The next time you're looking for a good sunscreen, the answer may lie in your tea leaves.
It seems that applying extracts of green tea to the skin helps reduce sunburn and protects some cells from the ravages of ultraviolet radiation.
Dr. Craig A. Elmets and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham applied the extracts to the skin of healthy volunteers 30 minutes before they were exposed to simulated solar radiation.
Depending on how strong the concentration of the extracts, which contain substances called polyphenols, the green tea protected patches of their skin from the redness of sunburn and reduced the DNA damage stemming from ultraviolet exposure.
The stronger the green tea dose, the more protection it provided, according to the study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.