When you think of antioxidants, one of the first images that usually springs to mind is a beautiful cup of piping hot green tea, and with good reason: this particular tea is positively filled with polyphenols—they make up about 30% of its dry weight—which are what give green tea its natural antioxidant properties.
What Is White Tea Leaf Extract?
However, while green tea is excellent, you may want to get to know its younger sister, white tea. Made from the same plant as green tea (Camellia sinensis), white tea is harvested at an earlier stage, and its flavor is slightly sweeter and more floral than green tea, which can be a touch bitter. It also requires less processing than green tea, which means it may actually retain more of its antioxidant power than green tea. The white tea leaf extract is derived directly from the delicate leaves and buds of this young plant.
The Benefits Of White Tea Leaf Extract
When sipped throughout the day, white tea has been shown in clinical studies to be positively great for our health. However, it's also an excellent skincare ingredient. Here's why:
White Tea Leaf Extract Can Protect Against Pollutants
One reason we look for antioxidants in our skin care routine is that we want to combat free radicals, which are unstable molecules our body produces and which can increase when we're exposed to environmental factors like air pollution and cigarette smoke. Among other issues that free radicals can cause: tissue damage, which can lead to fine lines. We want to minimize their effects on us—and white tea has been shown to have tons of free radical-scavenging antioxidant properties. These don't just work when we drink them in a teacup, either—these powerful antioxidants can be absorbed through the skin, as well, making skincare products that utilize white tea a great means of boosting our ability to combat damaging free radicals.
It Also Fights Sun Damage
Other studies have shown that white tea extract is actually really helpful for combating sun damage. Of course, this doesn't mean you can throw out your SPF 30 now—please keep wearing coral reef-safe sunscreen—but it does mean that this ingredient can help protect against some of those harmful UV rays.
And It Can Help With Inflammation
Catechins, which are one of the polyphenols found in green tea, have serious anti-inflammatory properties. When our skin is inflamed, it can result in redness, which is unfortunate in the moment, but can also cause dysregulation of collagen and elastin fibers—which can lead to signs of premature aging. White tea leaf extract can help prevent both of these issues.
Given how useful white tea leaf extract can be (and how safe this ingredient is—it earns a squeaky-clean 1 from EWG), we recommend using products that contain even a small concentration, which can help reduce external stresses on the skin. It's worth trying a facial serum, night cream, or eye cream that makes use of this great ingredient.