You know that drinking certain kinds of tea can be good for your health—but did you know that some teas also have skin benefits? Tea, which is rich in polyphenols (molecules that have antioxidant properties), can help keep your skin hydrated, reverse the effects of UV damage, and reduce inflammation. Pretty amazing, right? While drinking tea may have a positive impact on your complexion, applying products infused with tea extracts can be beneficial, too. Here, 4 teas with skin superpowers:
Too much sun can be damaging to the skin and cause early signs of aging. Studies have shown that drinking green tea may actually help reduce your risk of skin cancer (although you still have to wear SPF 30 daily, of course). Renee Snyder, MD, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of cosmetics brand W3LL PEOPLE, says the catechins (antioxidants that may prevent cell damage) in green tea can decrease inflammation associated with aging, as well as protect against sunburns and potentially long-term UV damage.
“The free radicals that develop in the body as a result of excessive UV exposure can wreck havoc on healthy skin cells,” says Adina Grigore, author of The Skin Cleanse and founder of S. W. Basics, an all-natural, sustainable skin-care line. Polyphenols [in tea] are anti-inflammatory and have DNA repair capabilities, which can correct cellular mutations caused by free radicals.”
Aside from enjoying a cup every morning, you can also use products with green tea extract. Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, co-director of skin laser at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, recommends Replenix CF Green Tea Antioxidant Moisturizing Lotion, which contains 90% of green tea’s polyphenols to help prevent premature signs of aging and hydrate dry, patchy skin—particularly eczema-prone areas. One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum is another good option—it contains green tea oil, pumpkin seed oil, and sea buckthorn oil to deeply moisturize skin.
Want to keep your skin looking youthful? You might want to give yerba maté tea, also known as maté, a sip. It’s loaded with antioxidants, which help prevent and repair skin damage caused by free radicals. The drink is made from the dried leaves of the yerba maté plant found in Central and South America and also contains high levels of caffeine.
“Yerba maté is a traditional treatment for everything from fatigue to appetite control to a weakened immune system,” says Snyder. “It contains a long list of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin B, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and zinc.”
If you want to experiment with yerba maté tea skin-care products, Goodal Phytowash Yerba Maté Cleansing Foam deep-cleans pores, washing away dirt, grime, and makeup. In addition to yerba maté, the product also features acai berry extract and andiroba seed oil to help reduce the appearance of pores and prevent acne.
Out of all the herbal teas, chamomile is by far the most popular for use in treating skin issues topically; it’s been used for years to help relieve dry, patchy skin and even acne. “Chamomile can be used to help treat rashes and inflammatory skin conditions,” says Snyder. “It possesses flavonoids that have a strong inhibitory effect on free radicals.” Jurlique Chamomile Soothing Mist is ideal for sensitive skin and can help calm a red complexion.
Also known as red tea, rooibos is made from a South African red bush and is caffeine-free, so it’s great for women who are expecting and want to limit their caffeine intake. What’s more, it contains aspalathin and nothofagin, two chemical compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. “The flavonoids in rooibos have [been] shown to possess anti-inflammatory functions, which makes it useful for treating skin conditions like rosacea or acne,” says Snyder.