Black and Green Tea for Sunburn: What Medical Science Says

black tea for sunburn

Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, just behind water. In addition to soothing our soul, it heals the skin as well.

Green and black tea can naturally heal and soothe sunburned skin.

Green Tea for Sunburn

Green tea has natural components called Polyphenols. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-neoplastic (anti-cancer) abilities. These abilities help reduce swelling and inflammation. They also help with the healing and regeneration of sunburnt skin cells.

Medical Research Says Tea Has Beneficial Role Against Sunburn and Heart Diseases

Green tea for sunburn, in a transparent cup. Some green tea plants on table

When we drink tea, polyphenols go to our intestines, where they get absorbed in the blood. Later they reach the skin to prevent the harmful effects of sunburn.

A research was conducted to understand the positive effect of green tea on sunburn. The participants were given Polyphenol quantity found in 5 cups of green tea. Later on, those Polyphenols, which were taken by mouth, were found in the skin and blisters of participants.

It was found that polyphenols help reduce swelling caused by sunburn.

Not only does green tea help heal the sunburned skin faster, but it also protects against future sun damage. It also protects against various heart diseases.

Research also suggests green tea helps protect the skin against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays which are responsible for sunburn and, in rare cases, skin cancer.

Black Tea for Sunburn

A black tea bag in transparent tea cup

Sunburn damages the skin through oxidation. Oxidation is destructive stress to the skin cells. That’s why we see the peeling of dead skin cells.

Black tea has excellent antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. It helps against oxidative damage to the skin caused by sunburn.

A research study revealed that black tea has a similar effect as green tea in protecting the skin against harmful sunrays and sunburn.

Another research showed black tea offers better protection against UVB rays of the sun, which are more harmful and cause more severe sunburn than UVA rays.

Black tea also helps reduce swelling and redness.

Role of Green vs. Black Tea in Sunburn

Both green and black tea are obtained from the same plant leaves called Camellia sinensis. Plant leaf processing and treatment turns it into green or black tea.

Both have similar benefits. However, green tea has better antioxidant abilities. Some studies have also suggested black tea as a better option for sun protection.

We can safely conclude both black and green tea offer great healing and soothing effects for sunburned skin.

Production of Green Tea

Tea plant leaves are heated and dried quickly. It preserves most of the antioxidant properties of the leaves. It preserves valuable extracts like polyphenols from being dried up and lost in this process.

The major component of green tea is a polyphenol called catechin. It is a potent antioxidant.

Production of Black Tea

Production of black tea contains an additional step called fermentation. In this step, polyphenols are converted into Theaflavins and Thearubigens. These give reddish-black color to the tea. These components also have a positive sun protective role.

Infographic-Tips on how to use Black-and-Green-Tea-for-Sunburn

Black Tea Bath for Sunburn

The application of black tea on the skin can be miraculous. It not only protects against cell damage and sunburn but also prevents swelling and skin redness.

Black tea extract can be used in many forms, like creams or gels, but a tea bath is one of the most convenient and soothing methods.

Black tea baths can also be used for already sun burnt skin. They reduce swelling and redness. They also help cells regenerate faster by reducing oxidative damage caused by the sun’s UV rays.

Tea Bath Before Sun Exposure Reduces Sun Damage Significantly

In medical research, green tea extract called OM24 was applied on one side of the buttock’s skin. The participants were exposed to sunlight for 34 days.

Surprisingly, the side which was applied with green tea extract was 39% less damaged by sunburn than the other side.

In another study, participants who applied green tea extract before going out in the sun had 66% fewer sunburned skin cells.

Tea Bath Helps Soothe and Heal Sunburned Skin

A black or green tea bath after sunburn can heal skin faster and reduce swelling and pain.

  • Soak 10-15 black tea bags in a bathtub
  • Let the tea extract mix in the water
  • Take a bath for 15-20 minutes and gently massage sunburned areas
  • Repeat once or twice daily till you get sunburn relief

Alternatively, You can check Epsom Salt bath here which can also provide great sunburn relief.

Green Tea vs. Sunscreen in Prevention of Sunburn

Green tea acts as natural protection against sunburn and helps reduce sun damage to the skin.

When we take a tea bath or apply creams that contain Polyphenols (found in the tea), it acts as a natural barrier against sunburn.

Polyphenols in green tea don’t absorb the sun’s UV rays like sunscreen does. It has a different mechanism. That’s why people allergic to sunscreen can use tea baths or polyphenol creams as an alternative.

However, the effectiveness of tea extract has yet to be determined by research compared to commercial sunscreen. Tea baths or polyphenol creams may not completely replace regular sunscreen.

Black Tea Bags for a Sunburn

Tea bags can be applied directly to sunburned areas to achieve anti-inflammatory results.

  • Put a few black tea bags in half a cup of tepid water
  • Let it soak for a few minutes, and take it out
  • Cool it down; you can put it in a refrigerator
  • Apply directly on the sunburned area for 10 minutes

Note: If the sunburned area is more extensive, you can remove the tea from the tea bag and spread it over the skin. If that doesn’t suffice, you can take a tea bath instead.

In the case of sunburned eyes, a cool tea bag can be placed directly on the eye.

You can also use green tea bags to achieve the same results.

Black Tea Compresses

  • Soak ten black tea bags in a mid-sized warm water bowl (1-1.5 liter)
  • Cool down the water mixture
  • Soak a soft washcloth or towel in water
  • Apply cool compresses on the sunburned area for 10-15 minutes
  • For the face, use a soft cotton pad instead of a washcloth
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

Chamomile Tea for Sunburn

Camomile tea grains in a jar

While black and green tea are obtained from the same plant, the chamomile tree has a different plant family (Asterales). Camomile tea is formed by drying up the flowers of the Chamomile plant.

More research-based evidence is needed to support its role in skincare and sunburn treatment and protection.

Some research studies have shown its use in sleep and anxiety. It also contains some valuable polyphenols with a skin protective role similar to green and black tea.

Benefits of Chamomile Tea

medical study indicates it is helpful for:

  • Relief of sunburn
  • Reduces swelling
  • Helps repair dead skin cells
  • Reduces skin peeling
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Prevents high blood pressure and various allergies
  • Reduces anxiety and depression

Different Ways to Use Chamomile Tea for Sunburn

Chamomile tea can be used just like green tea in the following ways for sunburn relief:

  • Direct consumption as regular tea
  • Chamomile tea bath
  • Direct tea bag use on the skin
  • Chamomile tea mixture with cold compresses

Earl Grey Tea for Sunburn

Earl Grey tea is made by mixing bergamot oil with black tea. Bergamot oil contains a polyphenol called flavonoid.

In addition to all the benefits of black tea, earl grey tea offers the following:

  • Prevention against heart diseases
  • Digestive system benefits
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Improve immune system

However, there needs to be more research pointing toward the benefits mentioned above.


Black tea and green tea both offer excellent soothing and healing against sunburn. They contain polyphenols which are very beneficial for reducing swelling and redness. They increase the rate of cell repair and regeneration through antioxidant abilities.

Tea also prevents sun damage and acts like sunscreen against UVA and UVB rays.

Black and green tea both offer related benefits. Tea baths, cool tea compresses, direct tea bag application, and cool tea brew application on sunburned skin are the different ways black or green tea can relieve sunburn.

You can see some more methods of sunburn relief here.


Does black tea help sunburn?

Yes, black tea provides sunburn relief and helps with pain and swelling. Antioxidants found in black tea reduce inflammation and redness.

Which is the best method of using black tea on sunburn?

It depends on the area which is sunburned. If the area is small, direct tea bags can be applied. If the area is extensive, a tea bath or cool compresses in the tea mixture can be used.

Dr Ahmed

Dr Ahmed is a medical graduate of National University of Medical Science. He has 7+ years experience in medical writing.

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