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11 Weeks to better skin - Week #2 - Green Tea

Tea has been prized throughout human history for its health-promoting effects. In ongoing research, scientists are discovering that the topical use of tea may confer numerous benefits to the skin. Rich in antioxidants, topically applied tea extracts help promote healthy, youthful skin.

The skin’s appearance is determined by its exposure to potentially harmful environmental influences such as sunlight and air pollution, in combination with diet and topical care. Promoting optimal skin appearance and function entails protecting and nourishing the skin as much as possible. It is important that these efforts target skin cells during their earliest stages of development, so that the older cells look and function as best they can. These efforts also play a large part in preventing many dermatological diagnoses, as well as skin cancer, the most common of all cancers.

“If your complexion is red or blotchy, this tea’s anti-inflammatory properties can be soothing,” says Andrea Cambio, a dermatologist in Cape Coral, Florida. “Iced is best because hot beverages can worsen redness and other symptoms of rosacea.” Another benefit: The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea may help prevent the collagen destruction that leads to wrinkles as well as sun-induced DNA damage in the skin (think lines and discoloration), according to some experts. Consider subbing tea for your morning mug of coffee.

There have been a number of encouraging studies of skin benefits of green tea. Green tea appears to exert sun damage protection by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays. Therefore, green tea may synergistically enhance sun protection when used in addition to a sunscreen.

What about wrinkles, skin sag and other signs of aging? Can green tea help? Considering their well-documented antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, topical green tea polyphenols are likely to slow down the development of some signs of aging. Whether green tea can actually diminish wrinkles and skin sag is far more uncertain.

In addition to the beauty benefits of topical tea, natural fruit acids called alpha-hydroxy acids rejuvenate the skin by encouraging the shedding of old, sun-damaged cells on the skin’s surface.32-35 Alpha-hydroxy acids loosen the glue-like substances that bind skin surface cells to each other, allowing the dead skin to peel off and the skin underneath to emerge. This underlying skin has a fresher, healthier look, with a more even color and texture. Exfoliation with alpha-hydroxy acids also allows topical antioxidant agents such as tea to affect the newly exposed cells to greatest benefit.

For optimal effects, frequent use of topical products containing tea (such as X Vienne lotion) in combination with exfoliating agents is recommended. Furthermore, oral supplementation with vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids can help to beautify the skin and boost its antioxidant status. Finally, eating a diet rich in flavonoids such as those found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables will help promote and preserve your skin’s health and beauty.

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