In this article we’ll look at the possible advantages and disadvantages of green tea for skin. Everyone knows that drinking green tea can benefit your health, but not many people know it can also be a natural skin lightener. I have had good results with green tea, and I will explain exactly how it works to help your skin.
So how does green tea help lighten the skin?
Green tea contains polyphenols and caffeine, which cause our skin to release melanin (a pigment, similar to hair color) in response to the stress caused by sunlight. When we are exposed to sunlight, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light breaks down the chemicals in our skin. This chemical breakdown causes a change in melanin production and causes more melanin cells to form near the surface of the skin. This melanin causes the skin to have a tan color. The more sun exposure we get, the darker our skin becomes. On the other hand, the less sun exposure we get, the lighter our skin becomes – or at least it should do if we use green tea correctly.
So how can green tea help if you’re following a complete skincare routine? Well, when your skin produces more melanin due to exposure to UV light (as discussed above), we can stop the production of melanin by using green tea before going out into the sun. Green tea contains polyphenols that inhibit the production of melanin. As a result, we can stop our skin from producing more melanin and therefore lighten our skin.
This happens because UV light breaks down the chemicals in our skin which causes changes in the production of melanin. The body protects itself from this damage by producing more melanin to protect itself. The melanin produced in response to the UV light is more concentrated than usual and settles around our skin cells.
Polyphenols in green tea (and other plants) inhibit the production of melanin by blocking an enzyme called tyrosinase. Tyrosinase converts a chemical called dopamine into melanin by activating another enzyme called tyrosine. By blocking tyrosine, polyphenols can stop the production of melanin.
The main polyphenols found in green tea are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC). EGCG is the most abundant polyphenol in green tea. It has been shown to be the strongest antioxidant in green tea. EGCG can block tyrosinase, prevent production of melanin, and prevent the oxidation of other substances such as vitamin C.
Green tea also contains caffeine, which prevents UV light damage by stimulating production of the skin’s natural antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that protects skin cells from the damaging effects of UV light and thus helps to prevent the breakdown of our skin’s chemicals that cause melanin production. Glutathione also stimulates production of another type of antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is an enzyme that helps to neutralize free radicals by converting them into harmless compounds.
Takeaway: Green tea lightens skin by blocking the enzyme tyrosinase, which converts a chemical called dopamine into melanin. Green tea also contains polyphenols and caffeine, which block the production of melanin and stimulate the production of our skin’s natural antioxidants that protect it from damage.