Some claim that coffee does wonders for your skin, while others say that it wreaks havoc and causes horrible breakouts. So, which is which? Is coffee good or bad for skin health? Let’s grind the facts and find out how coffee really affects your skin.
What’s In That Cup Of Joe?
Most people drink coffee to get the energy boost that caffeine provides. But coffee isn’t all caffeine. It also contains other active compounds that are beneficial to our health.
A typical cup of joe usually contains around 100mg of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that’s known to help improve memory and speed up brain function. In fact, according to substantiated scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority, caffeine consumption helps increase alertness and attention. However, caffeine has no proven effects on reducing body fat and weight, and excessive amounts of it can have adverse effects on the body, including disruptions on sleep patterns.
Coffee is considered as a major dietary source of antioxidants. Blood antioxidant levels tend to increase significantly after the consumption of coffee. This is because it is rich in polyphenols such as eugenol, gamma-tocopherol, and isoeugenol. It also contains tannic acid, chlorogenic acids, and coumaric acid. All these and a slew of other antioxidants fight free radicals that harm healthy cells. They also aid in improving skin health and providing protection against harmful UV rays.
Chlorogenic acid is the main antioxidant in coffee. It helps reduce inflammation and provides protection against bacterial strains. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is believed to prevent cardiovascular diseases. It’s also known to inhibit the absorption of glucose in the digestive system, which helps even out insulin levels.
Vitamins And Minerals
When coffee is roasted, it becomes a rich source of niacin (vitamin B3), which can help prevent the growth of some types of skin cancers. Aside from niacin, coffee also contains other micronutrients, including choline, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients have plenty of collective potential benefits to skin health, such as reviving skin elasticity, boosting skin moisture, improving cellular activities, and easing acne and other skin problems.
Cafestol And Kahweol
While the previous components we’ve mentioned generally have good effects on the body, cafestol and kahweol aren’t as beneficial. These two are oily substances called diterpenes and are known to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. However, you won’t need to worry too much about this if you use a paper filter when making coffee. The oily droplets are trapped by filters and don’t get into your brewed coffee.
The Benefits (And 1 Side Effect) Of Coffee On Your Skin
Whether applied topically or consumed as a beverage, coffee has beneficial effects on skin health. However, it may also have some adverse effects. Here are some of the good and not so good effects of coffee on the skin:
Exfoliates The Skin
Used as a scrub, coffee grounds exfoliate the skin by sloughing away dead skin cells. Aside from the mechanical exfoliation, acids in coffee also provide some chemical exfoliation.
Brightens The Skin
Coffee has high anti-oxidant content, which makes it effective in brightening the skin. Studies have also shown that coffee helps inhibit the formation of melanin. The brightening effect is best achieved when coffee is applied directly to the skin through masks, scrubs, or pastes from coffee grounds.
Improves Skin Elasticity
A cup of coffee provides antioxidants that fight free radicals in our bodies. Also, caffeine’s stimulating effect increases blood flow and circulation. This helps improve skin elasticity and the production of healthy skin cells, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Relieves Dryness And Hydrates Skin
Polyphenols in coffee relieve skin dryness and prevent loss of moisture. Regular but moderate consumption of coffee polyphenols may help improve skin hydration and may help alleviate mildly xerotic skin.
Minimizes The Appearance Of Cellulite
Studies on the efficacy of a slimming product that contains caffeine, forskolin, carnitine, retinol, and tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine have shown that caffeine stimulates the release of glycerol. The regular use of the product significantly decreases stubborn cellulite and improves skin tone.
Lightens Dark Under Eyes
The caffeine in coffee can cause blood vessels beneath the skin to dilate, thereby improving blood flow. This minimizes the appearance of puffy eyes and lightens dark circles under the eyes.
Protects The Skin Against UV Damage
Caffeine is a known inhibitor of some cellular processes, including the activation of the ATR enzyme, of which mutations are linked to some forms of cancer. While further studies on humans are still being conducted, caffeine has shown potential in preventing the formation of UV-induced skin cancers. As a topical sunscreen ingredient, it also absorbs UV light and protects the skin against UV damage.
Protects Skin From Photoaging
According to a scientific study, coffee consumption may reduce hyperpigmentation. It reports that people who consume coffee have fewer age spots on the face, suggesting that polyphenols and CGAs may help protect skin from photoaging.
Potential Undesirable Effect: May Aggravate Existing Acne
Coffee might worsen acne if consumed without moderation. Caffeine tends to increase cortisol levels which can, in turn, trigger sebum production. Eventually, this may exacerbate existing acne.
Coffee In Skincare Products
Because of its anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and cellulite-busting properties, coffee is used as the main ingredient in a plethora of skincare and treatment products.
Lush has a coffee-infused mask that can be used on your face and all over the body.
Maak Lab provides cleansing and moisturizing for the face, body, and hair in a teeny bar soap with ground coffee.
For those battling dark circles and puffy eyes, there’s the popular 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream.
These are just some examples amongst 100’s of skincare products that incorporate some element of coffee in their makeup.
DIY Coffee Skincare
While you’ll never run out of choices for coffee-based skin products, you can also just prepare your own at home. Being a typical item in most pantries, coffee can be easily mixed with other pantry essentials for quick and easy DIY skincare.
For instance, a combination, in equal parts, of olive oil and coffee grounds can be used as a scrub and a mask. Just apply the mixture to your face, leave it on for 15 minutes or so, then rinse well with warm water.
You can also mix any leftover grinds from your coffee maker with your favorite body wash and use it as a scrub to slough off dead skin cells.
Brewing The Right Balance
To maximize the benefits coffee brings while avoiding the potentially negative ones, consume it in moderate amounts only. Also, it helps to be mindful of the type of coffee beans you use and the other substances you add to your cup.
How much is too much?
As with anything, too much coffee can have harmful effects. Some studies suggest that only up to 4–5 cups of coffee daily provides optimal benefits without raising any health concern. Drinking more than 5 cups in a day is not advisable, as excessive coffee consumption may have adverse effects, such as tachycardia, anxiety, insomnia, and nervousness. To be safe, avoid consuming high doses of caffeine in one sitting.
It’s All In The Beans
The most common beans you’d find in stores are the Arabica and Robusta. If you prefer a naturally sweeter taste, opt for Arabica roasts. For more caffeine power, Robusta is your best bean. To get the antioxidant benefits of coffee without the energy-boosting caffeine, choose decaffeinated coffee products.
Sometimes Sweet Isn’t All Nice
How you drink your coffee also affects its nutritional value and health effects. If you’re acne-prone, you might want to go black or reduce added sugars and dairy. Sugar spikes insulin levels and dairy affects hormone production. Both of these can trigger acne and make it worse.
To make the most out of the benefits of coffee, brew freshly ground, high-quality beans. Cut back on creamer and sweeteners or avoid them completely. Brewed black coffee just might be the healthiest cup of joe to have.
Perk Up With A Cup Of Coffee
Consumed in moderation, coffee provides more benefits to skin health than harm. As long as your intake is within healthy limits, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t perk each day up with a cup of coffee.