|Suh Dae-hun, Seoul National|
University Hospital professor
Those who are suffering from acne might consider buying a pack of green tea. A research team at Seoul National University Hospital has found that an extract from the green tea leaf is very helpful in treating acne.
The research led by professor Suh Dae-hun at the hospital was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, a top journal in the field.
Acne is a very common skin disorder, especially among teenagers and young adults. Though it is not a critical disease, it is very stressful for people who are interested in how they look and emotionally sensitive. Sometimes it bothers the patient throughout life and leaves scarring on the face if not properly treated.
Acne is caused by increased sebum production, keratinization, bacteria or inflammation. Diverse drugs have been used for treatment, but these drugs often involved side effects and discomfort such as burning and irritation, or abnormalities with regard to liver enzymes and the level of cholesterol. Some medication for acne is banned for pregnant women. Hence, dermatologists have been looking for development of new medicine that can effectively treat acne with fewer side effects.
|a. Before clinical trial|
b. After eight weeks of EGCG treatment
c. Before clinical trial
d. After eight weeks of placebo application
The Seoul National University Hospital research team focused on epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol in green tea, as it has been drawing the interest of researchers in recent years for its potent anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. They found out that EGCG is effective in acne treatment — it decreases lipid production in cells, which is meaningful when considering that excessive sebum production is the main cause of acne. It also decreased the bacteria that cause acne as well as suppressing secretion of IL-1 alpha, which is involved in keratinization of hair follicles.
Clinical trials also proved the effectiveness of the green tea extract. The research team applied medicine including EGCG on one side of the cheeks of 35 patients suffering from acne, twice a day for eight weeks. On the opposite side of the cheek they applied a placebo.
The cheek where EGCG was applied saw a 79 percent decrease in non-inflammatory acne and an 89 percent drop in the inflammatory variety. Meanwhile, there was little change in the acne on the other cheek where the placebo was applied. It also showed better results compared with retinoid based medicine which decreases acne by between 57 percent and 62 percent. What is even better, there were no major side effects during the clinical trials, and patient satisfaction was high.
“There has been a clinical need for an ointment which simultaneously suppresses the diverse causes of acne, including excessive sebum production, but there was almost none. We found out through our research that EGCG, the major component of green tea, plays such role,” professor Suh said. “We proved it not only with the clinical trials but also at the molecular level,” he added.