3 Ways Tea Can Help Keep Your Skin Healthy and Young

 tea for healthy skin

Beautiful skin starts from within. The skin is the largest organ in the human body, composed of three layers. The outermost layer is the epidermis, then comes the dermis, with the deepest layer being subcutaneous tissue. Skin is always in a dynamic state of self-renewal, its cells constantly moving and differentiating.

The skin aging process can be viewed as two distinct mechanisms: internal and external. The deeper layers of the skin are affected by an increased breakdown in internal cellular processes, while the epidermis primarily sustains damage from external factors, the greatest of which is chronic sun exposure. All layers of the skin can suffer from the effects of poor microcirculation in the blood vessels, which is caused by both internal and external factors. 

Let’s examine how hydrating with tea can help mitigate each of these three processes, thus protecting skin from the effects of both internal and external damage and delay the signs of skin aging. Although skin undergoes an aging process like any other human organ, lifestyle and genetics play a huge role in how skin looks and works. [1] 

Enhances Elasticity and Firmness

Bioactive polyphenols in tea can help suppress enzymes called elastase and collagenase, which accelerate the internal skin aging process. These enzymes damage the fiber network of the skin, which normally helps it stay tight and firm. Elastase is produced in the pancreas as part of the digestive process. However, it is also primarily responsible for the breakdown of elastin, the protein which gives the skin’s connective tissue its elasticity. Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the body, acting like the cement, to maintain structure in the cell walls of the skin. And Collagenase, as its name suggests, is a key enzyme in collagen turnover. Collagenase can be made by the body as part of its normal immune response. The ability of catechin polyphenols in tea, especially white tea, to inhibit the action of these two enzymes slows the aging process by supporting important components for the skin. [2] 

Protects Against the Harmful Effects of UV 

Naturally-occurring antioxidants are considered to be one of the most important factors in preventing oxidative stress, the mechanism by which skin is damaged from the sun. Photo-aging is a complex series events which takes place when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This process ultimately leads to an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). It can lead to sunburn, premature aging, and the development of skin cancers. UV radiation is classified as a "complete carcinogen" because it has the properties of both a mutagen (aka a tumor initiator) and a tumor promoter. Keep in mind that the depletion of the ozone layer allows easier penetration of UV radiation to the earth, which in has increased the level of skin cancer we experience as a population.

Chronic exposure to UV radiation will also result in the degradation of the elastin and collagen fibers of the skin’s connective tissue. Tea polyphenols are the most abundant natural source of antioxidants that can help counteract the excess ROS and RNS inside the body, thereby diminishing the impact of photo-aging. [3] [4] 

Supports Skin Nutrition

Microcirculation is integral to the health and protection of the skin, directly affecting the delivery of oxygen and micronutrients throughout the organ. Vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, which is a main protein in blood vessels and skin. Tea polyphenols indirectly contribute to the strength of these blood vessels, by preventing the oxygenation of Vitamin C. Moreover, staying well hydrated and keeping inflammation at a minimum is also key to maintaining the elasticity and strength of micro blood vessels - additional benefits of hydrating with tea polyphenols. [5] [6] Bottom line: Don’t let age determine your skin type. When hydration and antioxidant processes are functioning well on a cellular level, the skin is better equipped to help to keep regenerative mechanisms going, keeping your skin smooth and supple. 



[1] Koch W, et al. Applications of Tea (Camellia sinensis) and its Active Constituents in Cosmetics. Molecules. 2019;24(23):4277. Published 2019 Nov 24.

[2] Tamsyn SA Thring et al. Anti-collagenase, anti-elastase and anti-oxidant activities of extracts from 21 plants, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009, 9:27.

[3] Pandel, R.et al, Skin photoaging and the role of antioxidants in its prevention. ISRN Dermatol. 2013, 930164.

[4] Puglia, C. et al, Protective effect of red orange extract supplementation against UV-induced skin damages: Photoaging and solar lentigines. J. Cosmet. Dermatol. 2014, 13, 151–157. 

[5] Cracowski, Jean-Luc, et al. Human Skin Microcirculation. Comprehensive Physiology, July 2020. 10(3):1105-1154.

[6] Koch, W. Dietary polyphenols-important non-nutrients in the prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases. A systematic review. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1039.

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1 comment
  • Very informative, interesting and well-written article. I had no idea white tea was so beneficial to the skin! I will definitely add it to my routine.

    Alisa on

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