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Background. Green tea extracts have gained popularity as ingredients in topical skin care preparations to treat aging skin. Green tea polyphenolic compounds have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and studies suggest that these extracts help mediate ultraviolet radiation damage.

Objective. To evaluate the effects of a combination regimen of topical and oral green tea supplementation on the clinical and histologic characteristics of photoaging.

Methods. Forty women with moderate photoaging were randomized to either a combination regimen of 10% green tea cream and 300 mg twice-daily green tea oral supplementation or a placebo regimen for 8 weeks.

Results. No significant differences in clinical grading were found between the green tea–treated and placebo groups, other than higher subjective scores of irritation in the green tea–treated group. Histologic grading of skin biopsies did show significant improvement in the elastic tissue content of treated specimens (p<.05).

Conclusion. Participants treated with a combination regimen of topical and oral green tea showed histologic improvement in elastic tissue content. Green tea polyphenols have been postulated to protect human skin from the cutaneous signs of photoaging, but clinically significant changes could not be detected. Longer supplementation may be required for clinically observable improvements.

THIS STUDY WAS SUPPORTED BY NU SKIN INTERNATIONAL, INC. DR. KIMBALL HAS SERVED AS A CONSULTANT TO NU SKIN AND HAS RECEIVED HONORARIA FOR SPEAKING.