A lot has been written about health benefits of green tea. It’s said to help you lose weight and fight heart disease. But did you know what green tea can also treat acne? In this post we’ll look at three ways green tea banishes pimples.
Note that I’m talking about topical application of green tea – not drinking it.
As effective as benzoyl peroxide
Green tea can be as effective as many established acne treatments. Searching published medical studies I found three studies on green tea. All three studies showed over 50% reduction in pimple count just from application of green tea cream.
In one of the studies the researchers noted that green tea was as effective as benzoyl peroxide and antibiotic cream. These are the first-line acne treatments many dermatologists use, so it’s quite impressive that mere green tea cream can match them in effectiveness.
70% reduction in sebum production
Oily skin and excessive sebum production is a problem for many acne patients. This is partly due to genetics. Genes make acne-prone skin sensitive to androgen hormones that increase sebum production.
An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone in to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the skin. DHT acts on the skin glands and increases sebum production and skin cell growth and leads to blocked pores and acne. The conversion of testosterone to DHT is overactive in acne patients.
Components in green tea can block the action of 5-alpha reductase enzyme. This slows the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which then normalizes sebum production.
Unfortunately studies on this are still scarce, but they do show promise. For example, one study showed 70% reduction in sebum production after 8 weeks.
Soothes the skin
Aside from oil production skin inflammation is another problem acne patients have to struggle with. This is partly caused by the same hormones that increase sebum production. Studies have shown that DHT up-regulates the inflammatory response to bacteria on the skin. To put that in other words DHT makes the immune system a bit too trigger happy. This causes inflammation that turns harmless blocked pores into angry, red pimples.
Because green tea hinders DHT conversion in the skin it mitigates this hormonally induced inflammation. Green tea is a potent antioxidant also by its own right. It’s been shown to protect the skin from UV rays and other forms of oxidative damage.
No real side-effects
And here’s a bonus reason for using green tea to treat acne. Many effective acne treatments come with nasty side-effects. For example benzoyl peroxide can irritate the skin. Not so with green tea. All the studies using green tea noted the lack of real side-effects. Some people experienced minor skin itching during the first weeks, but even that settled in time.
You may not think of it as such, but green tea makes for an effective acne treatment. Studies have shown it can cut down pimple count by 50% or more – comparable to many first-line acne treatments. It does this by countering the harmful effect hormones have on acne-prone skin, such as excess sebum production and inflammation. And it can do all this with few to none side-effects.
While green tea alone may not be enough to clear your skin it’s an important part of a comprehensive acne treatment program. And combined with diet and lifestyle changes that address the internal causes of acne it can make a huge difference on your skin.
- Topical therapy of acne vulgaris using 2% tea lotion in comparison with 5% zinc sulphate solution (PDF)
- The efficacy of topical 2% green tea lotion in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris
- Treatment of acne vulgaris with 2% topical tea lotion (PDF)
- Outcomes of 3% green tea emulsion on skin sebum production in male volunteers (PDF)
- Skin photoprotection by green tea: antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects
- Green tea polyphenolic antioxidants and skin photoprotection (Review)
- Polyphenolic antioxidant (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate from green tea reduces UVB-induced inflammatory responses and infiltration of leukocytes in human skin
Read more at http://www.acneeinstein.com/