Elma Baron, MD, is Director of the Skin Study Center at UHC and CWRU. "We found the application of white tea extract protects critical elements of the skin's immune system, " Dr. Baron says. "Similar to the way oxidation causes a car to rust, oxidative stress of the skin causes a breakdown in cellular strength and function. The white tea extract protects against this stress. This study further demonstrates the importance of researching how plant products can actually protect the skin." Dr. Baron worked with Seth Stevens, MD, principal investigator for the study.
As part of the study, scientists applied a white tea extract cream to one patch of skin on the subject's buttock (skin that is not ordinarily exposed to much sunlight), while another area was left unprotected. Both areas were then exposed to artificial sunlight. Researchers then reapplied the white tea extract to the area previously coated. Three days later the scientists compared the patches of skin on a cellular level.
Here's what they looked for: In the immune system, the Langerhans cells in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) are the outermost reach of the immune system, and are the first to recognize foreign agents. They are the sentinel cells or watchdog cells, essential in detecting germs and mutated proteins produced by cancerous cells; but, because of their location, the Langerhans cells are very sensitive to damage by sunlight. Scientists in the study found the white tea extract protected against the Langerhans cell oblite
Contact: Eric Sandstrom
University Hospitals of Cleveland