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Green tea benefits for skin

Move over, coffee. There’s a new brew making a splash in skincare.

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Curology Team
Jan 13, 2023 · 6 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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Whether you're a coffee or a tea person, what we’re about to tell you might make you want to consider incorporating green tea into your morning routine. Aside from being a quick pick-me-up, green tea has many documented health benefits, from aiding digestion to helping prevent cancer. In skincare, it helps protect against signs of aging, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help treat acne. 

While green tea’s benefits for the skin are a newer discovery (compared to its other health benefits), you won’t need to look far to find this superstar ingredient in cleansers, moisturizers, toners, serums, and masks. Here we’ll introduce you to green tea as a skincare ingredient and show you how you can add it to your skincare routine.

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All about green tea

Tea, including green tea, has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Regarding green tea, specifically, many varieties exist, including matcha, sencha, and hojicha. Current research around green tea aims to evaluate its potential health benefits, including cardiovascular protection. Some studies show it may also have chemopreventive properties—meaning it could help protect against certain types of cancer.¹  

Green tea is also used in skincare to treat and slow signs of aging and help treat acne. It contains caffeine and polyphenols, which give it its antioxidant properties. But there’s no need to use up your teabags on skincare—there’s evidence that drinking green tea is good for your skin, too.²

What does green tea do for your skin?

While green tea has made its mark on healthcare for centuries, it’s a relative newcomer to the skincare world. So far, it’s making positive strides. Here are just a few of the potential benefits of green tea for your skin:

  • Helps protect against UV radiation. EGCG is a powerful antioxidant in green tea. Antioxidants help fight against free radicals—pesky molecules that can harm your body, health, and skin. Limited studies show that topical and oral green tea can help protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays.³  

  • Helps reduce the signs of aging. Research is ongoing, but green tea’s anti-aging properties could come from EGCG and other polyphenols. The antioxidants help to diminish damage from reactive oxygen species. Laboratory studies show that drinking tea may also boost collagen and elastin,⁴ which may help skin appear younger.

  • Has anti-inflammatory properties. EGCG has anti-inflammatory properties that may help certain inflammatory conditions. More research is needed on the effects of green tea itself, but topical green tea extract could potentially help with conditions like atopic dermatitis and rosacea.⁵ That said, more research is needed!

  • Can help treat acne. Several studies have shown that oral and topical use of tea polyphenols may reduce excess oil (sebum) production, and can improve acne severity. More research is needed, however, tea polyphenols used topically and orally could potentially be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of acne.⁶ 

How to use green tea for your skin

There are many ways to use green tea for your skin. Here are a few DIY skincare products that harness green tea’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential. They’re easy to add to your skincare routine, especially if you already have green tea in your pantry.

Face masks

A green tea face mask can be used to help calm your skin. You can make a simple face mask by mixing matcha green tea powder (or green tea leaves), honey, and aloe. Add warm water to create a paste. Apply the mask and let set for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. 

Green tea bags under your eyes

Prepare green tea by letting a tea bag steep in hot water. Remove the bag once it’s steeped to your liking, and allow it to cool. Then, apply the tea bag under your eyes to help temporarily reduce puffiness and dark circles.

Topical green tea products

Green tea is popping up in serums, moisturizers, toners, and other products available over the counter—but not all are created equal. Here are some skincare products vetted by our dermatology providers: 

Drinking a cup of green tea

Some studies show that oral green tea extract vitamin supplementation may offer photoprotection,⁷ so it could help shield your skin from UV rays. But that doesn’t mean you can ditch sunscreen! Your best protection against sun damage—and skin cancer—is broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 used daily, covering up and limiting sun exposure. Drinking a cup of tea may not be as effective as applying it directly to your skin, but it still can be beneficial. That said, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits. 

Be gentle with your skin

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If you’re feeling unsure about what your skin needs to beat breakouts or reduce signs of aging, talking to an expert can help. Our licensed dermatology providers work with you to examine your skin, assess your skincare goals, and provide custom treatment options. We have a lot of information on our blog about skin concerns, treatments, products, and ingredients. We’re more than a skincare brand—we’re here to give you the info you need to care for your skin. 

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FAQs

What are the benefits of green tea?

Current research around green tea aims to evaluate its potential health benefits, including cardiovascular protection. Some studies show it may also have chemopreventive properties—meaning it could help protect against certain types of cancer. 

What does green tea do for your skin?

  • Helps protect against UV radiation

  • Helps reduce the signs of aging

  • Has anti-inflammatory properties

  • Can help treat acne

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Du, G.J., et al. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most effective cancer chemopreventive polyphenol in green tea. Nutrients. (November 2012).

  2. Di Sotto, A., et al. Efficacy and safety of oral green tea preparations on skin ailments: A systematic review of clinical studies. Nutrients. (August 2022). 

  3. OyetakinWhite, P., et al. Protective mechanisms of green tea polyphenols in skin. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. (2012). 

  4. Prasanth, M.I., et al. A review of the role of green tea (Camellia sinensis) in anti photoaging, stress resistance, neuroprotection, and autophagy.Nutrients. (2019 February 23). 

  5. Pazyar, N, et al. Green tea in dermatology. Skinmed. (November-December 2012). 

  6. Saric, S., et al. Green tea and other tea polyphenols: Effects on sebum production and acne vulgaris. Antioxidants. (March 2017). 

  7. Rhodes, L.E., et al. Oral green tea catechin metabolites are incorporated into human skin and protect against UV radiation-induced cutaneous inflammation in association with reduced production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoid 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid. British Journal of Nutrition. (2013 January 28). 

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• • •
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Elise Griffin, Physician Assistant Curology

Elise Griffin, PA-C

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