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How Does Green Tea Affect Your Skin?

Pouring green tea into small cup

There are many different varieties of green tea out there, and these all boast some truly incredible properties.

From being able to reduce the visible signs of aging to treating oily skin and acne, here are just a few of the ways in which green tea can affect your skin.

It is a Powerful Anti-Aging Ingredient

Whether you drink it or apply it topically to your skin, there is no denying that green tea is one of the most powerful anti-aging ingredients out there.

What makes it so potent?

The fact that it contains a catechin called EGCG.

Never heard of EGCG before?

This is a compound that has been the focus of so many scientific studies, with researchers all over the world discovering that EGCG has the ability to reactivate dying skin cells.

Of course, it is completely normal for your skin cells to die, and then for them to be replaced by the newer skin cells that your body has produced. This is known as the cell regeneration cycle, but, sadly, this cycle slows down with age, meaning that you are left with dying skin cells on the surface of your skin for longer, resulting in a dull and rough complexion.

By using green tea, the EGCG compounds are able to re-energize and reactivate dying skin cells, therefore keeping them looking fresh and vibrant for longer. 

However, there is more to green tea than its EGCG content when it comes to anti-aging…

Green tea is packed with a wide range of antioxidants, and these are key when it comes to aging skin.

Every day, free radicals are created in your body, and these are caused by everything from sun exposure to pollution.

Why are free radicals so bad?

Well, they are basically molecules that are missing an electron, and in order to replace this missing electron, they steal electrons from nearby cells. This then turns those cells into free radicals, and in order to heal themselves, they begin attacking other cells, triggering a vicious cycle.

Antioxidants are the best way to deal with this, as they provide free radicals with the electron that they are missing, stopping them from attacking and damaging other cells.

While all tea contains antioxidants, green tea is one of the least processed of tea types, meaning that it contains some of the highest levels of antioxidants, which is why green tea is more commonly used in skin care than other types of tea. 

Wondering what happens if you just leave the free radicals to continue attacking other cells?

This causes everything from wrinkles to sagging skin, as the free radicals will damage your skin cells at a deep DNA level, breaking down the collagen and elastin within them.

It Can Treat Acne

There are already quite a few different options out there when it comes to acne treatments, but many of these contain harsh ingredients. If you are looking for something gentle and natural, green tea is the way to go.

How does green tea help to treat acne?

Green tea has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and since one of the main causes of acne is inflammation, this can immediately help to calm the skin, reduce redness and prevent breakouts.

Green tea is also packed with polyphenolic compounds that are naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, meaning that they are able to destroy any acne-causing bacteria on your skin before the bacteria actually has any time to cause damage.

If all of that was not enough…

When used topically, green tea reduces the amount of sebum that your skin produces. Since the over-production of sebum is another huge trigger when it comes to acne, due to clogged pores, reducing the amount of oil produced goes a long way in helping to prevent breakouts from occurring in the first place. 

Is your acne caused by hormones?

Then you may have more luck drinking green tea rather than applying it topically.


Because the EGCG in green tea can help to regulate your hormones and prevent hormonal acne breakouts.

Don’t forget…

While green tea can help to treat acne, it is always important to also understand the root cause of your acne breakouts, so that you can tackle this directly.

It Can Protect Skin from Sun Damage and Prevent Skin Cancer

It has long since been understood that the polyphenols in green tea help to protect the plant from UV damage, but recent studies have shown that these compounds affect the skin in the same way too.

When applied topically, green tea has the ability to prevent, and even reverse, sun damage, therefore also preventing UV-induced skin cancer from developing.

Newer studies show that these effects are magnified when green tea is consumed orally too, lessening the damage even more that the sun would have otherwise caused.

How exactly does green tea do this?

This is still being understood, but one of the ways in which it does this is down to its EGCG content.

These EGCG compounds prevent leukocytes from growing, which are white blood cells that often indicate the beginnings of skin cancer.

EGCG also stimulates cancerous cells to perform apoptosis, which basically means that they commit suicide and kill themselves. This shows that green tea not only prevents sun damage in the skin, but also reverses existing damage that has already been caused.

How Much Green Tea Should You Be Drinking?

When it comes to the amount of green tea that you should be drinking to experience its full range of benefits, the answer is still relatively unknown.

You might be thinking…

With all of the research being carried out on green tea, surely dosage amounts should be well documented by now?

With other ingredients, dosage would have definitely been a key focus, but the problem lies in the fact that there are so many different varieties of green tea out there, with each one varying in potency.

Although the amount of green tea that should be consumed each day varies greatly between individuals, a rough guide to start off with would be between three to five cups a day for maximum benefits, although you will likely need to adjust this based on how your body reacts to it.

When it comes to choosing the best quality green tea to drink…

Many experts would recommend choosing a variety that has been grown and processed in Japan. Although China is the largest producer of green tea in the world, it is also a very highly polluted country, and the tea plant easily absorbs contaminants from the soil and air, with many Chinese green tea varieties having been found to contain lead.

The teas produced in Japan are generally much cleaner and purer, which means that they would benefit your body and skin in a much bigger way.

Wondering if your green tea needs to be organic?

This would definitely be beneficial. Tea plants are heavily sprayed with pesticides, so for the purest of products, an organic version is best.

Trying to decide between tea bags or loose leaf green tea?

The loose leaf version is the one to go for. Loose green tea leaves are packed with a much higher level of antioxidants than green tea bags, meaning that the loose leaves will be much more beneficial for your skin.

If you don’t enjoy the taste of green tea…

Give some of the other versions that you have not tasted yet a try. Here are a few of the most popular varieties:

  • Sencha – this is the most common form of green tea
  • Gyokuro – this has a unique aroma, similar to that of nori seaweed
  • Genmaicha – this is mixed with roasted and popped brown rice, giving it a savory flavor
  • Hojicha – another green tea with a savory aroma, this one is easily drinkable and is often favored by children
  • Shinchaboasts a full-bodied, and less bitter, flavor thanks to its low catechin and caffeine content. While this may not be as beneficial for your skin, it still contains high amounts of amino acids, which have their own skin-boosting properties 

What About Matcha?

Matcha is another type of green tea, but is actually quite unique.

Matcha is grown and processed in a different way than other types of green tea, and is ground into a finely textured powder, meaning that you are consuming the entire leaf, rather than just the water that the leaves have been brewed in.

For this reason, matcha contains nutrients in a much more concentrated form, with just one cup of matcha tea providing you with the same benefits that up to ten cups of green tea would.

Just like with the other forms of green tea, matcha can be consumed orally as well as applied topically, giving you a double dose of its benefits.

Are There Any Side Effects to Increasing Green Tea Consumption?

While green tea is packed with an array of different health benefits, it can sometimes come with a few side effects too.

The first would be down to its caffeine content.

As you likely already know, drinking too much caffeine can lead to:

  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Lack of sleep
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomachs

With caffeine content varying depending on the type of tea you use, how much of it you use, and how long you leave it to steep for, the amount of caffeine you are actually consuming with each cup of green tea is quite hard to judge, so you will need to pay attention to how your body reacts to it.

Do you have an iron deficiency?

If so, then you will definitely need to limit your consumption of green tea.


Because of the catechins within it. Although these are key when it comes to the tea’s health benefits, large quantities of catechins can sometimes prevent the body from properly absorbing iron from the foods that you eat, resulting in iron deficiency anemia.

For those who are healthy, this should not be a problem, but if you are already suffering from an iron deficiency, then keep your green tea consumption for in between meals, waiting at least an hour after a meal before consuming green tea.

Although it is important to be aware of the side effects of green tea, keep in mind that these are quite rare, and, in most cases, the benefits will greatly outweigh any risks.

Using Green Tea Topically

In addition to drinking green tea, you should also be using it topically on your skin if you really want to experience the very best results.

There are so many different products out there that are formulated with green tea, with more and more becoming available as the benefits of this ingredient become more widely recognized.

Here are a few of the most common products that you will find containing green tea:

  • Toners – green tea toners can actually be quite effective, especially for those who have oily skin or acne
  • Serums – since serums have such a thin and lightweight consistency, the green tea extract within them is able to quickly and easily penetrate into your skin
  • Moisturizers – when a moisturizer is formulated with green tea, it is usually quite gentle and soothing, although you do need to pay attention to its other ingredients too
  • Face masksface masks are one of the best product types for topical green tea use, because these remain on your skin for an extended period of time, giving the green tea more time to really work its magic 

Of course, there is nothing stopping you from using multiple products that contain green tea, and these will maximize the effects that the ingredient will have on your skin.

Green tea affects the skin in many different ways, and has been clinically proven to have the ability to improve the health and appearance of the skin. From reducing fine lines and wrinkles to clearing up acne breakouts, this is a powerful ingredient, but is one that is gentle enough to be used by all skin types.


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