Green Tea Extract and Skin Protection: ECGC and Sun Damage
The health benefits of drinking green tea are now well known due to positive research over the past twenty years. Its anti-oxidant elements, metabolism boost and weight-loss effects have been touted everywhere from medical journals to the Oprah Winfrey show. But, rubbing it on your skin?
Yes. Recent research (A) has shown that topical application of green tea extract can protect you from the damaging effects of the sun and prevent, or even reverse the skin damage that can lead to aging, wrinkles, spots and skin disorders. And it won't turn you green in the process.
The Science: SPF and Broad Spectrum Ultra-violet Sunlight.
The sun protective factor, (SPF), used by the FDA in rating sunscreen measures only ultraviolet B protection. Ultraviolet A, a more deeply penetrating and potentially damaging light, is not a factor in the rating. The FDA has admitted to this flaw in the rating but to date has done nothing to correct it. Adding green tea extract to your sunscreen can protect you in this "broad spectrum" of UV light.
There are several factors that contribute to the damaging effects of the sun''s ultraviolet radiation on the skin. As the broad-spectrum light penetrates deeply into the skin it causes DNA damage and suppresses the skin's natural immune system function. This results in inflammation and oxidation and produces a perfect environment for cell damage to develop. Studies have shown that epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG contained in green tea can protect against DNA damage and may significantly reduce the occurrence of skin disorders. (B)
The extract can be added to sunscreen to expand protection before sun exposure. It has also been shown to be beneficial when applied after sun exposure. So even if you have already suffered sunburn green tea extract can help to reverse the damage. (C)
Additional Benefit: Making your Skin Young Again
Green tea extract can repair and reverse sun damage, but for aging baby boomers there is an even more appealing benefit. It can rebuild the support tissue of the skin, reducing wrinkles and making the skin more supple and smooth.
In the supporting structure of the skin there are cells called keratinocytes. These cells make up 90% of the epidermis. The extract protects these cells and makes them more robust leading to an increase in skin thickness. This thickening leads to fewer wrinkles and more youthful-looking skin. Simply adding a few drops to some aloe vera gel could take years off your appearance without the frightening list of chemicals included in more wrinkle creams. (D)
Usage Recommendations - Green Tea Alcohol-free Extract
Before sun exposure: add ½ ml of our concentrated strength alcohol-free extract to your sun block and apply as usual.
After sun exposure: add ½ ml of our concentrated strength alcohol-free extract to aloe vera based lotion and apply to areas exposed to the sun.
Oral Benefits as Well
Add a little extract to your favorite beverage too. Recent research has shown health benefits in regard weight loss.
Metabolism and Fat Burning
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study in which it was found that this extract significantly increased energy expenditure (a measure of metabolism), and fat oxidation. The researchers felt that this study had wonderful implications for weight control. The study indicated a nearly 40% increase in daytime thermo genesis. In other words, dieters would burn 40% more fat during the day with Green Tea Extract. Is it possible that this is one of the reasons for lower obesity levels in areas of the world where more green tea is consumed?
Resources: Green Tea Alcohol-free Extract
Morley N, Clifford T, Salter L, et al. The green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin gallate and green tea can protect human cellular DNA from ultraviolet and visible radiation-induced damage. British Association of Dermatologists. 2005 Feb;21(1):15-22. Katiyar SK, Elmets CA. Green tea polyphenolic antioxidants and skin photoprotection. University of Alabama, Birmingham. (Review). Int J Oncol. 2001 Jun;18(6):1307-13. Lu YP, Lou YR, Xie JG, et al. Topical applications of caffeine or (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) inhibit carcinogenesis and selectively increase apoptosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Sep 17;99(19):12455-60. Chung JH, Han JH, Hwang EJ, et al. Dual mechanisms of green tea extract (EGCG)-induced cell survival in human epidermal keratinocytes. FASEB J. 2003 Oct;17(13):1913-5.
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