6 Paraben-Free Skin Care Products Tapping the Ancient Health Benefits of Tea

Flickr/A Girl With Tea/CC BY 2.0. Loose black tea.

The healing properties of tea have been exploited for centuries and modern statistics back these benefits up. According to smartskincare.com,

The overall impression from the limited human clinical trials is that tea (especially green and white) increases antioxidant capacity of tissues, particularly the blood, and that it improves some aspects of the lipid profile, such as the level and stickiness of LDL (bad cholesterol).

Green tea studies have shown it provides protection from skin cancer; reduces sun damage and quenches free radicals; and reduces inflammation in papulopustular rosacea.

The six paraben-free skin care products here, formulated from mostly organic ingredients, all use tea to fight aging, moisturize, detoxify, and more -- and none of these companies perform animal testing.

Flickr/PoYang_博仰/CC BY 2.0. Green tea leaves.

Why Parabens Should be Avoided

The fact is, we don't have enough information on Parabens, a cheap preservative disturbingly common in skin care products. However what we do know is extremely suggestive: They have been found in breast cancer tumors, they have shown the ability to mimic estrogen, and studies indicate they may react to UVB for increased skin aging and DNA damage.

Why take the risk?

1. Anti-Aging Hand Crème From Derma e

© Mairi Beautyman

Your hands shouldn't reveal any secrets: Keep them young and supple without breaking the bank with Derma e's Anti-Aging Hand Crème, infused with green tea. With a faint floral scent, this light hand cream smooths on fast -- absorbing quickly -- without being greasy. Derma e says,

Moisturizing conditioners penetrate deeply to soothe and rehabilitate damaged skin while [sulfur compound] MSM enriches and strengthens skin, nails and cuticles.

In addition to green tea extract, the ingredient list includes antioxidants and botanicals including olive oil, cucumber, and organic aloe.

You'll Sleep Better Because

Derma e only uses vegan ingredients patented-effective by extensive research and only essential oils for fragrance. All products are free of mineral oil, lanolin, propyl ingredients, sodium laurel sulfates, and parabens.

Most of the company's products are also gluten-free, including this one. ($7.60 for 4 oz, Derma e)

2. Kombucha Cleanser From Scientific Organics

Scientific Organics/Promo image

In 2010, the emerginC skin care line diverged to include an organic line, Scientific Organics. Scientific Organics' Kombucha Cleanser is a transparent deep-clean cleanser suitable for all skin types. Forming a light lather with a delicate citrus scent, it removes oil and make-up without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.

The main ingredient is Kombucha, a fermented sweet black tea that recently has attracted celebrities and a lot of buzz for reported health benefits as a probiotic. The Huffington Post breaks it down here. It's combined with grape stem cells, algae extract, glycerin, brightening complex with xylose and galactose from palmaria palmata, spirulina, green tea, white tea, aloe vera, and maritime pine bark extract.

You'll Sleep Better Because

The Scientific Organics line is composed of 100% natural ingredients (no synthetics), paraben-free and synthetic frangrance- and preservative-free, with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients in every item. For every retail-sized item sold, the company plants a tree through John Denver's non-profit organization, Plant-It 2020. ($34 for 120 ml, emergenC)

3. Bearberry Balancing & Toning Mist From John Masters Organics

John Masters Organics/Promo image

PH balance is a pesky thing -- when it's out of whack, all hell breaks loose when it comes to your skin. Enter Bearberry Balancing & Toning Mist From John Masters Organics, which helps balance the skin’s pH and tighten pores with 13 certified-organic ingredients, including green tea leaf extract, which nourishes and protects, and bearberry extract for sebum reduction.

You'll Sleep Better Because

John Masters makes sure all ingredients meet a 12-point check list:

1. All products must be made with 70-100% organic content
2. No sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, DEAs, MEAs, or TEAs
3. No GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism)
4. No animal testing
5. No artificial colors, fragrances or fillers
6. All plant extracts and essential oils must be certified organic whenever possible
7. All essential oils used must be steam-distilled and not extracted with propylene glycol - which kills the effect of the oils
8. All plant oils must be cold pressed, not heat distilled - which kills the therapeutic properties of plant oils
9. All ingredients must be proven to be beneficial to the hair or skin
10. All ingredients must be harvested in an environmentally-friendly manner (wild-crafted)
11. All ingredients must be bio-degradable as possible
12. Fair-Trade ingredients must be used when possible

($20.00, 2 fl oz, John Masters Organics)

4. Eye Elixir From Elemental Herbology

Elemental Herbology/Promo image

Too much time at the office or running after the kids? The dark circles give it all away. Fight back with Elemental Herbology's Eye Elixir, which promises to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles so that your hectic lifestyle is not stamped on your face (oh and sleep helps too!)

Elemental Herbology pairs Kombuchka with Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae, a Blue Green Algae (for smoothing) and a natural vegetable astringent obtained from Oak Apple (for firming) to help renew delicate under eye skin.

You'll Sleep Better Because

All Elemental Herbology packaging components are recyclable and 100% biodegradable and products contain no synthetic fragrance, artificial colour, mineral oils, sulphates, or paraben preservatives. ($60 for 0.5 fl. oz, Elemental Herbology)

5 & 6. Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask and Turkish Rose and White Tea Eye Cream From Pangea Organics

© Pangea Organics

Smooth Pangea Organics' Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask over your skin for 10-20 minutes, and then reap the soft, glowing results.

During those minutes, it does in fact look like you have lumps of seaweed all over your face and the scent is a not-unpleasant combination between a seaweed salad and oddly, a Christmas tree, but don't let that deter you. This gulten-free and vegan product has made waves, picking up awards including:

  • Better Nutrition Magazine Best of Beauty Award 2009, Best Skin Care
  • Natural Health Natural Beauty Award 2007, Face Mask
  • Natural Products Expo East New Products Showcase Award, Best New Product for 2007
  • Natural Products Expo West Best of Show Awards 2007, Best New Vegetarian Product

Suitable for all skin types, it includes green and white clays (to restore, balance, cleanse, and detoxify); four sea vegetables (to hydrate and oxygenate); and organic Matcha tea powder. According to the manufacturer,

Match tea contains more than 10 times the overall nutrients of any other tea. These nutrients contain potent antioxidant polyphenols which have demonstrated far greater environmental protection than vitamins C & E. The natural inclusion of caffeine offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. These ingredient compounds are proven to be highly beneficial when used topically as well as internally and will help to reverse oxidative damage to the skin, eliminate toxins, energize and brighten and lessen irritation.

Pangea's Turkish Rose and White Tea Eye Cream -- also for all skin types -- taps white tea for its antioxidant and anti-irritant properties and infuses it with rose essential oil, long praised for its healing and anti-aging benefits. The thick white cream has no lingering residue and comes with a soothing rose scent.

You'll Sleep Better Because

All products from Pangea Organics are handcrafted, organic and fair trade -- without petroleum-based ingredients, sulfates or detergents, synthetic preservatives, artificial colors, fragrances, and GMOs. (Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask, 4 fl oz is $40, Pangea Organics; Turkish Rose and White Tea Eye Cream, .5 fl oz is $55, Pangea Organics)

Tags: Chemicals | Parabens | Skin Care

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