Our friends at innisfree teach us about the top green tea benefits for skin. Plus: how to shop for the best products that pack this antioxidant-rich powerhouse.
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks around. It’s championed in both Eastern and Western diets, boasting health benefits that extend to your heart, cognition, and more. But when it comes to skin health specifically, are there benefits to applying it?
To better understand what green tea does for your skin, we spoke with Michelle Shieh. She’s the scientific communications manager at innisfree, a leading K-beauty brand especially known for their potent, protective green tea skincare products.
Is green tea good for your skin?
The evidence—both scientific and anecdotal—points to a resounding yes.
In fact, 75-year-old designer Norma Kamali admits that one of the secrets to her positively ageless beauty is applying a green-tea-soaked compress directly on her face.
Whether you’re into this DIY approach or are curious about green tea skincare products, there’s a lot to learn about this herbal hero.
5 Green Tea Benefits for Skin
From nourishing hydration to pro-aging effects, here are some of the top benefits of green tea for your skin.
1. Green Tea Protects Against Environmental Stressors
To begin, green tea (aka Camellia sinensis) is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants, among many things, are vital to neutralize damaging free radicals, which can result from daily environmental stressors such as UV radiation, smoke, and pollution.
Michelle explains that green tea is also packed with amino acids and special polyphenols called catechins. “Catechins are a type of phenolic compounds very abundant in tea, which are recognized to have potent antioxidant activities,” she explains.
More specifically, she says that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) “is one of the most precious types of catechins in green teas,” which solidifies its all-star antioxidant status.
2. Green Tea Minimizes Signs of Aging
Also thanks to its robust antioxidant profile, green tea helps promote DNA repair by staving off oxidative damage, which can lead to premature signs of aging.
Further, studies suggest that green tea may boost collagen and elastin content in your skin, thus promoting anti-wrinkle effects.
On top of that, green tea can also fight against photoaging (including age spots and hyperpigmentation) that can result from UV damage.
3. Green Tea Is a Potent Hydrator
Another major benefit of green tea for skin is that it’s a hydration powerhouse.
Michelle calls out green tea seed oil in particular “for its high concentration of nourishing and moisturizing properties.” She adds that it’s also rich in skin saviors vitamin E and fatty acids, which can strengthen your moisture barrier.
4. Green Tea Brightens Your Skin
When it comes to the pillars of skin health, can you name a better duo than hydration and glow? Conveniently, green tea amplifies both.
Once again, we can chalk up green tea’s glow-getting effects on its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory profile. By fighting against skin cell damage, green tea not only protects but also brightens your skin in the process.
5. Green Tea Promotes a Clear Complexion
Lastly, if you struggle with excess oil or breakouts, green tea is a worthy addition to your skincare routine.
Green tea helps to unclog your pores by mitigating excessive sebum production. Plus, since it’s soothing, it’s less likely to provoke irritation or lead to further breakouts (which can sometimes result from using harsh ingredients).
Is green tea skincare safe for everyone?
Experts assure that green tea has no known side effects. So unless you have a green tea sensitivity, consider it completely safe to use for your skin.
Better yet, green tea can benefit pretty much all skin types and conditions. Fortunately, it’s gentle enough even for those with sensitive, reactive skin.
Drinking vs. Applying
Curious if there’s a difference between drinking and applying green tea for skin benefits?
While there’s a lack of research comparing one versus the other, both forms have countless merits. For that reason, feel free to opt for either—or even better, try both!
How to Choose the Best Green Tea Skincare Product
You can find green tea in skincare staples like cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and masks.
However, when shopping around, know that several factors impact how beneficial and effective a green tea skincare product can be.
When possible, look for a clean formulation that’s free from parabens, mineral oil, and other potentially hazardous ingredients.
You may also want to opt for a product that uses certified organic green tea.
Look for Quality Formulations
On a similar note, it’s worth doing a bit of digging to learn how the product is formulated.
“Not only does the quality and variety of the green teas used matter, but the extraction methods as well,” Michelle shares. “The goal is to maximize the content of beneficial components—like antioxidants and amino acids—making sure they’re amplified through the process and are protected from being destroyed during extraction.”
Similar to fellow antioxidant vitamin C, green tea is difficult to formulate since it’s typically unstable. But as Michelle explains, innisfree follows a special process to reap the biggest benefits with their bestselling Intensive Hydrating Serum.
While other brands create a classic infusion, innisfree uses a special Double Squeeze Method to retrieve maximum nutrients and actives from green tea leaves. Further, Michelle explains, the serum’s 16 amino acids “specifically help with the Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) of the skin for hydration from within.”
Try Out Different Green Tea Extracts
Some of the most potent green tea skincare products will combine different components of the plant to maximize results. For instance, innisfree’s Intensive Hydrating Serum uses both green tea water and green tea seed oil.
“Green tea water instantly quenches the skin with deep hydration, and green tea seed oil helps retain long-lasting moisture,” Michelle explains.
The final result of this winning combo? Soft, smooth, glowing skin.