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iVillage: Global Beauty: Skincare Traditions from Around the World

South Africa: Rooibos Tea as a Skin Tonic

In South African traditional medicine, a daily cup of rooibos—a low-tannin, caffeine-free red tea indigenous to the country’s small Cedarberg mountain region—is said to keep eczema, psoriasis and rashes at bay. And Western science has lent its support to the practice, showing in recent studies that aspalathin, a flavanoid unique to the tea, helps protect cells from inflammation and age-related skin damage.

Cultural practice: South Africans have brewed rooibos for generations, enjoying both the vibrant red version we’re familiar with in the U.S., as well as a younger, green rooibos. Locals also use soaps and lotions infused with the tea and, for severe skin conditions, hospitals offer rooibos baths as a topical treatment.

(CREDIT: AFP/Getty Images)
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