With all the wellness-meets-beauty trends circling around these days, it is easy to write them off and go back to your tried-and-true skin and hair care regimen. But what if incorporating one of these trends could elevate your beauty routine in a way that counts? That is where matcha green tea comes in. The superfood and super-trendy ingredient — celebrated in Japan for its remarkable benefits — has been around for centuries. Not to mention, it can tackle many common skin and hair care woes like dullness, breakouts, weak strands, dandruff and more.
What is Matcha?
Matcha belongs to the green tea family, but instead of steeping a sachet filled with dried leaves, matcha drinkers scoop a green, powdery substance directly into water. As it turns out, that powdery substance is made up of actual tea leaves, which means they come in direct contact with your body when consumed. “Matcha tea is equal to about 10 cups of regularly brewed tea,” says Alissia Zenhausern, N.M.D., a naturopathic physician at NMD Wellness of Scottsdale. “The reason why matcha has grown in popularity is because of its super antioxidant EGCG (a type of catechin) capabilities,” she says. “The antioxidant capacity of matcha is 137 times more powerful than regularly brewed green tea.”
With such an enhanced antioxidant makeup, matcha can work wonders on both hair and skin health. “Drinking 2-3 cups of matcha daily is actually the best way to improve your skin and hair, as consuming [its] EGCGs helps your body with the important process of eliminating toxins and chemicals from your body,” says Zenhausern. Here’s how adding the tea to your beauty regimen can promote healthier hair and skin.
Hair and Skin Benefits
Zenhausern raves about matcha’s antioxidant, EGCGs — and for good reason. Antioxidants work to protect the skin from future damage and premature signs of aging, and also clear up some of the already noticeable ones such as dullness.
Green tea is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and matcha is no different. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties — and other beneficial vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C and zinc — consuming matcha can help work from the inside out to calm certain skin ailments such as breakouts, puffiness and stressed out skin. “It is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and nutrients that are not only beneficial for the internal body but [are] the reason why it is now being used in hair and skincare products,” says Zenhausern. A cup of matcha can also deliver vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium into your body, skin and hair.
Hair growth and scalp care
The anti-inflammatory properties of matcha help keep the scalp calm and collected, while the antioxidant makeup helps give it a boost of added protection and strength. “Matcha is rich in vitamin E, [which] aids in circulation to the scalp and helps promote hair growth,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. In addition, vitamin E can nourish, strengthen and protect strands, so that new growth can remain as good as new. “It also helps to control dandruff [and] keeps your scalp healthy,” says Jaliman.
The antioxidant capacity of matcha is 137 times more powerful than regularly brewed green tea
Precautions to Consider
While the hair and skin powers of matcha are something to celebrate, there are some precautions to consider before ordering your next matcha latte and chalking it up as skincare. “The best way to drink matcha tea is in its simplest and least processed way — so say no to the trendy matcha lattes and excess sugar,” says Zenhausern. If you want to reap its benefits, Zenhausern says all you really need is hot water and matcha powder, as excess milk and sugar can reduce its benefits.
Jaliman also warns against the downfalls of matcha lattes and other sweetened matcha drinks as “sugar glycates the collagen and stiffens it, [which] ages the skin.” In addition, she also says not to overdo it. Matcha contains a good amount of caffeine — more than traditional green tea, as its leaves are physically consumed — which can do the skin (and body in general) a disservice.
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