Green Tea for Skin: Antioxidants and Cancer Protection

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Using green tea for skin health is effective as a protector against cancer as well as an overall toning and astringent antioxidant. Being high in antioxidants, green tea is highly useful for sun protective formulas to prevent damage to the skin. I have used green tea extract in cream formulas, as part of the water phase, for the sun protective effects and as an overall antioxidant for preventing premature aging, lines and wrinkles.

There are several studies detailing green tea’s significant preventative effect against each stage of cancer. It contains several polyphenolic antioxidants, and antioxidants are:

“agents that have the ability to prevent oxidant-induced damage to cells”

Oxidants play an important role in the initiation and promotion stages of cancer, as well as decreasing tone and speeding up skin aging.

Using the tumor promoter agent, 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), researchers found that green tea topically or internally actually reduced the tumor or prevented it from growing.

Use a Water-Based Extract

The water extract of green tea is found to be most effective way to extract those medicinal components and therefore is what should be used for the skin. Both internal consumption and topical use are protective to the skin, meaning that you can drink the tea and use either brewed green tea or a green tea water-based extract on the skin.

Green tea is high in tannins, the plant chemicals that cause an astringent, drying effect. Its energy is cool and mildly bitter, making green tea for skin an anti-inflammatory useful for hot and inflamed conditions, such as tumor growth, acne, burns, and rashes.

The tannin content also makes green tea for skin a wonderful toner, gently cleansing and tightening the pores. The tea is useful on its own as a toner and the water-based extract suitable for homemade toners and astringents.

Drinking Green Tea Helps Too!

Of course, drinking green tea will help too. I like Jasmine Green Tea with raw honey. This is my regular tea during the warm season as I find it cooling and refreshing and the sun protective properties are helpful too. I drink 2 to 4 cups per day! In the winter I switch to the warmer chai tea as a regular tonic tea.

Green Tea Production

Green tea is from the plant Camellia sinensis. This is the same plant of the famous black tea, the difference being in the preparation after harvest. Whereas green tea is harvested and the fresh leaves steamed or died at elevated temperatures, black tea is taken through a fermentation process which changes its chemical structure. The leaf and bud are used for making green tea. The chemistry of the dried plant is similar to the fresh leaves, with flavanols, flavonoids and phenolic acids being the most predominant components.


Green Tea and Skin- Anticarcinogenic Effects. Mukhtar, Katiyar & Agarwal. Dept of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University. 1994.

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