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Skin benefits of green tea

Animal studies showed protection from skin cancer. Both animal and human studies have credibly demonstrated that topical green tea formulations reduce sun damage. Green tea appears to exert sun damage protection by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays. Therefore, green tea may synergistically enhance sun protection when used in addition to a sunscreen.

A small study showed benefits of 2% polyphenone (via a particular type of green tea extract) in papulopustular rosacea. In particular, a significant reduction in inflammatory lesion was reported compared to placebo.

What about wrinkles, skin sag and other signs of aging? Can green tea help? Considering their well-documented antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, topical green tea polyphenols are likely to slow down the development of some signs of aging. Whether green tea can actually diminish wrinkles and skin sag is far more uncertain.

In a 2005 study, forty women with moderate photoaging were randomized to either a combination regimen of 10% green tea cream and 300 mg twice-daily green tea oral supplementation or a placebo regimen for 8 weeks. No significant differences in clinical grading were found between the green tea-treated and placebo groups.

On the other hand, histologic grading of skin biopsies did show significant improvement in the elastic tissue content of treated specimens. More human studies are needed to not only determine the scope of anti-aging skin benefits of green tea but also to work out the optimal usage.