Recently, white tea tincture (extract) was listed as a “must have” ingredients in the anti aging and anti acne products on the market along with rooibos tea extract. The use of such a wide range of teas in cosmetics has caused some confusion for the consumer and quite a bit of excitement for the cosmetic formulators and chemists.

White tea is rare and expensive. Green, black and white tea are all processed from the same bush called Camellia Sinensis. White tea only uses the finest leaves from each bush and is picked early. The tea leaves and white colored buds are slightly steamed and then mostly sun dried using a minimal amount of processing. Because the tea has been hardly processed it contains high levels of antioxidants.

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 extract protects against this stress. This study further demonstrates the importance of researching how plant products can actually protect the skin.”

Oregon State University researcher Roderick H. Dashwood, Ph.D. said recently, “Our theory was that white tea might have equivalent or higher levels of these polyphenols than green tea, and thus be more beneficial.” Chemical analysis confirmed their theory when they found that white tea contains the same types of polyphenols as green tea, but in different proportions. “Those present in greater amounts may be responsible for white teas enhanced cancer-fighting potential” said Dashwood.

Scientists at the University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC) and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) recently proved that topical application of white tea is effective in boosting the immune function of skin cells and protecting them against the damaging effects of sun exposure. White tea was found to protect the skin from oxidative stress and immune cell damage.

Researchers believe that the antioxidant property of white tea is what makes it effective as an anti-aging ingredient in cosmetics. Kevin Cooper, MD, chairman of the department of dermatology at UHC and CWRU said, “We know that younger skin tends to be able to resist the oxidative stress associated with exposure to the destructive rays of sunlight. The white tea extract also appears to build the skin’s resistance against stresses that cause the skin to age.”

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