The ingredient has an impressive list of benefits.
A cup of green tea in the morning can help energize you for the day ahead — and it offers similar benefits for the skin. This is why you'll find green tea listed as an ingredient on more than a handful of skincare products, from cleansers to moisturizers to serums.
Studies have found that the polyphenolic compounds found in green tea can have an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic effect on the skin, which can help protect it against free radicals and minimize both redness and irritation.
To find out exactly how green tea works in skincare, including how to incorporate it in your routine and whether or not drinking it can have the same effect as applying it topically, we turned to two top dermatologists,
Keep reading to get all the details on how green tea benefits the skin.
What are the skincare benefits of green tea?
Green tea is a multitasking ingredient that can help treat a number of skincare concerns, including UV damage and fine lines and wrinkles.
"Green tea soothes the skin, fights free radicals, reduces sebum production, and is an amazing anti-inflammatory ingredient," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Stacy Chimento Capote. "It also contains tannins and caffeine which shrinks blood vessels and reduce puffiness."
In addition, Dr. Jeanine Downie, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Image Dermatology, says green tea can also help repair DNA damage and prevent tumor formation. Plus, the polyphenol compounds can reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Who can use green tea in their skincare routine?
Not only is green tea a multitasking skincare ingredient, it also plays nice with all skin types.
"Anyone can benefit from green tea skincare as long as they do not have a known allergy to green tea," Dr. Capote adds. With that said, formulas containing green tea typically don't cause any side effects unless there is a known allergy. When in doubt, do a patch test when trying any new skincare product.
Dr. Downie says those over 35 may particularly benefit from including green tea in their skincare routine. "Green tea should be included in the anti-aging skin care regimen of anybody over the age of 35 that has a decent amount of sun exposure," she shares. "That is all races, ethnicities, and sexes. As white men over the age of 50 get skin cancer more than anybody else, they should really be looking into green tea benefits by their 40s if not earlier."
How should you add green tea to your skincare routine?
There are a number of skincare products on the market that are formulated with green tea, but Dr. Capote recommends using ones that also contains other antioxidants as they'll work synergistically. "Serums and moisturizers packed with antioxidants are the best products to look out for," she adds.
Additionally, the combination of green tea and caffeine in a serum can be beneficial for reducing redness and puffiness. And if your skin is compromised, Dr. Capote suggests also adding a gentle face wash into the mix. "For those with compromised skin, consider adding on additional green tea in the form of a gentle wash," she says. "It is so safe that anyone can benefit from its healing and anti-aging properties."
Will drinking green tea provide the same skincare benefits?
While drinking green tea offers a number of proven health benefits — such as boosting brain function, balancing blood sugar, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease — both dermatologists say applying it topically is the best way to reap its skincare benefits.
"Yes, you can get some of the same benefits by drinking green tea. However, putting it on the skin in a serum can decrease fine lines and wrinkles and protect the skin against carcinogenic effects as well as being anti-inflammatory more thoroughly than just drinking it," Dr. Downie says. "If you are interested in improving the quality of your skin, I would put it on topically and drink green tea."
Dr. Capote elaborates: "There have been no studies comparing the benefits from applying in skincare vs drinking, however it does seem there is more data that drinking green tea provides more health benefits. EGCG [the antioxidant found in green tea] is hydrophilic and is limited in skin penetration so perhaps oral ingestion may provide additional benefits."
From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space. Find out what's really in your products — and what's being left out.