|March 25, 2004
A team at
the Medical College of Georgia's department of Oral
Biology studied the effects of the most abundant green
tea polyphenol, EGCG, on human skin cells and found that
EGCG reactivated dying skin cells.
"Cells that migrate toward the surface of the skin
normally live about 28 days, and by day 20 they
basically sit on the upper layer of the skin getting
ready to die. But EGCG reactivates them. I was so
surprised," said Dr Stephen Hsu, study leader.
Dr Hsu was previously involved in work that found
green tea polyphenols can help eliminate free radicals,
which can cause cancer by altering DNA. He also found
that polyphenols safeguard healthy cells while prompting
cancer cells to die.
The researcher reports that green tea polyphenols are
not absorbed beyond the epidermis (the outer layer), so
any benefits are limited to that outer layer of skin.
This is important because skin cells are in a constant
state of renewal, rapidly dividing until they reach the
epidermis, where they begin differentiating. But once
they reach the surface of the skin, their metabolic
activity slows dramatically and they prepare to die.
EGCG seems to rejuvenate these skin cells however.
"When exposed to EGCG, the old cells found in the
upper layers of the epidermis appear to start dividing
again," Dr Hsu said. "They make DNA and produce more
energy. They are reactivated." To read the full report
Green Tea Prevents Skin Cancers.
Earlier, in 2001, The American Cancer Society, reported
that green tea may prevent skin cancers. To read this
report go to
American Cancer Society Suggests Green Tea May Prevent
Skin and Other Cancers.