White Tea Part II: Good for What Ails Aging Skin
As with many components of a healthy diet, white tea benefits our skin not only when we consume it, but also when we apply it topically. The white tea leaf extract in my LaVie Organique™ formulas contain several substances that play an important role in promoting healthy, young-looking skin. In addition to the antioxidant flavonoids I discussed in my last blog spot, white tea also contains alkaloids. Alkaloids are used to treats variety of skin diseases, including psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, rosacea, and squamous cell cancers. The alkaloids in white tea include caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. These three chemical compounds, referred to as xanthines, form loose bonds with the flavonoids in tea, increasing their antioxidant effects. In addition to contributing to the repair of free radical damage, xanthines help improve circulation, flush waste products from cells, reduce inflammation, and fight infection. These combined effects promote healthy, young looking skin in several ways. Scientists have found evidence that topical application of unfermented tea fights photo-aging and skin cancer and works synergistically with sunscreen to boost sun protection. Because chemical reactions between the synthetic compounds in many sunscreens may alter the tea’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, my Day Cream formula combines organic white tea leaf extract with zinc oxide, a powerful natural-mineral sunscreen that is chemically inert. Skin biopsies have shown that the antioxidants and xanthines in tea also help boost production of collagen and elastin cells. As we age, the rate at which these cells replace themselves slows, causing the network of collagen and elastin fibers that give our skin its shape, texture, and resilience to weaken. The result is sagging, wrinkled skin. While applying products that contain collagen won’t help—collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the epidermis—using treatments with ingredients that promote healthy cell renewal and that our skin can absorb can help improve the appearance of sun-damaged, aging skin.