Topical application of green and white tea extracts provides protection from solar-simulated ultraviolet light in human skin

Exp Dermatol. 2009 Jun;18(6):522-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2008.00818.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD1 / analysis
  • DNA Adducts / analysis
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / analysis
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Dinitrochlorobenzene
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Langerhans Cells / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Sunscreening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Tea / classification
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens, CD1
  • CD1a antigen
  • DNA Adducts
  • Dinitrochlorobenzene
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Tea
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Deoxyguanosine