When I was a child, I used to watch my mother and her friends do all sorts of bizarre things in the name of beauty. They would put cucumber slices over their eyes, slather on egg yolk face masks, and even put wet tea bags on their faces.
I remember thinking it all looked ridiculous at the time, but as I grew older, I began to understand their funny habits and the reasons behind them. I later learned that those tea bags were filled with green tea, and it seems like these ladies were ahead of the curve back then.
A little bit of green tea history
A little bit of history -Green tea has been a staple in East Asian cultures for centuries, and its consumption dates back to ancient times. According to legend, green tea was first discovered by Emperor Shen Nong of China over 5,000 years ago.
It is said that the emperor would drink boiling water for health reasons, and one day, some tea leaves from a nearby tree fell into his cup, giving rise to the first cup of green tea.
Over time, green tea became a popular beverage in China and eventually spread to other countries, including Japan and Korea.
Japanese monks were the first to recognize green tea’s health benefits
Japanese monks in the 7th century were among the first to recognize the health benefits of green tea. They learned about green tea’s energizing properties and found that drinking it helped them stay alert during long periods of meditation.
The monks began cultivating their own green tea plants, which eventually led to the development of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Today, green tea is enjoyed around the world and is one of the most widely consumed beverages after water. In addition to its many health benefits, it is also a cultural symbol of hospitality and friendship in many countries.
Health benefits of green tea
In recent years, researchers have continued to uncover new benefits of green tea including:
- acne-fighting properties
- help to lower cholesterol levels
- reduce the risk of heart disease
- aid in weight loss
- help with depression
- treat digestive issues
- used for beauty treatments
Superpower antioxidant called Epigallocatechin Gallate
One of the key ingredients in green tea is a powerful antioxidant called EGCG which is short for Epigallocatechin Gallate.
It is a type of catechin and one of the most abundant polyphenols found in green tea. EGCG has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.
This antioxidant has been shown to protect the skin from environmental stressors, such as UV rays and pollution, and can also help to reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is a major contributor to aging and can cause wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of skin damage.
EGCG also has the ability to prevent collagen breakdown, which is essential for maintaining youthful-looking skin. Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin, and as we age, our bodies produce less of it.
By incorporating green tea into our skincare routines, we can help to protect and preserve our existing collagen, leading to smoother, firmer skin.
Acne prevention and treatment benefits of green tea
In addition to its anti-aging properties, green tea has also been shown to be beneficial for acne-prone skin.
The catechins in green tea have antimicrobial properties, which means that they can help to fight off acne-causing bacteria. Green tea also contains tannins, which can help to reduce the production of excess oil on the skin.
What is green tea?
The leaves from the Camellia sinensis bush make up all tea types, except herbal. The type of tea is determined by the level of oxidation. For example, black and oolong teas have higher oxidation levels, enough to change the flavor of the tea.
Green tea comes from Camellia sinensis buds and leaves that have not yet gone through an oxidation process. The nutritional potency of the leaves and buds is raised as a result of not being oxidized.
The unoxidized status of green tea allows it to be the least processed. For this reason, green tea contains the most beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants.
Cassandra Bankson explains the health benefits of matcha green tea both using it for skin health and drinking it for overall health.
Oily skin conditions, no problem!
Acne breakouts are attracted to oily skin. Sebum is the oily substance that is secreted by the sebaceous glands to moisturize hair and skin. Excess sebum in the skin can clog pores, which encourages the growth of bacteria.
EGCG, the compound found in green tea, is anti-androgenic. This means it has the ability to lower lipid levels, the same lipids that are produced in excess by the sebaceous glands and end up clogging pores, which leads to acne. By reducing sebum production, acne development can be reduced or eliminated.
A 2016 study involving 1,500 participants gave each person 1,500 mg of green tea extract to apply to their faces for 4 weeks. The study concluded that all participants showed a significant reduction in acne and red bumps.
An article found in the Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science reported that the caffeine found in green tea can effectively constrict swelling and inflammation by constricting blood vessels. This can help reduce the puffy nature of acne as well as the perk up a tired looking face.
Green tea as a part of a daily skin and face regime
Consider green tea extract as part of your regime for the prevention of unwanted skin issues. According to a 2003 study, the following facial skin conditions can be treated with the application of green tea extract:
- Acne treatment
- Atopic dermatitis
How to make your own green tea clay-based mask that celebs have been using and not often sharing!
Green Tea Clay Mask Recipe
- 1 tablespoon of green tea leaves or matcha powder
- 2 tablespoons of bentonite clay
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil (optional)
- Brew a cup of green tea using one tablespoon of green tea leaves or matcha powder and let it cool.
- In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of bentonite clay with the cooled green tea until it forms a paste.
- Add one tablespoon of honey and mix until well combined.
- Next, add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and mix again. The apple cider vinegar will help to balance the pH of your skin.
- If desired, add 1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil for its antibacterial properties.
- Slowly add water, one teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
- Apply the mask to your clean face, avoiding the eye area.
- Let the mask sit on your face for 10-15 minutes or until it dries.
- Rinse off the mask with warm water and pat your face dry with a clean towel.
This green tea clay mask can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week in the refrigerator. Before using, allow the mask to come to room temperature and mix well. The mask may separate over time, but a good stir should bring it back to its original consistency.
Concluding thoughts on green tea and the health benefits it has for our skin
So, there you have it. It turns out that my mother and her friends were onto something with their green tea facials all those years ago.
Incorporating green tea into your skincare routine can help to protect your skin from environmental stressors, preserve collagen, and even fight acne.
Who knew that something as simple as a cup of tea could have such powerful benefits for our skin?
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