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Green Tea Benefits for Skin: A True Antioxidant Powerhouse

February 09, 2018

Green Tea Benefits for Skin

Most of us already know green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, but did you know that there is a treasure-trove of green tea benefits for skin?

Green tea has remained ubiquitous in China and India for hundreds of years because of its health benefits. Green tea has powerful antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties.

It has been used for everything from promoting wound-healing to improving cardiovascular health, and it’s even noted that countries consuming the most green tea have lower cancer rates. This healthy drink is loaded with antioxidants, polyphenols, catechins, vitamins, and minerals, so it can nourish skin from inside and out. 

Today, science is pointing more and more towards the benefits of green tea for skin health. It promotes gorgeous skin  by combating aging, and might even reduce the risk of skin cancer. Research suggests it also reduces the effects of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, weight management, Alzheimer’s, and more.

You can drink it or take dietary supplements to get green tea's benefits for skin, and you should also look for this ingredient in anti-aging beauty products.


Tea is second only to water as the most consumed beverage around the world, and green tea is one of the three main types, along with black and oolong. All three come from the plant Camellia sinensis, but the similarity ends there.

Green tea undergoes minimal processing (hence, its green color), and in this study, the amount of catechins and polyphenols, the same anti-aging substances found in tea, chocolate and blueberries, was found to be highest in green tea.

Catechins and polyphenols are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are rogue cells responsible for aging and disease. Green tea has a dry weight of about 30 percent polyphenols, as well as large amounts of a catechin called EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate). That catechin is one of the most powerful polyphenols, and one that gives green tea such strong medicinal properties.

Although there’s a tiny bit of caffeine, it’s not enough to outweigh the health benefits. Caffeine is known to increase alertness and be a mild diuretic, so it’s not surprising that it is often included in beauty products to brighten and “wake up” the complexion, and reduce puffiness.


Green tea does some incredibly wonderful things for skin, such as:

  • Flushing toxins (from sources such as environmental pollutants), making the complexion healthy and glowing.
  • Reducing inflammation, redness, scars and bumps.
  • Diminishing dark circles around eyes and eliminating puffiness.
  • Fighting the signs of aging: wrinkles, sagging, sun damage, uneven skin tone, fine lines.
  • Treating acne and pimples; that’s because of the antibacterial and hormone-balancing properties of the catechins.
  • Toning skin, reducing the size of pores, and drawing out impurities.
  • Protecting against skin cancer and cell oxidation.


Do both! Beauty comes from the inside out, but it’s also true that what you put on your face is as important as what you put in your body. Skin is not only porous, but it is also the body’s largest organ.

To really understand why you should apply green tea topically, you first need to understand the difference between penetration and absorption, because the two are often used interchangeably and that’s not correct. Penetration means going into the deeper layers of the epidermis, while absorption means actually makes it into the bloodstream.

While skin is the body’s largest organ and part of an important system called the integumentary system, it is not considered to be the most vital organ. So, a nutrient might go to a more crucial organ first, such as when sunshine goes from the skin to the liver to manufacture vitamin D.

By the time the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants complete their internal distribution, there isn’t all that much left for the skin. While no one knows for sure, some estimate that it’s as little as 60 percent. Topical applications ensure skin receives the nourishing benefits it needs.


It’s been said so often that it’s almost a cliche, but it’s true: when you feel good, you look good. When you get sufficient vitamins and minerals in your diet, it shows!

Green tea is a superfood, meaning that it has a higher level of vitamins and minerals that other foods. Take special note of these vitamins in green tea that are considered to be some of the best vitamins for healthy skin:

  • B vitamins. Along with green tea extract, B-vitamins are found in anti-aging wrinkle creams. Vitamin B speeds up cell metabolism and it’s a superstar in enhancing our health and making our skin glow. B3 (niacin) or in particular, niacinamide, stands out as this derivative of niacin has been shown to result in creating softer, smoother skin with a decrease in fine lines.

Other superstars include:

  • B12: Important to cell reproduction and reducing redness, dryness, inflammation and acne blemishes. Some even use apply it directly to treat psoriasis and eczema.
  • B1: An antioxidant, important for fighting free radical damage.
  • B5: Decreases oil formation, which reduces acne and eczema bumps and redness; it also hydrates--and hydrated skin looks plumper.
  • Folate: also known as vitamin B-9. This is the vitamin that shields us from skin cancer. A deficiency in B-9 leads to chronic DNA damage which, in turn, can lead to paleness and melanoma.
  • Vitamin C: A natural antioxidant that assists skin in production collagen, which keeps us firm.
  • Vitamin E: Another antioxidant, it also transports fat and nutrients to the cells.
  • Manganese: This mineral is an antioxidant; in fact, it’s the major one in your cell’s mitochondria and helps us metabolize carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol, and aids in wound healing.
  • Magnesium: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) calls this the “mineral of beauty,” and with good reason. Magnesium is needed for the enzymes that replicate and repair DNA and, when you’re magnesium-deficient, you’ll get inflammation, wrinkles, bumps and redness. Magnesium deficiency also results in a reduction of skin fatty acids.This reduction of fatty acids in skin reduces moisture and elasticity, and can lead to inflammation. We never seem to get enough magnesium in our diets, so it’s a must for applying topically. You might also consider supplementation, but go slowly to determine your tolerance, as it has a laxative effect. Magnesium also contributes to stress relief which might aid in reducing stress-related irritations, such as acne and rosacea.
  • Potassium: It maintains electrolyte and fluid balance and that keeps our skin cells hydrated and internally moisturized.
  • Caffeine: To be clear, there is some caffeine in green tea, but it is a small amount (far less than the caffeine in coffee) and so the health benefits still outweigh any negatives about caffeine. For the skin, it tightens, brightens, eliminates dark circles and puffiness and even constricts small blood vessels so it may soothe red and irritated skin. If you are pregnant, however, and plan to drink green tea, please seek the advice of your physician regarding the caffeine content.


The polyphenols provided by green tea have been noted in studies to be approximately six times higher than those found in black tea. Green tea is also high in the amino acid L-Theanine which increases the brain’s dopamine levels and lowers blood pressure, thus producing a calming effect.

In a study reported in Trends in Food Science & Technology, it was found green tea produces relaxing effects without drowsiness only 40 minutes after consumption.

How much should you drink per day for optimum health? Studies are inconclusive about that, but some suggest that you should drink two - three cups per day (or supplement your diet with 100 to 750 mg per day of standardized green tea extract).

Green tea benefits for skin have been studied among humans and animals, and so far the results have been encouraging. In fact, animal studies pointed toward skin cancer protection.

All studies, of both humans and animals, have shown demonstrable protection from sun damage. The promising results of how green tea benefits skin in scientific studies is helping consumers understand that regular consumption of green tea could be the key piece of the anti-aging puzzle.