Treat Sunburns With Tea (and Other Tips)

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Sipping tea just for its antioxidant punch is so last millennium. Here are some of the best, most unusual, and generally awesome uses for tea that don’t involve sipping. 

Tea Time — Your Action Plan

Green tea has plenty of skin-protecting benefits — hence its use as a common ingredient in skin creams — but black tea could be the answer to curing a nasty sunburn [1]. Gently applying chilled black tea to the affected area will help soothe the skin, and the tea’s tannins can help speed the body down its road to recovery. Cooled chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat skin affected by sunburns and irritants like poison ivy [2]. For severe cases of skin irritation, though, it’s best to seek medical advice — and avoid these topical solutions altogether if the skin is broken or cracked.

Got a pesky mouth sore? Applying a used tea bag to the spot can help relieve the area and reduce inflammation by soaking up excess saliva. Biting down on the bag can also keep a wandering tongue from pestering the wound and causing further irritation (not to mention accidentally biting down on it… ouch).

For those who just can’t get enough tea by sipping, adding a few cups of brewed black tea to a marinade will help tenderize beef before cooking (thanks again those tannins!). The jury’s out on whether tea or coffee makes the better marinade, but that’s what experimenting is for, right?

And in case those fragrances building up at the gym are less than ideal, throw some dry tea bags in running shoes or a smelly bag when not in use. The tea bags will help absorb the musky scents while imparting some of their own — more pleasant — aroma.

(Also Check Out: 54 Unexpected Ways to Hack Your Health)

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About the Author
David Tao
I'm the chief research officer for Greatist.com and a greatist since 2011. Originally from Kentucky but now calling NYC home.

Works Cited

  1. Green tea prevents non-melanoma skin cancer by enhancing DNA repair. Katiyar, S.K. Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Birmingham, AL. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 2011 Apr 15;508(2):152-8. Epub 2010 Nov 19.
  2. Chamomile: an anti-inflammatory agent inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by blocking RelA/p65 activity. Bhaskaran, N., Shukla, S., Srivastava, J.K., et al. Department of Urology, Case Western Reserve University. International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 2010 Dec;26(6):935-40.

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