Pop goes the…pimple. If you find yourself heaving heavily at the thought of it, you’re probably like the rest of us skin-troubled folk.
Our faces are (unadmittedly so) important to us. How we look (tired and old or fresh and youthful) can cause us to have many a sleepless nights and troubled days. Aging before you numerically do or having the exact opposite of clear, healthy skin is not a problem that you need to live with. You can brew your way through it. Not beer, we’re talking tea.
Know your teas before you discuss tea.
Tea is a popular beverage obtained by infusing dried leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis in hot water. However, now (and in the references below) it is used for any herbal infusion, not just of Camellia sinensis.
Depending on the way Camellia sinensis (the ‘normal’ tea) leaves are harvested and the extent to which they are processed, different colors of tea are obtained—black, green, and white. But note, the more processed the leaves, the lesser is its catechin (polyphenols that fight free radicals) content. Black being the most processed and white being the least.
Don’t get overwhelmed. That was just some background info.
Dealing with the two major problems:
Collagen and elastin breakdown: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are enzymes that break down elastin and collagen, the glue that holds the skin firmly together. Some MMP activity is required and is normal. But excess activity is one of the factors that contribute to visible aging (wrinkles and sagging skin). So, inhibiting MMP activity can make a huge difference.
Free radicals: Free radicals damage cells and causes skin pores to get blocked with dead cell debris and other toxins. Flavonoids are plant compounds that have been proved to be strong antioxidants. Some types of tea have been found to be rich in flavonoids and can, thus, be used as convenient solution to this ‘radical’ problem. Popular dietary flavonoids include catechin, quercetin, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).1(Try and hold on to that.)
Cataloguing Our Expectations
Acne, acne scars, sun damage, wrinkles, sagging skin, allergic reactions, dark circles, dryness, skin cancer,…
The list goes on.
- You want more collagen and elastin to tighten your skin and prevent aging (inhibition of excess MMP activity is one way).
- You want cell-damaging free radicals to be neutralized and bacteria to be killed to prevent acne.
- You want to suppress inflammation (think: redness/swelling of a pimple).
- You want your skin protected from the damaging UVB radiations of the sun (again free radicals play a role).
1. Green tea:
From the plant Camellia sinensis
You have your colleague sipping on it all day long, your teenage daughter guzzling it down like water, and even your supermarket offering attractive bulk offers on it. Green tea’s famous catechin, EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is a strong antioxidant.2 This makes it useful in sun protection and acne prevention.34 Green tea also moisturizes the skin.5
2. White tea:
From the plant Camellia sinensis
White tea has similar properties as those of green tea.
Being the least processed of the black-green-white trio, it has the highest catechin content. It offers protection from free radicals and sun damage, suppresses inflammation, and inhibits MMPs.6
3. Red tea or rooibos tea:
From the plant Aspalathus Iinearis
Red tea is rich in antioxidants including vitamin C (you probably already know how good it is for the skin) and potent polyphenols like aspalathin, quercetin, and nothofagin. 78
Fighting off those obstinate free radicals is what it flamboyantly does.
It is also rich in AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and zinc. AHAs nudge dead skin cells off your face while zinc helps build cell membranes and heal injured tissue.
Because red tea is caffeine free (unlike most of the other types of tea), it is a great alternative for those who make instant brain connections between ‘caffeine’ and ‘bad for health.’
This also means you can sip on a nice red cuppa before bedtime without having to worry about staying up all night.
4. Chamomile (or German Chamomile) tea:
From the plant Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile tea’s active ingredients are α-bisabolol, apigenin, chamazulene, and quercetin.
α-Bisabolol has analgesic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing, and anticancer activities.9 10 It also lightens the skin, reducing your stress of being superfluously criticised by others (and yourself).11
Apigenin induces cell suicide in cancer cells. 12
Chmazulene is anti-inflammatory.13
Quercetin. You already know about this one.
Note: A very low percentage of people are allergic to Chamomile. Most allergic reactions are due to contamination with an unsafe version of Chamomile look alike (dog Chamomile). The FDA has categorized it under ‘generally recognized as safe.’
5. Dandelion root tea:
From the plant Taraxacum officinale
Vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc all packed into those nettlesome weeds you are constantly trying to get rid of (that’s if you have a garden…and weeds).14
Diuretic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties make the dandelion root tea a favorite among skin care advisers.15 The liver detoxes the body and gets rid of all the garbage (toxins) illicitly circulating through your system. Dandelion’s high potassium content makes it a natural diuretic, which means that it encourages removal of toxins in urine.16 Anything that supports the liver detox function is considered skin-friendly.
Note: Side effects in highly esensitive individuals may be an upset stomach or a rash. If that happens, just quit taking the herb.
6. Ginger tea:
From the plant Zingiber officinale
The tea prepared using this popular rhizome contains potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds –gingerol and shogaol.1718 It also serves as a diaphoretic, that is it makes you sweat profusely. This help in cleansing the skin pores and keeping your skin clear.
Note: Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones or gallstones or individuals with a bleeding disorder or under blood thinner medication should avoid ginger.
7. Tulsi tea:
From the plant Ocimum tenuiflorum
The active ingredients in tulsi are eugenol, linoleic acid, and ursolic acid.
Eugenol is antimicrobial and, thus, helps prevent acne and skin infections.19
Urosolic acid restores elasticity in the skin and removes wrinkles. This helps the skin stay healthy and supple.20
Tulsi tea also helps balance your hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol.21 That’s elimination of another major trigger of acne.
That got your attention back, didn’t it?
What are you waiting for? Sip your troubles away.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Julie A. Evans and Elizabeth J. Johnson. The Role of Phytonutrients in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2010.|
|2.||↑||Patricia OyetakinWhite, Heather Tribout, Elma Baron. Protective Mechanisms of Green Tea Polyphenols in Skin. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012.|
|3.||↑||Santosh K. Katiyar, Farrukh Afaq, Anaibelith Perez and Hasan Mukhtar. Green tea polyphenol (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate treatment of human skin inhibits ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative stress. Carcinogenesis. 2000.|
|4.||↑||Elsaie ML , Abdelhamid MF, Elsaaiee LT, Emam HM. The efficacy of topical 2% green tea lotion in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris.Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2009.[/ref[ Green tea doesn’t block harmful radiation of the sun. It, instead, slows down and reverses its damaging effects. EGCG also inhibits MMPs, retarding the entire aging process.[ref]Jong-Wan Park, Young-Ho Jang, Jin-Mo Kim, Hyung Lee, Weon-Kyun Park, Man-Bin Lim, Yeun-Kyung Chu, Eng H. Lo, Seong-Ryong Lee. Green tea polyphenol (–)-epigallocatechin gallate reduces neuronal cell damage and up-regulation of MMP-9 activity in hippocampal CA1 and CA2 areas following transient global cerebral ischemia. Journal of Neuroscience research. 2008.|
|5.||↑||Gianeti MD, Mercurio DG, Campos PM. The use of green tea extract in cosmetic formulations: not only an antioxidant active ingredient. Dermatol Ther. 2013.|
|6.||↑||Tamsyn SA Thring, Pauline Hili and Declan P Naughton. Anti-collagenase, anti-elastase and anti-oxidant activities of extracts from 21 plants. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2009.|
|7.||↑||Jane Tiedtke, Dr Olaf Marks. Rooibos – The New “White Tea” For Hair And Skin Care. 2002.|
|8.||↑||Fabiana T.M.C. Vicentini, Thaís R.M. Simi, et. al. Quercetin in w/o microemulsion: In vitro and in vivo skin penetration and efficacy against UVB-induced skin damages evaluated in vivo. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. 2008|
|9.||↑||Guy P. P. KamatouAlvaro M. Viljoen. A Review of the Application and Pharmacological Properties of α-Bisabolol and α-Bisabolol-Rich Oils. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. 2010.|
|10.||↑||K. Maurya, Anil; Singh, Monika; Dubey, Vijaya; Srivastava, Suchita; Luqman, Suaib; U. Bawankule, Dnyaneshwar. α-(-)-bisabolol Reduces Pro-inflammatory Cytokine Production and Ameliorates Skin Inflammation. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. 2014.|
|11.||↑||J. Lee, H. Jun, E. Jung, J. Ha, D. Park. Whitening effect of α-bisabolol in Asian women subjects. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2010.|
|12, 13.||↑||Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, Sanjay Gupta. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Report. 2011.|
|14.||↑||University of Maryland Medical Center. Dandelion.|
|15.||↑||Chatterjee SJ, Ovadje P, Mousa M, Hamm C, Pandey S. The efficacy of dandelion root extract in inducing apoptosis in drug-resistant human melanoma cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011.|
|16.||↑||I. Hook, A. McGee & M. Henman. Evaluation of Dandelion for Diuretic Activity and Variation in Potassium Content. International Journal of Pharmacognosy. 1993.|
|17.||↑||Swarnalatha Dugasani, Mallikarjuna Rao Pichika, Vishna Devi Nadarajah, et. al. Comparative antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of -gingerol, -gingerol, -gingerol and -shogaol. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2010.|
|18.||↑||R. Aeschbach, J. Löliger, B.C. Scott, A. Murcia, J. Butler, B. Halliwell, O.I. Aruoma. Antioxidant actions of thymol, carvacrol, 6-gingerol, zingerone and hydroxytyrosol. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 1994.|
|19.||↑||Vivoch J, et al. Evaluation of in vitro antimicrobial activity of Thai basil oils and their micro-emulsion formulas against Propionibacterium acnes. Int Journal of Cosmet Sci 2006.|
|20.||↑||Singh V, amdekar s, Verma O. Ocimum Sanctum (tulsi): Bio-pharmacological Activities. WebmedCentral PHARMACOLOGY. 2010.|
|21.||↑||Panossian A, Wikman G. Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009.|