Can Caffeine Improve My Skin?

Patient Expert

Reader: I see caffeine in so many beauty products now. I thought caffeine was bad for your body because it dehydrates you. Does it have skin benefits I didn't know about?

According to New Scientist magazine, 90% of North Americans consume some form of caffeine on a daily basis. Whether it's coffee, tea, soda, or an energy drink, most of us need at least a bit of a jolt to rev up in the morning or push through the mid-day slump.

Our liberal caffeine consumption has some negative effects. Caffeine does have a dehydrating effect and can leach calcium from your bones. Depending on your overall health and your body's sensitivity to the drug, you may experience sleep disturbance. In addition, too much caffeine over time can lead to ulcers, headaches, anxiety, and acid reflux.

On the whole, however, most doctors are siding with caffeine's positive benefits, particularly for the skin. Whether it imparts antioxidants or reduces inflammation, caffeine may be waking up more than just your brain.

Over the past decade, scientists have concluded that caffeine carries enormous antioxidant benefits. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition performed a study that found a serving of coffee held more antioxidants than a serving of several fruits, including oranges and blueberries. In fact, coffee (and the caffeine it contains) may be the most widespread source of antioxidant intake for the average American. Both orally and topically, caffeine appears to provide antioxidant protection from free radicals. Topix Replenix Cream with Soy uses soy and green tea ingredients to combat aging and minimize free radical damage.

Additionally, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition performed studies that suggest that coffee can decrease inflammation and can also help decrease the risk of heart disease. Caffeine constricts small blood vessels in the body, essentially easing inflammation. This anti-inflammatory impact makes a difference when it comes to eye treatments. By constricting the blood vessels in the delicate eye area, caffeine can help temporarily reduce puffiness. Origins No Puffery eye gel can be used either as a mask or a moisturizer. Murad's Essential-C Eye Cream adds Vitamin C to boost the antioxidant and deflating benefits of caffeine.

Caffeine's anti-inflammatory and vasoconstriction effects are also a reason why it's used as a popular ingredient in anti-cellulite creams. Many anti-cellulite products, from high-end to drugstore, boast that they can reduce cellulite with consistent use of these topical skin creams. Unfortunately, cellulite is simply a specific type of fat cell and can't be dissolved or smoothed out with a skin cream. Since caffeine dehydrates the body, some people see minor temporary improvement when caffeine's diuretic effect kicks in. Unfortunately, despite these small, short-term improvements, there is no independent research to back up the benefit of caffeine as a cellulite-dissolving force in the long run.

If you want to take advantage of caffeine's skin benefits, stick with products that deliver on their promises. Skin care and eye creams will deliver antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, but avoid shelling out for pricey creams that promise to rid your body of cellulite. In addition, remember to stay hydrated to counteract caffeine's drying effects.