(NaturalNews) Recently, two studies were performed to measure the potential of green tea in acne treatment and the results give hope for those looking for an alternative. The findings of these recent studies show that when applied to the affected area, green tea can reduce sebum production, inflammation and bacterial growth in acne-prone skin, as a result of an antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
The first study findings
The more recent of the studies appeared in the December 2012 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and showed that green tea helps to reduce sebum production. In the first part of this two part study, the South Korean researchers applied cream containing EGCG to rabbit ears and discovered that it reduced the size of sebaceous glands.
The second part of the test was conducted in vitro (petri dish) and involved the incubation of human sebocytes (cells that produce sebum) in insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) hormone. Several similar studies have also shown that IGF-1 increases sebocyte growth and is also one of the hormones linked to acne and oily skin. (http://www.acneeinstein.com/hormonal-acne/)
Researchers in stage two of the test added EGCG to the mix and subsequently found that IGF-1 induced cell growth and sebum production was significantly decreased, which means the properties of EGCG are ideal for the treatment of acne. Further findings showed that an additional property of EGCG was its tendency to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines which cause systematic inflammation. Cytokines are signaling molecules in the immune system to communicate.
The second study also showed promising results
The second study was also conducted in South Korea, and was published in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. More intriguing than the first study due to the fact that it was carried out on human subjects and therefore showed tangible effects. In this second study using human subjects, EGCG was found to be a viable and safe treatment for dealing with the three primary causes of acne: P. Acnes bacteria, sebum production and inflammation.
During the second part of the of the test, participants took part in a split-face, randomized clinical trial of EGCG cream and each participant was asked by researchers to apply two creams, one to the left side and one to the right side of the face. While one cream contained EGCG, the other cream was simply a placebo containing no active ingredients. During the test, participants were kept in the dark as to which cream was the 'real deal.' The results showed significant reduction in acne from the EGCG cream. Similarly, earlier studies on human subjects have shown that green tea extract creams do cause a noticeable reduction in sebum production.
Green tea to become the most effective acne treatment
Now that we have the results, let's look at the bigger picture here. Studies have shown acne-prone skin to be excessively sensitive to androgen hormones, and this causes an abnormally high production of sebum and skin cell growth.
The other significant cause of acne, as shown by bleeding edge research is inflammatory damage to sebum, which seems to trigger the acne formation process.
These studies show that green tea can tackle both. The effect of androgens can be markedly reduced through the use of green tea because EGCG blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the skin. Furthermore, EGCG has anti-inflammatory properties and as such serves as an excellent protection against inflammation caused by factors such as UV rays or air pollution. This is undoubtedly good news for men with acne, as recent research shows that women value healthy skin more than muscles. (http://www.cupidslibrary.com/blog/skin-more-important-than-muscles)
In conclusion, there is no doubt that green tea will quickly become one of the most sought after treatments for acne, because of its amazing properties and sheer effectiveness at fighting acne.
About the author: Seppo Puusa writes AcneEinstein.com blog - the place for science-based advice about alternative and natural acne treatments. We all love natural solutions to health problems, but with so many different solutions out there it can be hard to know what really works. That's where AcneEinstein.com comes in. I scour the scientific literature and report back to you.