It seems like a new beauty craze crops up practically every day, but there’s a reason some have staying power. And in the case of tea as a beauty staple, that staying power has lasted a very, very long time. “Tea is the world's most ancient remedy,” says Lev Glazman, cofounder of Fresh. “It was discovered thousands of years ago in China, where people cultivated its use as a medicine, as a ritual, as an art form.”
Turns out the world’s most popular beverage has plenty of beauty perks. “Tea makes for a great ingredient because it has wonderful benefits for the skin,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. It’s packed with powerful antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits, plus it’s effective and gentle, making it perfect for all skin types. “There are so many different varietals when it comes to tea,” says Lori Leib, creative director of Bodyography Professional Cosmetics. “Whether you decide to incorporate herbal, black, green, white, or red tea, you will receive unique benefits from each.”
Of course, drinking tea and applying tea bags directly on your skin is good for you, too. “Applying it topically soothes irritation caused by sun damage, razor burn, bug bites, or tired and puffy eyes,” says Leib. “When used topically, green tea neutralizes damage done by exposure to UV rays and contains vitamin K, which helps reduce dark circles and puffiness in the eyes.”
For small areas, such as under the eyes, or on little bumps, use one or two tea bags, steep them in hot water first, let them cool, and apply to the area. For larger areas, steep eight to 10 tea bags in a concentrated amount of hot water. Once all the tea bags are room temperature, wrap them in muslin, kitchen gauze, or an old T-shirt, and apply to the area.