The health benefits of green tea are well publicized. This increasingly popular drink is packed with antioxidants that combat harmful free radicals, deliver cancer-fighting flavonoids and disrupt the production of bacteria. These same antioxidants also benefit the hair and scalp in multiple ways.
Stimulates Hair Growth
Incorporating green tea into your diet may help combat or help prevent hair loss. One of the most powerful antioxidants in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies conducted by the Saitama Cancer Center Research Institute in Japan and the Seoul National University College of Medicine both show evidence that EGCG stimulates hair growth. The Saitama study reports that green tea inhibits the production of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), a molecule that has been linked to cancer, arthritis and hair loss. In the Seoul study, hair follicles were treated with EGCG in a lab setting. Test cultures showed increased hair growth and hair follicle elongation when compared to control cultures. A green tea tincture containing 10 percent EGCG was also applied to the scalps of human volunteers, yielding the same results. Green tea tincture can be purchased at health food stores or online (see link below).
A high green tea intake also leads to higher levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that binds to testosterone. Free testosterone traveling through the bloodstream is able to enter hair follicles and be converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that causes male pattern hair loss. But testosterone that is attached to SHBG cannot be converted into DHT.
Soothes Dandruff and Psoriasis
Research also suggests that green tea can help with scalp conditions such as dandruff and psoriasis by soothing skin and reducing inflammation. Using a shampoo that contains green tea or using a green tea rinse after shampooing can help reduce scalp irritation. Many commercial anti-dandruff shampoos contain carcinogens, making green tea products a safer alternative. When choosing a green tea shampoo, look for one in which green tea appears close to the top of the list of ingredients and that does not contain harmful chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens, which could contribute to scalp irritations.
Strengthens and Conditions
Green tea also contains vitamin C, vitamin E and panthenol, which are all common ingredients in hair conditioner. Vitamin E restores dry or damaged hair, while vitamin C guards against damage from UV radiation. Panthenol, a provitamin, strengthens and softens hair and prevents split ends. Choose hair products that contain real green tea extract or EGCG.