A few months ago, we discussed the benefits of green tea for the skin: it has antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties, and can also help prevent some of the damage caused by the sun’s UV rays (but don’t use it as a substitute to sunscreen!). White Tea is often mentioned together with green tea because they both have the same antioxidants and so are deemed to work pretty much the same. But recent research has discovered that white tea can actually be the most effective of the two.
What is white tea?
Just like green tea, white tea is also obtained from the Camellia Sinesis plant, an evergreen shrub. However, these two types of tea are made with different processes. While green tea is obtained from the steaming and drying of the Camellia Sinesis leaves, white tea is instead made of young tea leaves or buds which are slightly steamed immediately after harvest, and then sun dried. Because white tea has been hardly processed, the amount of catechins (antioxidants) it contains is very high. Higher than that in green and black tea.
What does white tea do?
A 2009 study performed by a group of scientists at Kingston University, London, has shown that white tea can help fight premature aging. The researchers have tested 21 plants extracts and found that white tea has the highest activity both as an antioxidant (it can neutralize free radicals) and as an inhibitor of key MMP subtypes (MMP are group of enzymes that are necessary for the skin, but when their level gets too high, which occurs as we get older, can actually degrade collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles and loss of skin’s elasticity). Green Tea, although it has the same properties too, is slightly less effective.
In addition, White Tea has photoprotective properties. Another 2009 study has found that “topical application of green and white tea offered protection against detrimental effects of UV on cutaneous immunity. There was no significant difference in the levels of protection afforded by the two agents.” However, the scientists added that they should both be used in conjunction with a good sunscreen.
Although further research needs to be conducted on white tea to find out the extent of its benefit to the skin, what we know so far is very promising. White Tea has a very high concentration of antioxidants that can help fight premature aging and sun damage. Because of this, if you plan to use a skincare product with tea, consider one with white tea, or even better, one with both green and white tea. Drinking white tea will also be beneficial for the skin, probably even more than applying it topically.
Do you use skincare products with white tea?