Are you looking for a healthy, natural way to keep your skin plump, healthy and wrinkle-free? If so, it’s time you started drinking white tea, the least processed form of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and an ever increasing number of us realise that it is what we eat and drink which largely makes up our composition. When it comes to our skin, we must feed and nourish it from the inside, not just from the outside. Slathering on expensive lotions and potions becomes rather ineffective when our diet is lacking in vital skin-supporting nutrients.
Walk into any department store and look around the beauty department and I guarantee you will find anti-ageing moisturisers with one ingredient in common; yes, you guessed it, white tea. Why? Surely green tea, along with its countless other health benefits, would take that place? Let me explain:
White tea undergoes minimal processing, in fact the new growth buds and young leaves are just plucked and left to dry in the sun or heated to prevent oxidation. This ensures maximum amounts of anti-oxidants are retained, even more so than in green tea which is heated, rolled and steamed or heated again. We all know that anti-oxidants block free radicals, the enemy when it comes to ageing and damage to the cells of our body, so the more we can incorporate into our diet, the better.
Now for the science….
Several studies on the anti-ageing effects of white tea have been carried out. In one study, “Anti-collagenase, anti-elastase and anti-oxidant activities of extracts from 21 plants”, white tea outperformed all other plants, including green tea, in its skin-supporting activity. The study specifically looked at the effects of elastin, responsible for maintain skin elasticity and collagen, a protein vital to supporting skin strength and firmness. The breakdown of these two proteins can lead to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. It was found that white tea inhibited a whopping 89% of elastase activity and 87% of collagenase activity. Elastase and collagenase are enzymes that break down proteins in elastin and the peptide bonds in collagen, which is exactly what we need to prevent in order to maintain young looking skin. The study claims that “in terms of skin anti-ageing, finding inhibitors of elastase enzymes can be useful to prevent loss of skin elasticity and thus skin sagging.” Furthermore, the quantity of white tea used in the experiment was much less than one would typically consume if one were to drink it, which only confirms white tea’s potential as a true fountain of youth!
Aside from the benefits of preventing wrinkles and sagging, white tea can also help prevent damage from the sun and environmental toxins due to its free radical scavenging activity, as well as its ability to protect our DNA from oxidative stress and damage, thereby helping to halt any sign of premature ageing in its tracks.
White tea is not only for drinking!
As stated previously, white tea is a common ingredient in anti-ageing skin creams. In a study examining the effectiveness of white tea in protecting skin cells from sun damage and other stressors that age and harm the skin, topical application of a white tea extract cream was shown to protect skin from oxidative stress, which is known to age skin. The extract actually helped skin build resistance to stress too. So that explains why the cosmetic industry is going crazy for this wonder plant!
White tea is delicate, cleansing and relaxing and perfect for drinking any time of the day. Why not incorporate some into your daily routine and reap its beauty rewards while enjoying its delicious taste?