Green tea has long held a reputation as a natural way to detox. Drinking green tea helps the body efficiently rid itself of toxins by supporting liver health. However, you can also use it topically to help to clear out the clutter, namely free radicals and byproducts of normal metabolism. In fact, it’s easy to duplicate the green tea body wrap salon experience at home.
Unlike oral detox supplements, the benefit of using green tea on the skin doesn’t equate to adding fiber to the diet to promote cleansing of the colon. Instead, the aim here is to assist the liver, the most important component of the body’s detoxification system, to more effectively eliminate environmental toxins and medications via the gateway to the body – your skin.
Learn How it Works
The same green tea compounds that work in the gut when ingested are absorbed through the skin, most notably a group of flavonoids called catechins. The most important of these is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which exerts strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. In addition to countering skin damage from too much sun, green tea fights oxidative stress in the liver by blocking the activation of certain protein complexes that trigger inflammation. A green tea body wrap is also thought to help draw impurities from the skin.
Prep Your Skin
For best results, and to make skin look and feel polished, exfoliate with a simple scrub made from 1 cup organic cane sugar and 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or sweet almond oil. Add a few drops of essential oil of your choice for scent, if you wish. Dampen the area of skin to be wrapped with a warm, moist washcloth. Apply a small amount to the area and massage lightly using circular motions. Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry.
Wrap it Up
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup melted coconut oil with 2 teaspoons Epsom salts and 2 heaping tablespoons of loose green tea. Apply a thin layer of this mixture to the area and cover with a piece of flannel or a towel warmed in the dryer, if possible. Finally, cover all with a large elastic bandage and clip to keep everything in place. Rest for two hours, or keep the wrap on overnight. In either case, be sure to drink an 8-ounce glass of water after securing the wrap and before going to sleep. When finished, shower off the residue and moisturize as usual.
This treatment can raise core temperature, so don't use a body wrap if you're pregnant. Also, check with your doctor if you take prescription medications or have a chronic condition that could be affected by a heat-generating treatment.
- Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by green tea: antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects. Curr Drug Targets Immune Endocr Metabol Disord. 2003 Sep;3(3):234-42.
- Li J, Sasaki GY, Dey P, et al. Green tea extract protects against hepatic NFκB activation along the gut-liver axis in diet-induced obese mice with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis by reducing endotoxin and TLR4/MyD88 signaling. J Nutr Biochem. 2018 Mar;53:58-65
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Karyn is a seasoned herbalist, book author, columnist and freelance writer who specializes in holistic living and natural health. She has written for numerous magazines, including Natural Living Today, Real Woman, The Herb Quarterly, Your Health, American Fitness, Mother Earth News, Better Nutrition and Natural Pharmacy, and her books are published in seven languages. Karyn also blogs for Mother Earth Living.