Why You Need to Try Matcha Skincare
Matcha is a specially-processed form of green tea, famous for its use in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha offers great benefits whether you drink it or put it on your skin. This beverage can add some elegance to your day and a sense of simple luxury to your beauty products.
How Does Matcha Differ From Other Forms of Tea?
Matcha is essentially green powdered tea. Green tea, black tea, matcha tea and white tea all come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. The differences between these types of teas is brought about in the way they are grown, harvested, and processed. The process for making matcha is unique in that the tea bushes are placed under shade for the last three weeks before harvest, which increases amino acid production, and once the tea leaves have been harvested and dried out, the veins and stems are removed and the remaining leaf matter is ground into a very fine powder. This fine powder is the final matcha product.
Matcha tea has been used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries. It is prepared by breaking any clumps with a sieve, and then adding hot water and using a whisk to reach a uniform consistency. Tea ceremonies are a serious and meditative affair; however, it has become more popular as a contemporary, informal drink in recent years. Even matcha-flavored foods have been becoming more popular. In Japan, matcha-flavored sweets and desserts are found everywhere. Even Westerners have taken up drinking matcha in recent years, due to its wide variety of proven health benefits.
The Impressive Health and Skincare Benefits of Matcha
Matcha green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. Drinking it regularly has a huge variety of benefits including:
- Preventing cell damage
- Improved blood flow
- Lower cholestrol
- Normalized blood pressure
- Lower risk of heart failure
- Better memory
- Stable blood sugar
Researchers attribute these health effects to high the catechin content of matcha. Catechins are antioxidants, meaning they fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. Matcha has about eight times more catechins than the typical black tea traditional in Western culture. Matcha also contains other beneficial compounds, such as theanine, which has a calming effect on the body.
Matcha is not only great for your inside, but also your outside as well. There have been both human and animal studies demonstrating that applying green tea products to the skin reduces sun damage. This seems to be because of its anti-free radicals and anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-inflammatory effects of matcha also make it good for treating rosacea, as proven by clinical studies.
Matcha is a natural way to incorporate anti-aging ingredients into your skincare, as the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can slow down the skin’s natural aging process. One study done in 2005 had 40 women with moderate photoaging (aging of the skin caused by sun damage) use a regimen of green tea oral supplementation and 10% green tea facial cream for eight weeks. After eight weeks, those who did the green tea regimen showed significant improvement in the elastic tissue content of their skin. Those who did a placebo regimen did not experience this effect.
Another study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, discovered that drinking high-flavonoid hot chocolate for three months will give you softer and smoother skin. Since matcha is also high in flavonoids, drinking it regularly can give you the same effect.
Ideas for Incorporating Matcha Into Your Skincare Routine
Going the DIY route is likely the most effective route for matcha skin care. Matcha extracts can be obtained more cheaply than some skincare products, and you only need a couple of drops each time you use it. Add this extract to your nighttime moisturizer so that your skin can absorb antioxidants while you sleep. You could even prepare matcha tea and freeze it into cubes to wipe across your skin as a toner.
Since there’s good scientific evidence that green tea offers sun protection, consider mixing a few drops of green tea extract or matcha extract in with your sunscreen before applying. It’s best to use a zinc oxide-based sunscreen for this, as zinc oxide is a chemically inert ingredient.
Alternatively, you can buy matcha skin care pre-prepared. There are such a wide variety of them that you could potentially base your entire skincare routine around matcha, to get as many of its positive effects as possible. You can start your routine with a relaxing bath, using a matcha tea bath soak such as this one from Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins, and lather up with a matcha soap such as this Jade Matcha bar soap from Thymes, with all-vegetable ingredients and moisturizing glycerin. As you soak you can use a face mask with matcha, like the Organic Mermaid Detox Face Mask from Captain Blankenship, with matcha, powdered seaweed, and gentle clay, or a Lavender Matcha Mask from URB Apothecary, with matcha, clay and authentic ground lavender flowers. Afterward, you can moisturize all over with a matcha body lotion like the Jade Matcha body lotion from Thymes, with emollient shea butter and ginseng and shiso leaf extracts.
A multi-step skincare routine using green powdered tea or matcha extract can help your skin stay looking its best. Be sure to drink it regularly as well—you don’t want to miss out on those heart health and anti-aging benefits!
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