compound in green tea that is studied for it’s amazing antioxidant prowess. If you ever want to impress at a party, try pronouncing it by saying “EEE-PIG-A-GAL-O-CAT-A-CHIN.” Good luck. Only green tea contains this potent antioxidant – sorry java lovers, coffee doesn’t have EGCG. When it comes to keep your skin looking youthful, EGCG is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that helps prevent the activity of a key gene involved in your body’s inflammation response. Inflammation, as you know, is that internal war in your system between free radicals and your cells. Free radicals sound rad, but they’re horrible skin cell destroyers and are the culprits for premature wrinkles and lack-luster tone. So you want to do everything in your power to keep free radical production in your body to a minimum.
A study published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery noted that women taking green tea supplements showed improvement in their skin’s elastic content. Increasing the elasticity of your skin helps it rebound after repeated movements, which essentially helps to retain a smooth wrinkle-free face. Personally I prefer drinking green tea (loose leaf when I’m at home, and tea bags at work), aiming for at least three cups a day, but I also keep supplements on hand at my desk just in case I find myself skimping on the real thing. Green tea supplements are also one of my essential travel must-haves because I tend to drink less when away from home.
Do you drink green tea regularly? Let me know below.