Acne is defined as a skin condition resulting in symptoms such as pimples, plugged pores and nodules or cysts that typically occur on the face, chest, back and shoulders and may result in scarring of the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from acne, making it one of the most commonly diagnosed skin disorders in America. Typically beginning in puberty, acne may continue to develop and worsen throughout a person’s 20s and even into his 50s. Treating acne scars may be done through prescription ointments or over-the-counter medications. However, natural supplements such as green tea may reduce the appearance of acne scars.
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Green Tea Active Constituents
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports the medicinal qualities of green tea can be attributed to chemicals known as polyphenols, which is an umbrella term to describe compounds known as catechins. Green tea contains six active catechins, which include epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, epicatechin, gallocatechin and catechin. All of these chemicals are known for their high antioxidant concentration. Rice University states in the article “Antioxidants and Free Radicals” that antioxidants eliminate harmful free radicals, which are uneven atoms. Free radicals are known to cause cellular damage, which if gone unchecked may cause serious health complications.
Green Tea and Acne Scars
One of the main side effects of acne is skin inflammation, and this inflammation may cause sores that develop into scars. The University of Maryland Medical Center states the ECGC chemical, which is among the most potent catechin compounds found in green tea, is effective at reducing skin inflammation. The internal consumption and topical application of green tea may help reduce acne-induced inflammation, which may help eliminate the development of scars by reducing the severity of acne sores. While the benefits of green tea specifically for the reduction of acne scars is under debate within the scientific community, the "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology" reports that the active compounds in green tea have medicinal benefits for skin health and skin cell repair.
Green tea may be consumed through beverage form as well as through topical application. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests consuming two to three cups of green tea daily, which provides the body with 240 to 320 mg of polyphenols. However, the consumption process may be streamlined by taking 100 to 750 mg of green tea extract supplements per day. To apply green tea topically to the skin, purchase ointments with green tea extract or bring 8 oz. of water to a rolling boil and add 2 tbsp. of loose green tea leaves. Allow the tea to steep for at least 10 minutes to ensure the polyphenols and other active compounds are extracted from the leaves. Wait until the tea is at a comfortable temperature, and place a washcloth into the tea. Apply the washcloth directly to the skin, and allow the tea to soak into the skin for 10 minutes. Periodically dip the washcloth back into the tea throughout the application process.
Before using green tea to help treat acne scars, discuss the use of this herb with your physician. This is especially important if you are taking acne medications or ointments. Some of the more common side effects associated with green tea are derived from the caffeine within the tea and may include dizziness, insomnia, loss of appetite and irritability.