Green tea may be thousands of years old, but it’s the latest superhero skin-care ingredient – and for good reason. Dermatologists such as NYC’s Joshua Zeichner rave about its antioxidant properties, specifically catechin polyphenols, which mop up environmental free-radical damage. Numerous studies have revealed the powerful beauty-enhancing effects of green tea, but it’s not just about brewing up and enjoying a calming cup – it can also be used to great effect in your daily skincare regime.
Reduces Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles
Don’t throw away your used green tea bags! Cool them in the fridge and then lie down for 15 minutes or so with them on your eyelids. The antioxidants and tannins in the tea will work wonders with dark circles and puffy eyes. They act by shrinking the blood vessels underneath the delicate skin around the eyes, which takes down swelling and puffiness. What’s more, the vitamin K contained in green tea helps lighten any dark circles you might have under your eyes.
Green Tea Steam Facial
Green tea leaves can make a wonderful steam facial. The green tea-infused steam gives your skin a powerful hit of antioxidants, which go to battle with free radicals. The steam also helps soothe sensitive skin, detoxify your pores and keep your skin hydrated. It smells wonderful too – helping you to relax while you let the steam do its work.
It’s easy to do. All you need to do is put the kettle on, pour some boiling water into a large bowl with a couple of bags (or some loose) green tea, and cover to allow it to infuse for a little while. Give your face a gentle cleanse and then put a towel over your head to trap the steam in the bowl and stay there for 10 minutes or so. When you’re done, just rinse with cold water. Apparently supermodel Miranda Kerr does this regularly and if it’s good enough for her.
Make a Skin Toner
It’s equally simple to make a green tea toner, which can harness the anti-inflammatory and DNA mending capabilities of its polyphenols. Green tea also helps balance hormonal levels, which is very helpful in the fight against spots (not something that only affects the young).
To make the most straightforward type, just add a green tea bag – or a couple of tablespoons of loose leaves – to a cup of boiling water and allow it to steep for about 5 minutes. Then remove the bag (or strain the liquid), transfer into an airtight receptacle and keep cool. Then just use it as you would any other toner – morning and evening after cleansing. It will stay fresh for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
You can jazz the toner up a bit by adding some lemon juice, honey, vitamin E oil, witch hazel, and baking soda. The honey is anti-aging, the lemon juice helps brighten skin tone, the witch hazel aids cleansing, and the vitamin E can heal sun damage. The baking soda not only helps soothe irritated skin but also acts as an exfoliator. Thanks to the baking soda and witch hazel, this toner will also keep for longer – about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Green tea drinkers know that age is just a number. Who doesn’t want to keep skin looking youthful and plump? There are so many ways your skin will benefit from green tea, whether you simply drink it (delicious hot or cold) or knock up your own DIY skin product – certainly an inexpensive way to treat yourself. Put on the kettle, enjoy your brew of choice, and let your skin’s beauty speak for itself.
Read more about Japanese green tea and skin health