Background: Tea polyphenols have been found to exert beneficial effects on the skin via their antioxidant properties.
Aims: We sought to determine whether topical application of green tea or white tea extracts would prevent simulated solar radiation-induced oxidative damages to DNA and Langerhans cells that may lead to immune suppression and carcinogenesis.
Methods: Skin samples were analysed from volunteers or skin explants treated with white tea or green tea after UV irradiation. In another group of patients, the in vivo immune protective effects of green and white tea were evaluated using contact hypersensitivity to dinitrochlorobenzene.
Results: Topical application of green and white tea offered protection against detrimental effects of UV on cutaneous immunity. Such protection is not because of direct UV absorption or sunscreen effects as both products showed a sun protection factor of 1. There was no significant difference in the levels of protection afforded by the two agents. Hence, both green tea and white tea are potential photoprotective agents that may be used in conjunction with established methods of sun protection.