By Kathryn Walsh

Green tea is comfort in a cup, but it does more than just warm you up. Made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea is rich in compounds called flavonoids that reduce inflammation and help protect the heart from damage. So it makes sense that those same leaves, once they're turned into oil, could have restorative effects on the skin.

Bath salts and massage oils at poolside
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Topical Uses for Green Tea Oil

Understanding Green Tea Oil

Green tea oil should not be mistaken for tea tree oil. While the two sound similar, they're completely different. Tea tree oil is a readily-available antiseptic essential oil with a strong medicinal smell, which is derived from trees that are native to Australia. Green tea oil is made from the leaves of shrubs that grow in China and India, among other countries, and it generally has a milder scent. It can be difficult to find.

Distinguishing Between Types

Be aware that the name "green tea oil" is used to describe a few different products. It's possible to find pure green tea essential oil, which is made from pressing the tea leaves. The name is also sometimes used to describe oils like coconut or almond that have been infused with green tea leaves. If you have pure green tea oil, use just a few drops at a time or mix it into a carrier oil.

Maximizing the Benefits

Green tea oil isn't very common, so not much research exists about its benefits to the skin – but it's beloved by many people who use it as a moisturizer. The oil is known for being lighter and more absorbent than some other types of facial oils. It's beneficial for anyone who wants to get silkier, smoother skin but dislikes the feeling of heavy oils. The tea leaves are rich in antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage, so oil rich in green tea compounds may have a protective effect that slows the appearance of aging.

The light, slightly floral scent of green tea oil also makes it perfect for aromatherapy purposes. Green tea is often added to candles, lotions and other scented products for this reason.

Using Green Tea Oil

Green tea oil is generally quite safe to use liberally. (In fact, it's so safe that it's sometimes used for cooking.) After washing your face, rub a few drops of the oil between your hands and gently pat them across your face and neck. Alternately, make your own customized facial oil by mixing green tea-infused oil with a few drops of a favorite essential oil and the contents of a vitamin E capsule. If you're using green tea essential oil, mix it with a carrier oil like coconut.

While tea oil can do wonderful things for the appearance of the skin, it can also be beneficial for your state of mind. Dab a few drops of tea oil on the wrists and breathe in the soothing scent whenever you're feeling a little stressed.