Today I came across an article online that talks about the health benefits of green tea, and what green tea can and cannot do for your skin. You know the drill–everyone and her mother has been talking for the past few years about green tea and how it is a skincare, anti-aging, and beauty miracle. Well, I hope you aren’t tired of hearing about it, because I happen to also be one of those people, and, incidentally, am sipping my second cup of green tea of the day right now.

Simply put, the reason so many people are obsessed with green tea as a beauty aid is because it contains high levels of antioxidants and flavanoid phytochemicals. These fancy-sounding components fight free radicals, inflammation, and infection, and aid in  the detoxification of the body’s organs–skin included. In other words, green tea has the ability to get rid of the junk in our systems that clogs up the skin’s pores and cell rejuvenation–thereby getting rid of acne and, in some cases, signs of premature aging.  Additionally, green tea is able to fight the effects of too much time in the sunshine, something that all of us in the Mediterranean need.

Some people, myself included, go so far as to use green tea on the skin during treatments, in either teabag or solidified (ice cube) form. I know it sounds insane, and I have to admit that, the first time I tried it, I was skeptical, but the results really are amazing. After using a facial scrub, I rubbed a cooled, still damp teabag all over my face, and topped it with a gel mask. The scrub and gel mask I use are great on their own, but when I added the green tea, the results were amazing. When I rinsed the gel mask from my face, my skin seemed less red and much smoother, the eye area seemed tighter, and a pimple I had seemed to have diminished. That being said, I don’t recommend doing this more than once a week, as too much caffeine on a regular basis can actually exhaust the skin over time. With green tea skincare treatments, as with all things, moderation is key.

Green tea is not only good for skin health, of course. The same components of green tea that make it so good for the skin also work wonders for the rest of the body. Some scientific studies have even shown that green tea may inhibit, prevent, or destroy some cancers. (For you smokers: I read that two cups of green tea a day cuts the chance of contracting lung cancer in smokers by a huge amount.) If all this is true, why not get into the habit of drinking it regularly?

As a side note, when I started regularly drinking two or more cups of green tea per day (and no, I am not a smoker, but I do have lung problems), I realized that, at least in Israel, this is a habit that could get expensive. Thankfully, I ran across an imported Chinese green tea at Chetzi-Chinam, which is sold at a fraction of the price of other green teas. If you’re interested, it’s the one in the yellow box with gold writing and lots of Mandarin characters.

As a health nut and a skincare professional, I do recommend that you try implementing green tea into both your diet and skincare regimen. Try a cup in the morning and during that typical 4 PM office slump, and, if you’re brave, maybe even leave a little green tea on your face for a few minutes after using an at-home mask. Who knows? Your skin just might thank you!

Have you bought into the green tea hype? What has your experience been? Please let me know in the comments below!