Have you ever wondered why so many skincare products contain green tea?
From facial cleansers and toners to moisturizers and treatments for dark circles, it seems like you can find green tea in anything promising to transform your skin health. But is this just a marketing gimmick companies are using to sell their products to health-conscious buyers?
The good news is, using green tea for skin improvements is actually backed by science and highly effective, so it’s not just a sales tactic.
As you’ll see in today’s guide, drinking green tea may be beneficial for minimizing skin damage and slowing down the skin aging process. So we’ll explore why that is before showing you how to use green tea topically for more glowing, radiant skin.
But first, let’s begin with a fact most tea drinkers don’t know about:
Why Tea is Good for Skin Health
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our guide on the best teas for skin health, you may have missed why drinking tea can be so fantastic for your complexion. To recap:
Teas add an incredible amount of hydration to your daily water intake, which can help discourage your skin from drying out and feeling tight. This is true for drinking black tea and green tea (since both tea leaves come from the same Camellia Sinensis tea plant). Helping you hydrate from the inside out may add more moisture to your skin to slow down wrinkle formation.
Tea leaves are also loaded with polyphenols, a type of powerful antioxidant that’s known for being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. When it comes to skin health, black and green tea polyphenols may help combat sebum production (which can lead to clogged pores and acne) by controlling excess oil.
Polyphenols are also helpful for supporting your gut health. Some dermatologists believe helping support your body against skin disorders (like psoriasis) may actually start with a healthy change in diet (i.e., more anti-inflammatory whole foods and less inflammation-causing junk foods).
There’s also epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin in tea boasting antioxidant properties. Everything from a poor diet to pollution has the potential to cause oxidative stress on your cells. Over time, this free radical damage may lead to skin cancer. But antioxidants are one of your cells’ best defenses.
Tannins. In each cup of tea, you’ll find a healthy dose of tannins, a natural plant tissue. When combined with ECGC, tannins help defend your skin cells from harmful free radicals that can have a negative effect on your skin health.
All these benefits come from drinking tea in general. When we talk about green tea, you score all these benefits, plus the ones mentioned next.
Why Green Tea is Good for Skin Health
There are three good reasons green tea is often added to skincare products geared towards improving skin health:
Green tea is packed with anti-inflammatory properties
Studies in dermatology have shown that green tea helps support overall skin health by supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammation response. This may lead to less puffiness and redness, which may help you minimize puffy eyes and improve your skin tone over time (1).
Green tea may help protect your skin from sun damage
When green tea was added topically to traditional sun protection, it was helpful for fending off sun damage from ultraviolet rays, and even lessened the inflammatory response that comes from exposure to UV rays (2)(3).
Green tea may support decreased oil production
As mentioned earlier, this can in turn lead to fewer clogged pores (such as blackheads and whiteheads) and breakouts. That’s why green tea products are often perfect for combination or oily skin (4).
With so many positive skin benefits of green tea, the next question becomes:
Which Type of Green Tea is Best for Skin?
There are five main types of green tea: Sencha, Gyokuro, Matcha, Longjing, and Gunpowder. Japanese green tea varieties, such as Genmaicha, Kukicha, Houjicha, Kabusecha, Shincha, and Bancha, are also worth considering.
All these green teas could work well for skin health, but that’s only if they’re from high-quality sources. Make sure to choose an organic green tea that’s harvested using the least amount of processing and screened for toxins.
A green tea that checks those boxes will not have any added chemicals, pesticides, or toxins that may be harmful to your skin health and overall well-being.
With that being said, we do have a favorite green tea if you have to start with just one:
Matcha Makes an Excellent Starting Place to Improve Your Skin Health
Matcha is a favorite when it comes to using green tea for skin health because it’s so minimally processed.
These green tea leaves are ground whole and mixed with water or milk rather than steeped in hot water and discarded like other forms of tea. That’s why matcha is stronger in both flavor and health benefits.
Regular consumption of matcha green tea has been shown to lessen the damage caused by free radicals. It can also lead to enhanced antioxidant activity levels, making it ideal for skin health.
Choosing ceremonial grade matcha that’s organic, free from toxins, and grown in the shade before it’s harvested ensures that you get a high-quality version that delivers results.
How Much Green Tea Should I Drink For Skin Health?
While studies haven’t shown the exact amount of tea you should drink for skin health, it’s safe to say you should consume at least one cup of green tea per day (at a minimum). However, you may want to aim for three to five cups to reap the highest benefits.
Most tea drinkers steep green tea bags throughout the day. But if you’re pressed for time, you can opt for green tea crystals, which pack those three-to-five cups in one portable packet you can easily mix in hot or cold water. You can even use them in the homemade skin health remedies we’re about to share next.
How Can I Use Green Tea on My Face?
There are three ways you can use green tea (or any other type of tea) in your skincare routine. As we dished in our best teas for skin health guide, you can:
1. Use Green Tea Crystals to Create a Face Mask or Scrub
Exfoliators help slough away dead skin cells to increase cell turnover and reduce the chances of blemishes from product build-up and clogged pores.
To create a spa-quality face mask, mix your green tea crystals with a touch of olive oil or raw, unpasteurized honey. Gently apply this to your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes. When the time’s up, gently wipe the mask off with warm water and a clean towel.
To create an invigorating and refreshing green tea facial scrub, mix your green tea crystals with a bit of olive oil, raw, unpasteurized honey, and coarse sugar (the more you add, the more exfoliation you’ll have). Scrub this mix on your face in small circular motions to remove dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and more.
If your skin is already irritated, red, or inflamed, we suggest the softer green tea mask instead of agitating it further with the sugar exfoliate. Ditto this for sensitive skin types.
Whichever you choose, remember to follow up your face mask or scrub with a moisturizing lotion containing aloe or vitamin E. This will replenish the oil you removed with nourishing skin hydrators instead. You can also follow up with a homemade spray moisturizer:
2. Create a Topical Spray Toner Using Green Tea
It’s super easy to create a moisturizing green tea toner spray that’s both refreshing and hydrating. This time all you have to do is:
Pour your green tea crystals in a glass spray bottle filled with purified water. Add 8-10 drops of your favorite carrier oil (jojoba, tea tree, argan). Give it a good shake, then mist the mix all over your face and neck.
You can use this toner both day and night after your cleanser, or every other day in combination with your regular astringent. It’s also wonderful anytime your skin feels dry and in need of a good blast of hydration.
Continue using this spray daily for 15-30 days at a minimum, and you may see smoother, more hydrated skin, as one study found when green tea was used cosmetically for that long (5).
Smoother, well-hydrated skin is the best remedy for anti-aging and helping to keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay.
3. Add a Layer of Green Tea to Your Non-Toxic Sunscreen
That same green tea toner spray can be used as an extra layer of protection over your non-toxic sunscreen. As one study showed, both green tea extract and white tea extract are beneficial for keeping sunburns away when used with traditional sunscreens (6).
Simply apply your non-toxic sunscreen as usual, then spritz on your homemade green tea toner spray before heading outside.
Use Green Tea for Skin Health and Overall Wellness Today
Whether you decide to use green tea topically to improve your skin health or plan to drink it daily to upgrade your skin from the inside out, it’s clear that doing so will lead to positive benefits sans harmful side effects.
The key is to choose a high-quality green tea that’s been certified organic and is free of toxins. Consume enough or use enough, and your complexion will glow more radiant and appear more youthful each day.