Remember how your mother would stop you from drinking from her cup of tea when you were a kid, saying you will become dark if you have tea? Well, call it just an excuse to keep kids away from tea, a lot of us still continue to think that drinking tea everyday indeed makes us dark. So, is it true? Well, let’s find out—
What determines your skin color?
There’s a natural pigment in your skin known as melanin, which determines your skin colour. Melanin is genetic. There’s no scientific evidence that links consumption of tea with darkening of skin. So, in case the myth is still engraved in your mind, it’s time to let it go for good.
The benefits of drinking tea
- Tea in all forms contain a lot of antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that are good for the body.
- Antioxidants help protect our cells against free radicals and decrease our risks of developing heart disease.
- Studies say that certain teas like chamomile tea and hibiscus tea have the potential to fight certain health concerns. While the former is linked with fighting diabetes and kidney damage, the latter has been linked with lowering hypertension.
- Research also suggests that certain types of tea help with weight loss and also have some strong anti-cancer properties.
The downside of drinking too much tea
- Despite being a beverage, over-consumption of tea can lead to dehydration and when you’re dehydrated, your skin automatically looks dry and dull. This is often confused with skin darkening.
- Although tea contains fewer amounts of caffeine than coffee, too much tea can lead to the general side-effects associated with caffeine. These include headaches, stress, insomnia, and dizziness.
- When you drink large amounts of tea on an empty stomach, chances are rife you may experience some nausea.
- Having too much caffeine during pregnancy may lead to low birth weight and intrauterine growth restriction.
What causes darkening of the skin?
While you must be relieved to know that drinking tea on a regular basis has no connection with skin darkening, what you should know is factors that can.
Let’s start with the environmental factors:
Sun exposure: When you step out in the sun without necessary precautions like sufficient clothing and a sunscreen with SPF 35 or above, you subject yourself to the risk of tanning. Sun exposure increases the melanin production in your body, which then makes your skin tone get darker than normal.
Pollution: Cigarette smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and other toxins in the atmosphere can induce oxidative stress on your skin. This disrupts the balance between the free radicals and antioxidants in your body, and can cause skin damage like premature aging, hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), etc.
Some of the hormonal factors that can cause skin darkening include conditions like:
- Hyperthyroidism, a condition when the thyroid gland becomes overactive
- Intake of oral contraceptives
- Addison’s disease, wherein there’s a decrease in the production of hormones, caused by adrenal glands
- Cushing’s disease, wherein there’s an over-circulation of corticosteroids
In some cases, sudden darkening of some areas of skin in the body, a condition known as Acanthosis nigricans, can be an indication of an underlying health condition like diabetes, hypertension, and even PCOS in women.