Ingredient Decoder: Green Tea

When you consider of the massive payoffs that come from drinking green tea or applying it topically, it isn’t hard to believe this beverage was once used as currency. Whether it’s steeped fresh for better digestion or massaged into skin as a lotion, this ubiquitous tealeaf is a healthy investment.

Where it’s from

The leaves come from camellia sinesis, an evergreen plant native to China.

Where it’s found

Unsurprisingly, the most common use of green tea is to drink it as a hot or cold beverage. It's also used in many ice creams and pastries, where its slightly bitter taste adds dimension. Now the beauty and grooming world has caught on—green tea can be found in everything from shampoo to moisturizers.

What it’s good for

Green tea has an abundance of phytochemicals, which help aid digestion by oxidizing fat and toxins. When used in skincare, its antioxidant properties are also effective in ridding skin of impurities and protecting it from environmental damage. It’s one of the key ingredient in Billy Jealousy’s lightweight face moisturizer, where it allies with chamomile and calendula to cleanse and restore skin, improving its texture and preventing the signs of premature aging. It also has an energizing effect on skin, thanks to its natural caffeine.

Need to know

Green tea may help protect skin against sun damage, but it’s no substitute for a proper SPF. Before applying a sunscreen, use a moisturizer formulated with green tea to further safeguard skin against free radicals. Sunscreen made from zinc oxide won’t react with green tea’s own defense for the skin.

For Birchbox Man’s full list of ingredient decoders, go here.

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