Drinking green tea appears to suppress skin hyperpigmentation (age spots), according to Japanese researchers — one of many cosmetic benefits driving sales of tea-based makeup and facial creams.
Mintel International reports that polyphenols from green tea are in half of the tea-based skincare products listed in the company’s product database. Laurie Du, Mintel’s senior beauty analyst Asia-Pacific, wrote, “Tea is recognized worldwide as an excellent source of antioxidants, and for its anti-aging and skin-soothing benefits when ingested.”
The age spots study, published in the February issue of the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, concluded that phytochemicals found in both green tea and coffee “may be beneficial to alleviate photoaging in healthy Japanese women.” The study involved 244 women, aged 30 to 60 years, whose skin was assessed by a facial photoimage analyzer. The device counted the number, rated the degree of pigmentation and relative size of age spots. Individuals who consumed large amounts of polyphenols from a combination of coffee and tea exhibited the lowest number of pigmented spots, according to lead researcher Yoichi Fukushima.
Age spots (sometimes called liver spots) are harmless. They appear on areas of the body exposed to the sun, typically on the hands, face, shoulders, and arms. They are often treated with either bleaching creams, lasers, cryotherapy (freezing), or dermabrasion.
Hyperpigmentation of the skin can occur at any age depending on etiological factors, but its intensity increases during adolescence in Japanese females and gradually develops further in adults, according to Fukushima, who suggests “adding large amounts of tea phenols in the diet.”
The global tea-based skincare market is “highly fragmented with many small and large players,” according to Transparency Market Research. Amorepacific Group is one of the larger beauty brands with FY2019 sales of $1.69 billion. North American sales grew by 38% last year. Brands include Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Mamonde, and Etude House. The company’s Innisfree, a South Korean beauty brand, is popular in China.
Other leading beauty brands include Cha Ling (made with puer tea), Orveda, Lu Ming Tang, owned by Laboratories du Palais Royal, and Shanghai-based Jahwa’s Tea Beauty.
Mintel predicts “tea will definitely be widespread in the beauty and personal care industry, be it as a concept or as part of a formula.”