What’s the Deal with Matcha Green Tea and Coffee in Natural Skincare?


Move over, Starbucks—matcha green tea and coffee aren’t just for tasty drinks anymore. These delectable natural ingredients are making a big splash in the skincare world as well… but do their skin-restoring benefits actually measure up? Here’s what the research has to say.

Does Green Tea Improve Your Skin?

As a natural skincare ingredient, research has established that green tea offers powerful anti-ageing and soothing properties. In particular, the Polyphenols in green tea show significant promise for restoring the skin’s appearance of sunburn.

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is the powerhouse antioxidant in green tea that’s believed to be responsible for its many health and appearance-improving benefits, both when consumed orally and applied topically.

Deep Dive into Matcha Green Tea: Is it Good For Your Skin?

Matcha is a form of green tea that is farmed and processed in a specific way that helps preserve its antioxidant content. It’s known to have a higher concentration of EGCG than other forms of green tea, which makes it an appealing ingredient for both foods and cosmetics.

That said, there isn’t conclusive proof that matcha is superior for skin (more comparative studies are needed). Regardless, you can rest assured that green tea and/or EGCG of any kind are a welcome addition to your skincare products.

If you’re looking for effective products to add to your daily routine, Paula’s Choice offers several exfoliants and sunscreens, among others, with skin-restoring green tea. Try our best-selling Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant—while the concentrated beta hydroxy acid (BHA) of salicylic acid penetrates into your skin to minimise and clear pores, the antioxidant green tea helps to soothe redness and skin sensitivity. For sun protection, the Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 will help to prevent premature aging of skin and provide weightless hydration while protecting your skin against UV rays.

You can also find the antioxidant EGCG in our makeup and body care line. Try the Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30 for a- multi-tasking makeup primer option. Among all of our toners for oily, dry and sensitive skin, you can try the Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner, before refining the appearance of pore size, skin texture, and fine lines with the 10% Niacinamide Booster, or 20% Niacinamide Booster for advanced users. Our Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA helps to shed built-up layers of dead skin, resulting in unbelievably smooth, younger-looking skin from the neck down.

Is Coffee Good for Skincare?

Due to its association with caffeine, coffee often shows up in products claiming to firm or lift skin. There is not a great deal of research showing caffeine has such properties; in fact, the evidence is largely anecdotal and not all that believable. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t add up—there is no research proving that coffee or caffeine of any type can tighten your sagging skin. Think about it: if that were the case, you could just apply your leftover coffee directly to your face and body skin, and see results.

But, coffee is not a throwaway ingredient: Coffee has other true benefits when applied topically to skin. For instance, research shows that Coffea arabica (coffee) seed oil can help restore skin and contribute to a healthier, smoother look and feel. This non-fragrant plant oil also appears to affect the skin in ways that lead to greater moisture retention. Likewise, coffee seed extract is a rich source of antioxidants for the skin, as is caffeine.

While more studies are needed, we’re hopeful that ongoing research will reveal that all forms of coffee have skincare benefits and will be a great addition to daily routines.

Are Coffee Scrubs Good For Your Body?

If you’re into DIY and natural skincare, you’ve likely come across body scrub recipes that use coffee grounds and coconut oil. In general, this is not a good idea because coffee grounds can be too rough on skin. A good rule of thumb is to test it out on the back of your hand first. If it feels even the tiniest bit scratchy, stop at once because abrasive scrubs will only make your skin worse in the long run if you continue to exfoliate with it.

Don’t confuse how coffee scrubs work with what an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or BHA exfoliant does. Physical scrubs simply refine the very surface of skin; they cannot remove the thick, deeper built-up layers of dead or bumpy skin that AHA and BHA can get to.

If you want daily body exfoliation that’s gentle on skin, you’ll benefit from an AHA or BHA body lotion by Paula’s Choice Skincare. Save the coffee grounds for composting or fertilising your garden.

Learn more about dry skin.

Looking for skin care with natural ingredients? Shop our Earth Sourced range here!

References for this information

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, November 2016, ePublication; and June 2012, ePublication
Rheumatology, July 2010 Epublication
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2009, pages 56–62
Food and Chemical Toxicology, April 2008, pages 1298–1307
Journal of Chromatography, September 2003, pages 173–180
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, December 2001, pages 109–141