Everybody’s favourite wake-up call is now slowly making its way into skincare products. Earlier, it used to be that people would wake up simply for that particular ingredient. These days, it works as an energy booster for more than our body. We are, obviously, talking about caffeine. Caffeine in skincare products may be a new ingredient, but we’re here to find out if it’s a useful one.

What is caffeine?

We have published several blogs previously focussing on different ingredients that are making their way into our skincare. This week’s blog focuses on caffeine. 

Coffee is a popular beverage; according to statistics, 166 million bags (60 kg each) of coffee are consumed worldwide. It’s safe to say that coffee is a pretty big deal. It’s also because of coffee that many people know of its active ingredient, caffeine. It’s a stimulant when ingested, and luckily – it has the same effect on our skin. 

Fairly speaking, caffeine in skincare is much debated. While it can have a brightening effect on your skin, many critics have said that it’s no different than what a good night’s sleep does. Whatever the skincare community’s opinion, caffeine is still rising in popularity. There are several skincare lines such as Mcaffeine and Beigic that use caffeine as their “hero” ingredient.

It’s prudent to ask then: why the sudden interest? Well, the positive effects are mainly due to coffee bean oil. There’s also been a rising interest in reviving old at-home remedies, so that could be a contributing factor.

Benefits of caffeine in skincare

  • Contains antioxidants: Caffeine is a powerful antioxidant. It reduces the effects of the free radicals produced by your body and helps decrease fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Reduces puffiness: Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor which means that it constrains blood vessels and reduces puffiness. It’s a great topical ingredient to use for reducing dark circles, as well. Its vasoconstricting properties also mean that it improves blood circulation to your skin. 
  • Reduces skin fat: As a cosmetic ingredient, caffeine can dissolve the fat layer beneath the skin barrier. It does this by converting it to fatty acids which can then be metabolized by your body. It also stimulates blood flow to your outer skin barrier thereby reducing redness. 
  • Decreases cellulite: Caffeine has been used for years in cellulite creams: It dehydrates fat cells, making the skin smoother. 

However, there’s a lot of debate about what caffeine in skincare can or can’t do. The general consensus is that it all depends on an individual’s skin type. While the benefits of decreasing fat are circumstantial, caffeine is essential for reducing dark circles and puffiness.

How to use caffeine in skincare

This ingredient is popularly seen in scrubs and serums. It’s also a major ingredient in hair care products. Coffee scrubs have become popular to exfoliate skin and reduce ingrown hair. The action of using the granules to exfoliate skin can naturally help lymphatic drainage, giving the ingredient its detoxifying properties. 

Caffeine works best when combined with other natural ingredients, namely ginseng. Ginseng and caffeine in skincare products are targeted towards optimizing cellular energy for skin hydration. Ginseng also amplifies caffeine’s antioxidant and anti-irritant properties.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: like most ingredients, there are limits to what caffeine can do for your skin. Your genetics and lifestyle also play a role in how effective this ingredient can be. However, it does have incredible value in terms of benefits, so you can add it to your skincare routine. As always, it’s best to consult a professional first. They can help you craft a routine that works best for your skin, without damaging it. You can book an online consultation with a dermatologist on TABIIB.

I am a writer, covering the sprawling expanse of healthcare, among many other things that I love writing on. I write on healthcare because I want to do my part in informing people about the health industry, When I am not blogging about research and medicine, I enjoy reading, playing squash and backpacking around the world.

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