Being English drinking tea is a big part of my day. It’s an ancient herbal drink known for its stimulant qualities mostly attributed to caffeine. Recently it has also been touted as a health food. The major types of tea include black, green and white, differing by the method of harvesting and processing.
Medicinal properties in tea
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 (about 25% vs. 4%). 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).
Numerous studies have shown tea polyphenols to have protective effects against free radicals, cardiovascular damage, some cancers,
There have been a number of encouraging studies of the benefits of green tea with regard to skin. Animal studies showed protection from skin cancer. Both animal and human studies have credibly demonstrated that topical green tea formulations appear to reduce sun damage. Green tea seams to exert sun damage protection by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays.
How to use green tea in your skin care
As the sun protection benefits of green tea are particularly well documented, it could make sense to apply a green tea formula under your sunscreen when venturing into the sun. It is best to combine green tea with zinc oxide-based sunscreens because zinc oxide is chemically inert and should not react with green tea (which some chemical sunscreens might do, especially in sunlight).
For an all natural alternative to store bought preparations try making a freshly brewed pot of green tea to keep in the fridge and use as a fresh low cost toner.
You can also drink lots of green tea or take green tea extract in capsules.
Don’t however rely on an occasional cup of tea to protect your skin from the Sun, you should still:
Wear a hat sunglasses and sun protective clothing
Use a broad spectrum sun screen that protects against UVA & UVB rays