By William I. Lengeman III
If you weren’t paying attention in school when the topic turned to human anatomy, you may not realize that the skin is your body’s largest organ. With this in mind, it only makes sense that you should do everything you can to take good care of it, and according to several studies on the topic, tea might be beneficial to your skin.
One recent study, conducted by researchers at Dartmouth Medical School, discovered that tea might guard against skin cancers that are often caused by excessive exposure to sun. The study examined more than 1,400 patients from age 25 to 74 who had one of two common types of tumor. Tea drinkers were 65 percent less likely to have a skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma and almost 80 percent less likely to have a basal cell carcinoma.
Prior to that, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia learned that green tea may help such skin disorders as psoriasis and dandruff. Their study was conducted on animal models treated with green tea and found that it does this by regulating the expression of Caspase-14, a protein in genes that regulates the life cycle of a skin cell.
In an even earlier study, the results of which appeared in the journal BMC Medicine, American and German researchers found that green and black tea extracts helped with skin damage in cancer patients subjected to radiation therapy. Another study, by researchers in California, tested a cream made with green tea extract that resulted in as much as 70 percent improvement in a acne-type skin condition called rosacea.
In another study on skin and tea, the results of which appeared in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in tea was found to be helpful in reactivating dying skin cells. Additional research has found that white tea extract cream might help boost the immune function of skin cells and protect against the damaging effects of too much sun. Yet another study, results of which were published in the AMA’s journal Archives of Dermatology, found that drinking green tea and incorporating it into skin cream might help guard against skin cancer.