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Why Are Green Tea and Light Therapy a Good Combination?

A glass tea set filled with green tea represents the connection between green tea and red light therapy for skin health.


Ever heard of light therapy? This medical treatment uses different wavelengths of light to achieve specific results in the body.

For example, red light therapy effectively reduces the frequency of acne breakouts, increases collagen production, expedites wound healing, and reduces physical signs of aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.

Despite its efficacy alone, red light therapy can also work together with some other skin treatments. In combination with select ingredients, such as green tea, red light therapy treatments may produce results even faster.

Here, we’ll explore green tea, red light therapy, and why they’re a beneficial combination.

Infographic: Why Are Green Tea and Light Therapy a Good Combination?

Green Tea and Your Overall Health

What exactly is green tea?

Originating in China, green tea comes from the unoxidized leaves and leaf buds of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis. Now known to tea drinkers worldwide, green tea has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Scientists believe antioxidants prevent, reduce, and neutralize free radicals, a type of molecule that damages your cells and increases your risk of developing serious conditions (cancer, asthma, dementia, and more).

The anti-inflammatory properties of green tea help with inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Green tea may also boost the health of your:

  • Heart
  • Bones
  • Brain
  • Metabolism
  • Blood sugar regulation

Green tea can even freshen bad breath by suppressing bacterial growth in the mouth, and some theorize it may help prevent tooth decay, cavities, and the risk of oral infection.

In 2006, Japanese researchers found that consuming five or more cups of green tea per day reduces the risk of death from stroke and heart disease in both men and women.

Like red light therapy, green tea is also great for your skin! The reduction of free radicals and inflammation, along with other properties, provide dermatological benefits like:

  • Increased elasticity
  • Reduced wrinkles
  • Fewer dark spots
  • Tighter skin
  • Balanced oil production
  • Fewer acne breakouts
  • Fewer herpes outbreaks

Some of these benefits come from drinking green tea or ingesting it as a powder or capsule. However, many of them come from using green tea topically in products like green-tea-infused moisturizers, serums, and masks.


The Science of Green Tea and Red Light Therapy

Researchers first studied the dermatological effects of green tea, red light therapy, and their combined use in 2009. The results were extremely promising, especially with regard to reversing cell damage.

To understand the skin-healing benefits of green tea and red light therapy, let’s look more closely at how green tea interacts with the body.

Earlier, we mentioned the antioxidants present in green tea. Those antioxidants go by many names, and each has its own dermatological benefits:

  • Polyphenols are a type of compound that prevents tissue damage from oxygen reactive species (ROS). An accumulation of ROS in your body’s cells leads to oxidative stress, which increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, inflammatory diseases, and more. 
  • Catechins are another antioxidant in green tea. As far as drinks go, green tea has the highest concentration of catechins, including one called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). A 2018 study demonstrated the skin-hydrating and antioxidant effects of EGCG.
  • The caffeine in green tea is another of its antioxidants. You may have come across skincare products infused with caffeine. That’s because caffeine protects skin cells from free radical damage. The skin appears brighter, tighter, and less puffy.

The addition of red light therapy strengthens the effects of all these antioxidants and heightens their impact on the skin.

Green Tea, Red Light Therapy, and Acne

While red light therapy heals the effects of acne breakouts, it’s not as effective at preventing them. That’s where green tea can help! The antimicrobial effects of green tea fight bacteria on the skin — specifically, EGCG reduces the growth of the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes.

Skincare products that contain green tea not only protect the skin from damage and inflammation, but they also reduce the frequency and severity of acne breakouts over time.

Green Tea, Red Light Therapy, and Herpes

When it comes to treating cold sores — a type of sore caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) — green tea and red light therapy really shine!

Clinical studies have demonstrated green tea as an effective cold sore treatment for many years. Similarly, the skin-healing benefits of red light therapy work against cold sores by reducing pain, speeding up healing time, and preventing future outbreaks.

Looking to bid goodbye to your cold sores? This dynamic duo can help.

Quote Card: Why Are Green Tea and Light Therapy a Good Combination?

Try It With Care

Ready to enjoy the positive benefits of green tea and red light therapy? Be patient! Your skin type, problems, and needs are all unique, and it may take some time to find a routine that works for you.

Vet each new skincare product by using it on a small patch of skin before applying it to your entire face. This is a safe, low-stakes way to find out whether you’re allergic or sensitive to the product.

If you’re ready to move forward, start by applying the product just once a day, or even every other day, to acclimate your skin to the ingredients and avoid a negative reaction. Remember, skin is more absorbent after washing, when the pores are open and ready to devour a new product.

With time and patience, you may discover green tea and red light therapy are the best combination for your skin!

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