Coffee and your skin

Here’s one thing you don’t hear everyday: caffeine is a vasoconstrictor.

Of all the things I had heard about coffee in the past, I had never come across anyone talking about coffee in relation to skincare. So, as someone who likes a challenge often does, I set myself a challenge: to find the connection, relation, association, even a smile, between coffee and skin. I was quite amazed to find that for quite a few years already, other people who must have a similar fascination with coffee beans to me has already begun exploring this untapped resource. Although I have not come across any in stores yet, I am quite certain that in the near future coffee-related skincare products will fill the shelves of chemist and beauty parlours. So I am sure you are dying to know- why and how is coffee good for your skin?

I had noticed coffee and caffeine and coffee beans being discussed in relation to anti oxidants in the past. I had a hunch that because coffee was slowly but surely making itself a permanent place on the ‘things that are good for you’ page, that the antioxidants it contained might mean something in relation to skincare. Not really clear as to how the antioxidants get from the coffee bean and into your skin, I decided to investigate. So apparently caffeine is substance known as a vasoconstrictor. Vasoconstrictors work to strengthen and tighten skin complexions. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels, which allows for increased blood flow through the veins. Vasoconstriction on the other hand has the opposite affect, working to tighten and firm areas and organs such as skin. Vasoconstrictors are one of the most sought after substances for skincare lotions today and guess what? Coffee beans have loads of it.

During the years where various people tried to bring the poor old coffee bean down, there was lots of crying out about coffee being a diuretic, which effectively works to dehydrate your body. Now, as studies and research have advanced, the fact that coffee is a diuretic has actually worked positively for it, as diuretics are excellent for cellulite reduction. Drawing the fat and extra water out of fat cells, diuretics reduce the visible effects these cells have on your skin, namely unpleasant-looking cellulite. As a result, traces of caffeine can now be found in various creams, lotions and oils that promise to reduce the appearance of cellulite. As caffeine flushes through our systems and usually works for a handful of hours keeping us alert, it needs to be said that caffeine is no miracle cure for cellulite. At best, its effects work in days at a time, and regular application is required.

The antioxidant level in coffee is something that has pleasantly surprised scientists throughout the world. Yet it is still unclear as to how the body actually takes up these antioxidants from the coffee we drink. So I would assume that the same issue lies with skincare products. It cannot be proven that antioxidants found in coffee will automatically translate to our blood or skin when applied through lotions and the like. At best, the smell of the products that resemble a freshly brewed coffee would by association put us in a better mood and therefore perhaps make our skin glow!

So, I leave you here to decide for yourselves. The true benefits of coffee and caffeine skincare-wise are perhaps still to come. As a vasoconstrictor, a diuretic and a holder of antioxidants, coffee beans sure have a lot of potential to do great things. I think it all comes down to the process and application, which we still need to work on. Until then, keep your eyes open for beauty products that contain our favourite bean – or at least resemble the smell of them!