Tea is an ancient beverage, well known for its stimulant properties, which are due to its caffeine content. Tea also has many health benefits with green tea proving the most valuable form of tea when it comes to boosting overall health as well as treating specific conditions.
Green tea is absolutely loaded with antioxidants and nutrients which have powerful healing effects on the body. It is green tea’s high levels of polyphenols which gives it its powerful antioxidant properties.
Green tea’s main antioxidant is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied for its effectiveness in treating various diseases and could be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.
Antioxidants reduce the formation of free radicals in the body and protect cells from damage. Free radicals are known to play a role in the aging process and are implicated in the development of many diseases.
Among green tea’s impressive box of tricks are some wonderful benefits for your skin and hair. On your skin it can help with everything from stubborn acne to dark circles under your eyes. And it can make hair soft, shiny and full and health.
You don’t need to go out and buy expensive creams and lotions containing green tea, all you need are regular green tea bags and some effective recipes.
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, which is the same plant that regular black tea comes from. The difference between the two comes from the way in which the leaves are processed.
Green tea is produced by heating the leaves (usually by steaming) immediately after picking. This heat stops the oxidation of the leaves, and maintains their green color, while preserving the tea’s health giving properties.
The leaves used to produce black tea however are encouraged to oxidize. The leaves are rolled, crushed or torn to help the oxidation process along. The leaves are then dried out and as they dry they turn from green to black. The oxidation process destroys the tea’s antioxidant properties.
Green tea varies in quality and composition depending on where it was grown and what environmental conditions it was exposed to. Always choose a high quality tea to ensure that you get the most health benefits. You should also know that some lower quality brands can contain high levels of fluoride, which may be a concern for you.
1. Reduces Puffy Eyes And Dark Circles With A Green Tea Compress
Green tea has two ingredients that work wonders on puffy tired eyes. Caffeine and tannins.
Caffeine shrinks the blood vessels in your skin, reducing swelling and puffiness. The constricted blood vessels also reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Tannins are responsible for the tea’s color and its astringent flavor. This astringency constricts the capillaries and blood vessels and enhances the effects of the caffeine.
Additionally, the vitamin K in green tea helps lighten dark circles under the eyes.
For this eye treatment you’ll need, two green tea bags.
Boil water and pour it into two cups. Place a green tea bag in each cup and leave them to steep for a couple of minutes. All we’re doing here is making sure that the tea gets nice and moist, because dry tea won’t work.
Once the tea bags are ready, take them out of the cups and squeeze out the excess water. Use the back of a spoon to do this so that you don’t burn your fingers. Pop the tea bags onto a plate and leave them to cool down. You want the bags to be about room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, you can put the tea bags in the freezer for a few minutes to speed thing up.
Now take your bags, lay back and place one tea bag onto each closed eye. Press it gently down onto your skin. Leave the green tea to work its magic for about ten minutes. During this time occasionally press the tea bags to make sure that they maintain good contact with your skin.
Once ten minutes is up, take the bags off and you’re all set. There’s no need to wash your eyes, but you should pat your skin dry and apply a touch of moisturizer because tannins can be drying.
Another way to use green tea to calm puffiness and reduce dark circles is to brew a cup of green tea with 2 tea bags. Let it steep for several hours, by which time all of the antioxidants and tannins will have infused into the water. Remove the tea, bags and soak 2 cotton balls or pads in the liquid. Then lie back and place them over your eyes.
2. Helps To Fight Acne And Restore Your Skin’s Good Looks
When your skin’s sebaceous glands go into overdrive and produce too much sebum, the result is oil clogged pores that attract dirt, and provide a smorgasbord for bacteria to feed on. The bacteria that causes acne is called Propionibacterium acnes.
There are a number of reason why your skin can produce too much sebum – poor hygiene, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy and certain medications – but whatever the cause you’ll want to find a way to clear up this painful and unsightly condition fast.
While there are a vast number of commercial skin preparations available that claim to treat acne, many of them are ineffective at best and some of them can cause major irritation and lasting damage to your skin. It’s a far better idea to use a natural and safe product, and green tea ticks all the boxes for acne control.
Green tea can help you to eradicate acne and get your skin back to normal. Just look at this impressive array of ways that green tea fights acne for you
- Green tea reduces the production of sebum by 50%.
- It has antibacterial properties which help to kill Propionibacterium acnes
- Green tea’s 6 active catechins – epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, epicatechin, gallocatechin, epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) prevent cell damage and protect against the free radicals that contribute to the development of acne.
- Green tea helps to regulate insulin levels and balance hormones, both of which make acne worse.
- Green tea helps to prevent new acne scarring and improves the appearance of existing scars.
- Scientific studies have shown that drinking three or four cups of green tea a day helps to reduce hormonal acne.
- Green tea contains antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, selenium, zinc, manganese, and chromium, which are all necessary for healthy skin.
- It protects the skin from damaging UV radiation which helps to reduce the severity of acne scarring.
- When acne is caused by high blood pressure or diabetes, consumption of green tea can help to eradicate the acne by eradicating the cause. Excess insulin production causes increased sebum production. Green tea is very effective in regulating insulin levels. Drinking 6 cups of green tea a day has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes up to 33%.
- The ECGC in green tea limits the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which is a hormone that contributes to acne.
- The powerful antioxidant EGCG helps to reduce the irritation and inflammation caused by skin eruptions. Reducing redness and soothing sore skin.
- Its Polyphenolic antioxidants which are also present in some fruits and berries fight against a wide range of opportunistic microbes.
Impressive, no? The same mechanisms that treat acne will also get rid of spots and pimples.
To benefit from green tea’s impressive acne fighting abilities you need to use it inside and out. That means making it your main drink each day. When you substitute green tea for your usual juices, sodas and sugar packed coffees, you eliminate unbalancing substances from your diet and benefit from all of the goodness of green tea.
Fruit juices (yep these are packed with fructose which is fruit sugar), sodas and any other drinks containing sugar, cause inflammation and wreak havoc with blood sugar levels. Your body has to keep your blood sugar levels within a very tight range, it does this by producing insulin to pull sugar out of the blood and pack it away in your fat stores. More sugar to deal with means more insulin. And as we’ve already seen increased insulin production is associated with acne.
So ditch the problematic sugar filled drinks and switch to green tea for hydration. You should aim to drink at least 8 cups a day. Green tea is delicious as a cold beverage too. I like to make a really strong infusion with 4 teabags steeped for a couple of hours and then use that as a concentrate to make drinks. I dilute the concentrate with chilled sparkling water. It’s really good!
For topical application you can make a skin treatment in the same way as I described for making an eye treatment and apply it to your skin with cotton pads, but for the best results the green tea needs to spend a lot longer on your skin.
The way to achieve this is to make it an ingredient in a nourishing face mask.
For this recipe we’re going to combine green tea with a fantastic all natural skin softener that comes with some potent antimicrobial properties of its own. Honey!
Brew a strong cup of green tea with 3 teabags. Leave to steep for at least one hour. Squeeze the teabags to get every last drop of goodness out. Now take 3 tablespoons of honey in a bowl and pour in a little of the green tea, stir well then add some more. Stop adding green tea before the mixture gets too runny. It needs to be at the right consistency to sit on your skin without sliding off.
Apply to your face, or wherever you have troublesome acne and leave for one hour. Then wash with cool water. You shouldn’t need to moisturize because honey will have hydrated your skin to perfection.
Steep a green tea bag in boiling water for 3 minutes to ensure that the leaves are nice and moist. Remove the bag and let it cool to room temperature. Tear the bag open and remove the leaves. Take 2 tablespoons of honey and mix with the leaves.
Apply to your skin and leave for one hour, then rinse and pat dry.
3. Exfoliating Body Scrub For Sensitive Skin
Green tea leaves make the perfect gentle exfoliator for sensitive skin. Of course you can use this whatever your skin type, but it’s often difficult to find something gentle enough for sensitive skin.
The antioxidant properties of green tea will also reduce inflammation and blemishes at the same time as they gently lift off dead skin cells, leaving you with soft, renewed skin.
For dry skin
Open 2 green tea bags and remove the dry leaves. Mix with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and rub over your face or body using circular motions and paying special attention to any rough patches of skin on your elbows or knees. Shower off then pat skin dry.
For oily skin
Use 2 green tea bags and mix the dry leaves with 2-3 tablespoons of natural yogurt. Apply to your skin with circular motions, then shower off and pat skin dry.
4. Green Tea Hair Rinse
Green tea is a good source of panthenol, which is an ingredient you’ll find in shampoos and conditioners to strengthen hair. It also contains an amino acid called theanine which works with the panthenol to strengthen the hair shaft and stop split ends from forming.
Green tea also seals in moisture and adds a wonderful shine and luster to hair.
The natural vitamin C present in green tea helps to protect your hair and scalp from UV damage. And as if those benefits weren’t enough, green tea can also help to bring relief from dandruff.
For the rinse you’ll need
- 1 green tea bag
- 2 cups of boiling water
- 1 clove (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
- 2 inch strip of orange peel (optional)
Place all of the dry ingredients into a jug, then pour the 2 cups of water over and leave to steep for 30 minutes. Then strain the liquid and save it to use after you shampoo. Work into your scalp and hair, massages for 3-5 minutes then rinse with more water.
For easier application you can use a squeeze bottle with a nozzle.
5. Facial Toner
Green tea is perfect to use after you have finished cleansing your skin. It will remove the last traces of cleanser and leave your skin fresh and invigorated.
Use the same recipe as for the hair rinse above.
Use a liberal amount on a cotton wall pad and wipe over your skin. Use enough to really wet your skin and let it soak in for a few minutes, you can even help it along by gently massaging with your fingers. The green tea will work to unclog your pores, kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Or add it to a spritz bottle and use to freshen up your skin throughout the day.
6. Soothe Sunburned Skin
Green tea works really well as an after sun tonic and takes the heat out of burnt skin while reducing inflammation.
Make an infusion of green tea with 2 teabags in one cup of boiling water. Leave to cool in the fridge for one hour. Use the tea bags to very gently dab the green tea liquid onto the affected parts of your skin. Let it dry. You can repeat as often as you need to obtain relief.
7. Reduce Hair Loss
Green tea contains B vitamins and the antioxidant EGCG which both work to strengthen your hair follicle. Drinking the tea or applying it directly to your scalp will help to stimulate hair growth.
In addition, applying green tea directly to the scalp results in a significant elongation of the hair follicle.
Because green tea contains DHT blockers (DHT is one of the main causes of baldness) it can help to prevent hair loss. And unlike chemical treatments green tea has no unpleasant side effects.
Drink plenty of green tea to get it working for you from the inside, and also apply a freshly brewed and cooled, green tea tonic to your hair.
Use 3 tea bags to make the tea, then squeeze them out well. Apply to your hair and massage in. Cover with a shower cap and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing out.
8. Foot Soak
Green tea is a lovely refreshing soak for hot tired feet. It softens rough skin and deals with any nasty foot fungus.
Make a strong brew of green tea with 4 tea bags. Then add to a bowl of warm or cool water – your choice. Put the bags in as well. Soak your feet for as long as you like. If you have athlete’s foot or toenail fungus, keep a little of the tea to one side to use after you finish soaking your feet. Dip pieces of cotton ball into the liquid and place in between your toes or wipe over affected toenails. Leave for half an hour then remove and dry your skin really well.