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Rosacea Series: Green Tea Quenches Rosacea
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James Offline

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Rosacea Series: Green Tea Quenches Rosacea

Rosacea Series: Green Tea Quenches Rosacea

Green tea is tea made with the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. It originated in China and has become associated with many cultures in Asia from Japan to the Middle East. Many varieties of green tea have been developed and grown over the centuries.

Green tea is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is usually trimmed to below six feet in height when cultivated for its leaves. The leaves are 4 cm to 15 cm long and 2 cm to 5 cm broad, and contain about 4 percent caffeine when fresh. The flowers are yellow-white, 2.5 cm to 4 cm in diameter, with seven to eight petals. The seeds of Camellia sinensis can be pressed to yield tea oil, a sweetish seasoning and cooking oil.1

The Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written by the Zen priest Eisai in 1191. It describes how drinking green tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs, especially the heart. The book also discusses green tea's other medicinal qualities, which include curing blotchiness. The leaves have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other medical systems to treat asthma, angina pectoris, peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease. Green tea extracts are also being studied for their antibacterial activity. The tea component Epicatechin gallate (EGCG) is being researched because in-vitro experiments showed it can reverse methicillin resistance in bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus; thus, the combined intake of a tea extract containing this component might also enhance the effectiveness of methicillin treatment against some resistant bacteria in vivo.2

Green tea contains carotenoids; tocopherols; ascorbic acid (vitamin C); minerals, such as chromium, manganese, selenium and zinc; and certain phytochemical compounds.3 An important group of phytochemical phenolic compounds found in green tea are the catechins.4 The green tea derivatives epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate and epigallocatechin-3-gallate possess well-documented anti-carcinogen, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities. This is very useful for rosacea patients, as sun sensitivity is a hallmark of the disease. Green tea oils also have a photo-protective property that lessens reactivity to UV light, thereby reducing the signs and symptoms of rosacea. Additionally, green tea oils have been shown to reduce the disruption of the skin barrier, a problem in patients with rosacea.5 Also important for rosacea patients, green tea is a more potent antioxidant than black tea.6

Tanweer Syed, M.D., Ph.D., developed a green tea extract containing 2 percent polyphenone. In 2005, he reported women treated with the cream had a 70-percent improvement in rosacea compared with women treated with a placebo.7 The study was presented as an abstract at the 2005 American Academy of Dermatology meeting and was 75-percent funded by Syed Skincare Inc. Syed tested the green tea extract cream twice a day for four weeks in 60 women aged 25 to 50 with visible signs of rosacea. At the end of four weeks, "marked beneficial improvement" was observed in both groups. However, treatment with the green tea extract resulted in significantly fewer facial inflammatory lesions than the placebo treatment, with clearing, minimal or mild improvement of inflammation seen in 70 percent of those treated with the extract cream. Syed claimed this product was different from its competitors in that the green tea leaves were picked and used within five hours, before turning dark and fermenting. Of note, only a small number of participants were involved in the study and it was funded by the developer.8,9

There have been a number of other encouraging studies on benefits of green tea on skin. Animal studies showed protection from skin cancer. Both animal and human studies have credibly demonstrated topical green tea formulations reduce sun damage by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays. Therefore, green tea may synergistically enhance sun protection when used in addition to a sunscreen.10

Between October 2002 and October 2004 in the Department of Dermatology in Baghdad, Iraq, 60 patients, aged 14 to 22 years, with acne were tested with 2 percent green tea lotion.11 They divided the patients equally into two groups: Group A used freshly prepared 2 percent green tea lotion twice daily for two months; Group B used a control solution. In group A of 25 patients, the response was good in 64 percent, moderate in 24 percent and 12 percent had no response. In group B of 24 control patients, the lesions showed no significant reduction after two months. The mean difference in outcome after eight weeks between the two study groups was statistically significant. Thus, the 2 percent green tea lotion proved its efficacy as a topical therapy for acne vulgaris.

In 2009, 20 patients with mild to moderate acne at the University of Miami, department of dermatology were given 2 percent phenolic green tea lotion.12 They applied it twice daily for six weeks. The mean total lesion count (TLC) decreased from 24 before the treatment to 10 six weeks after treatment—a reduction of 58.33 percent, which was statistically significant. The mean severity index (SI) decreased from 2.05 before treatment to 1.25 after six weeks treatment, a decrease of 39.02. The researchers concluded topical 2-percent green tea lotion is an effective, cost-effective treatment for mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris.

There are many current rosacea creams on the market today, and with the current research and developing research, many more products will be launched that incorporate green tea.
07-04-2012 04:41 AM
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