The benefits of green tea for humans are no secret. Did you know there are many benefits of green tea for dogs too? This beloved drink contains high concentrations of antioxidants that are good for human and pet health, and research shows potential health benefits in promoting heart and brain health. While drinking green tea has impressive effects, it's equally powerful when used on the skin.
Green tea is the active ingredient found in many cosmetics and skin care products on the market. It's one of the most natural ways to improve the appearance of skin.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is a true tea along with black tea, white tea, and oolong tea. Green tea is light yellow or pale green in color and offers an earthy flavor and aroma. It is one of the least processed true teas, allowing it to retain the majority of its beneficial health compounds.
Green tea is used for skincare in a variety of ways. Green tea creams and lotions emerged from Asian markets such as China and have become mainstream in the western world. Green tea extract is another popular alternative and comes in the form of supplements or essential oils. All forms are backed by research demonstrating benefits for skin health and treatment of skin disorders.
Skin Benefits of Green Tea for Dogs
Dandruff is often considered a hair problem rather than a skin issue. In reality, dandruff is caused by skin that is either too oily or too dry. Dandruff can be caused by environmental factors such as extreme weather or by bacteria and fungus that grow in hair follicles. Dandruff causes itchiness, flaky skin, and irritation on the scalp and neck area.
Green tea may also help your dog get fuller, thicker coat. A study published in Phytomedicine found that the tea antioxidant EGCG works to accelerate hair growth. The antioxidant helps to stimulate skin cells in hair follicles, triggering hair growth. Tea polyphenols also help speed up cell turnover, and this helps to promote new growth and regrowth of damaged hair follicles.
Many green tea fortified shampoos aim to reduce dandruff. The antimicrobial and anti-fungal nature of green tea for dogs helps to treat dandruff caused by mites and other bacteria. Green tea also helps soothe and calm irritated skin thanks to anti-inflammatory properties.
The antioxidants in green tea are excellent at fighting premature aging. Free radical damage is one of the leading causes of premature aging, and these invaders are increased by an unhealthy diet, smoking, and environmental factors such as pollution. Antioxidants in green tea eliminate free radicals that can cause fine lines and wrinkles—the classic hallmarks of getting older.
Green tea contains a special antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. Scientific studies show that this tea antioxidant effectively rejuvenates dying skin cells, and EGCG effectively works to reactive the reproduction process of skin cells, giving dull skin a healthier glow (1).
Green tea is packed with vitamin B and vitamin E—two essential compounds for skin health. Vitamin B helps to maintain collagen production, which increases the skin's elasticity. Collagen is one of the leading compounds in anti-aging products as it firms skin and prevents wrinkles. Vitamin E helps promote cell regeneration. This vitamin works to hydrate and nourish skin.
Treating Oily Skin
Green tea contains tannins—biomolecules that bind with amino acids in the body. Tannins are naturally astringent compounds. This means they work directly as a skin toner to even out the appearance of skin. Tannins shrink pores, ensuring that they clog less often.
Tannins also regulate sebum production, the skin's naturally generated oil. In humans, people with oily skin tend to produce too much sebum, which results in clogged pores and acne breakouts. Most oily skin products aim to remove excess oil on the skin's surface, but green tea targets the root cause by minimizing oil production in skin cells.
An 8-week study published in the Bosnian Journal of Medical Sciences examined 10 male volunteers with oily skin. The volunteers used a 3% green tea extract formulation every day. At the conclusion of the study, 70% of participants demonstrated a decrease in sebum production.
Green tea leaves can be used to gently exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells that can cause skin to look dull and lifeless. The exfoliation process also helps trigger the production of new skin cells for a glowing appearance. Dried green tea leaves offer a slightly abrasive texture that softly removes dead skin. The tea leaves' antioxidants also help to remove excess oil and dirt that can cause breakouts.
Hair & Coat Benefits of Green Tea
You are wondering if green tea is good for your dog's coat? Well, for starters, antioxidants fight off free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules you don’t want too much of in your dog's body. Every day, their hair is exposed to many of them, such as UV rays from the sun and pollution in the air. The antioxidant activity of green tea helps protect your dog's hair from those molecules, thus warding off damage they could cause.
In humans, "Green tea is beneficial for hair growth," Isfahan Chambers-Harris, a PhD-level biomedical scientist, trichologist, and founder of Alodia Hair Care, tells Byrdie. "Studies have shown that after applying topical green tea extract to the scalps of participants with alopecia, participants experienced significant increases in hair growth activity." Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, agrees: Besides promoting hair growth, studies show green tea extract can reduce sun damage and help prevent photo-aging and melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
For dogs, a simple rinse is enough to increase growth and thickness and develop a lustrous shine. Green tea's powerful properties can be harnessed by using it as a final rinse. "These effects are likely due to the antioxidant properties of the polyphenols in green tea. They help to neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage," says King.
Like our skin, free radicals can also impact our hair and scalp. If you've ever been curious about exactly how our body reacts to free radicals, King breaks it down for us. "Unstable atoms with unpaired electrons are called free radicals," she explains. "Electrons like to be in pairs, so these unstable atoms scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells, proteins, and DNA. This damage can lead to inflammation, aging, and even cancer." This process is similar to how free radicals can impact a dog's skin.
We know that UV radiation and pollution often expose us to free radicals and antioxidants, like those found in green tea help keep us protected. "Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties due to the antioxidant properties of the polyphenols," King explains. Chamber-Harris agrees and explains, "Polyphenol called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) have been shown to help with hair growth." So if you are looking for those gorgeous, silky locks of hair on your dog — green tea is the answer.