White Tea Leaf – A Preventative Strategy For Chronic Sun Exposure
I’ve taken my first serious look at White Tea Leaf as a key ingredient in our skincare line. I’m impressed with the many scientific studies providing evidence for a broad range of skin benefits. For the purpose of desert skincare, it’s protection against sun-related skin damage is what I’m most interested in.
New Mexico is one of the sunniest states to live (1), receiving over 300 days of sunshine annually. However, the climate necessary to maintain this high desert beauty creates a harsh environment for our skin. We all share cumulative overexposure to the sun and ultra-violet (UV) radiation. The high altitude, arid winds and low humidity creates a capacity for dry, dehydrated skin, coupled with a compromised skin barrier. All of which can lead to real skin damage resulting in deep lines, wrinkles, age spots, and prematurely aged skin.
White Tea leaf – protection from UV ray damage?
With attention to sun damage prevention, one encouraging study is the University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC) and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) proving white tea leaf capability to boost the immune function of skin cells and protect them against the damaging effects of sun exposure with topical use (2)
New studies have found that white tea is 10% more effective than green tea. We found the application of white tea extract protects critical elements of the skin’s immune system,” says Elma Baron, MD, Director of the Skin Study Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Baron says. “Similar to the way oxidation causes a car to rust, oxidative stress of the skin causes a breakdown in cellular strength and function. The white tea leaf extract protects against this stress. This study further demonstrates the importance of researching how plant products can actually protect the skin.
However, I want to better understand how the tea leaf works. So, let’s take a closer look at the processes and how it effects our skin.
What is oxidation, free radicals, and their effects to our skin.
Certainly, the terms oxidation, oxidative stress, and free radicals are very common in the discussion of skincare. However, these terms are seldom really explained. And so, for these two important issues I want the insight of a professional. According to dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban (Shamban 2013) in her article The Oxygen Paradox: Good or Bad for Your Skin?, (3)
Oxidation is the decaying process that occurs when cells metabolize oxygen. So, skin showing sun damage and pigmentation are all signs of oxidation. While oxidation is natural and vital to cell turnover, 1% to 2% of cells get damaged in the process and turn into free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecular particles and can trigger a cascade of molecular instability. In front of your mirror, this translates into progressively worsening lines, wrinkles, age spots and tissue laxity.
In light of this definition, how does white tea leaf neutralize the processes and prevent skin damage?
Antioxidants – the key beneficial compounds
Simply put, an antioxidant is a substance (such as beta-carotene or vitamin C) that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides, or free radicals. (4) Similarly, one of the best ways to slow down the processes of oxidation and free radical damage is the use of antioxidants.
Furthermore, many teas are high in antioxidants, however, white tea leaf has the highest concentrations of the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (5). It is EGCG that inhibits ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced oxidative stress to reduce oxidative damage to cellular DNA, while simultaneously, boosting levels of antioxidant defense enzymes. Other principle antioxidants found in white tea leaf are: epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG). (6)
In other words, white tea leaf is a potent antioxidant when applied to the skin. I believe the current research well provides evidence as to how it can protect our skin from the negative effects of our New Mexico climate, making it a great ingredient for preventative skincare.
White tea in New Mexico
Above all, the best place that I have found to both examine and purchase rare teas is at our prized New Mexico Tea Company. David Edwards, co-founder and president of the company has traveled to China, Japan, and Sri Lanka on explorations of all things tea. So, David explained the process,
“Bai Hao silver needle tea, considered the highest quality white tea available, is hand picked in Wuyuan, China. Naturally withered and dried in the sun, white tea is the least processed type of tea. Uniquely, you can see the fibers on the individual buds. Steam or pan frying is never used in white tea production. Equally, white tea never undergoes oxidation or firing. Minimal processing ensures the integrity of white teas phyto-chemical.” (written with permission,) (7)
In conclusion, knowing what ingredients works to benefit your skin is important when choosing a skin care product. After researching just a portion of the evidence, I believe that white tea leaf is an excellent choice for desert skin line. Its protection against free radical damage makes it a must-have ingredient against high sun exposure. And too, when combined with our other beneficial ingredients it may improve skin’s appearance, texture, and function. Whether you a GENbotanicals desert skin care product or a different skin care product, always protect your skin from overexposure to the sun.
Our products containing White Tea Leaf and White Tea leaf Extract
- University Hospitals Of Cleveland. “New Study Shows Tea Extract Protects Skin; White Tea Extract Reveals Anti-cancer, Anti-aging Properties.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030130081227.htm>.
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Retrieved September 16, 2008, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/tea/
- Banerjee, B., and T. C. Chaudhuri, eds. Therapeutic effects of tea. Science Publishers, 2005.
- Edwards, David, Personal interview, 2016
More related articles:
- Kingston University. “White Tea Could Keep You Healthy And Looking Young.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810085312.htm>.
- Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813915/
- Reminding New Mexicans to Protect Their Skin. https://nmhealth.org/news/healthy/2014/5/?view=77