Green tea is one of my favorite sources of antioxidants and also has terrific anti-inflammatory powers. While all organs in your body benefit from antioxidants, your skin is subject to more oxidative stress than any other. Fortunately, potent antioxidant extracts of green tea are readily available in skincare products and are a great way to help protect your skin. Today I'll tell you about green tea's benefits and how your skin can best benefit from them.
Green tea contains two major antioxidant groups of chemicals: polyphenols, also known as catechins and xanthines, which work together as very potent free radical neutralizers, protecting you from premature aging and cancer. All cells in your body are subject to oxidative stress. That's a very fancy term for the fact that all of these cells contain potentially dangerous high energy particles called free radicals. They unpredictably discharge their dangerous energy and throw it at your cells DNA, cell membranes, elastic tissue, collagen, and other important structures causing irreparable damage. The role of antioxidants is to absorb and thereby neutralize that bad energy before it can damage you.
The skin has more free radicals than any other organ, because only the skin develops ultraviolet light induced free radicals. That happens because even the best sunscreens and application techniques aren't 100% effective. So, some UV light gets past them causing more free radicals in your skin.
But to get the best protection for your skin from green tea, do you drink it or apply it to your skin?
There is no better way to achieve therapeutic concentrations of actives in the skin then by topical application, including antioxidants. That's because if you drink antioxidants, by the time your skin will receive a meaningful dose, you'll have to drink so much that it just wouldn't be practical.
One of the four major polyphenols in green tea is Epi-gall-o-catechin Gallate which is 20 times more potent as an antioxidant than Vitamin E. It's considered to play a vital role in protecting cells from free radical damage. Green tea extracts used in combination with sunscreen can increase the SPF of the sunscreen and they have also been shown to block DNA damage associated with tobacco and other toxins.
The xanthines in green tea are very effective at suppressing inflammation and irritation. Because the polyphenols are loosely bound to the xanthines, they potentiate their anti-inflammatory and anti-irritancy effects. This may be one reason that these ingredients in their natural state as extracts from green tea appears to be more effective than using synthetic materials.
The bottom line is that whether you wear it or drink it, I believe that green tea is good for you, and great for your skin.