How Coffee Scrubs and Drinking Caffeine Can Help Your Skin

Ahh, coffee! The aromatic, steaming hot beverage that helps us wake up in the morning and perform at our best. We all know that coffee is great for getting a jump start, but how does it affect our skin? 

Like many things, drinking or using coffee can be helpful or harmful for your skin. Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. Our environment contains multitudes of free radicals (air pollutants, toxins, etc.) that are harmful to our skin. The antioxidant compounds found in coffee can help to protect your skin and bolster its natural defenses.

Protection from ultraviolet radiation. Coffee, along with tea and cocoa, offers protection from cancer-causing UV radiation. Essentially, it helps to prevent skin cells damaged by UV rays from turning into cancer. However, much of these benefits come from the topical application of caffeine. In this article, you will find a study which says that damaged cells may self-destruct with the help of topical caffeine.

Improved circulation. Caffeine can help improve the skin’s microcirculation; when applied below the eyes, it can allow for a short-term decrease in brown discoloration. Also, under the eyes, caffeine reduces the size of blood vessels. Since it is a vasoconstrictor, vasodilator and diuretic, it causes water loss which reduces puffiness. Tannins, which are present in coffee and tea, also help to tighten skin and reduce inflammation.

Many articles suggest that caffeine applied topically will also reduce the look of cellulite. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to speed up circulation when applied to the skin.

In the areas where cellulite presents, caffeine is primarily used for its vasodilation properties for the blood vessels. It increases redness in the skin and, in turn, creates stimulation. Increasing energy and circulation in the skin is always helpful when you’re talking about pesky cellulite.


Digging a bit deeper, I found an ingredient called aminophylline which is related to the caffeine-containing theophylline and one or the other is usually present in caffeine-related skin care preparations. Theophylline is also found in cocoa and in certain types of teas, including oolong, white and green tea. 

With all of these reported benefits, it may seem like coffee should be part of anyone’s skincare routine. However, use caution: too much coffee or caffeine extracts can negatively impact your skincare efforts.

Skin dehydration. Similar to alcohol, coffee is a diuretic. This means that it increases the rate at which water is lost from the body. Proper hydration is essential for the removal of toxins and maintaining healthy collagen. Another disadvantage is that your skin can become dehydrated preventing water and nutrients from getting to the desired area.

Coffee increases stress hormones. The feeling of wakefulness that comes from drinking coffee is due to an increase in catecholamines. This also increases levels of cortisol and insulin which can promote inflammation and leave you feeling lethargic later in the day.

Coffee is very acidic. The high level of acid found in coffee can interfere with your digestive health. Drinking coffee can cause indigestion, gastric discomfort, heartburn, GERD, and even gut flora imbalance.

Interference with detoxification. Coffee contains compounds that can interfere with detoxification and drug metabolism in the liver.

Long story short, we shouldn’t increase our coffee intake in an effort to combat skin cancer and other conditions. Try green tea instead. It is rich in antioxidants while having less caffeine.


Coffee Grounds in Skin Care

Some of us are looking for cellulite relief, while others simply desire a nice body scrub. Since coffee has been touted to have antioxidant properties, it’s an easy to get go-to ingredient. Many DIY Coffee Sugar Body Scrubs on Pinterest describe using fresh coffee grounds.

If you have given up the fight against cellulite, then try an eco and budget-friendly approach and save your coffee grounds after you make a cuppa. Otherwise, if you’re still up for the good fight, grab a bag of freshly roasted coffee grounds and go to town rubbing and scrubbing.
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Shelley Skin Care
Your Guide to Good Skin


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