Coffee, aka the nectar of the Gods, is possibly one of my favorite drinks, behind champagne, of course! Starbucks and I have a love/hate relationship. I love their coffee, but hate their prices but my gold card keeps me going back. Occasionally, I question whether or not there’s more coffee or blood running through my veins and then realize that that is a wonderful hyperbole that could never actually happen, scientifically, so I go back to my day and continue to drink the stuff that’s keeping me awake. Since I found the beauty of coffee in college, I haven’t gone back, but recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of beauty products with coffee as an ingredient. At first, I was confused. I thought, maybe they just wanted the smell of coffee to wake people up in the morning and maybe caffeine gets absorbed through the skin and you get a contact high. But really, my speculation wasn’t enough for me, so I asked the question:
Why is coffee in my beauty products?
The more I dove in to this topic, the more I realized that there’s some science behind it, but it’s still not 100% understood.
Caffeine can reduce redness and swelling
We all know coffee is pretty high in caffeine (assuming we’re not drinking decaf, in which case, I’m just asking why?) and that’s great for a quick boost of energy in the morning, but it also helps to constrict blood vessels and reduce puffiness. Swelling, especially under the eyes, can be caused by lots of water building up in a specific area of the body. The best way to reduce overall puffiness in the body is to drink enough water, but if you’re looking for a quick fix, caffeine will do the trick! Caffeine dehydrates your body, which is why you should also make sure you’re drinking enough water when you have your morning coffee, but when you use it on a specific part of your face, it will only dehydrate that area, giving you a quick fix to your late night of drinking bags. These dehydrating properties lead to another fun application of coffee:
Caffeine temporarily dehydrates fat cells
You may have heard that you should be using products that contain coffee in order to reduce your cellulite, but why? Well, cellulite is when your skin has expanded fat cells in an area, that distort the skin around some of your connective tissue. Caffeine can be absorbed through the skin and help to reduce the size of these fat cells, temporarily making your cellulite seem to magically disappear, at least for a few hours. This dehydration is only temporary, so you’ll see results, but they’re not permanent. It’s a really great way to get a quick fix if that’s what you’re looking for!
Coffee grounds are a great exfoliant
Have you ever gotten coffee grounds on your hands while trying to make your morning cup of joe? You know that feeling when you are washing it off but it feels sort of rough? Well, that because grounds are really great for exfoliation! They are made is such a way that they have some jagged edges and are slightly rough to the touch. This helps to slough off the top layer of skin, revealing newer, healthier skin. Exfoliation in general should be used sparingly. Like any exfoliant, chemical or mechanical, using it too much can lead to raw skin getting exposed, which is a big no-no and can lead to some pretty nasty complications. Most dermatologists I’ve talked to have said you should only use exfoliants on your face about twice a week, if that.
Caffeine is an antioxidant
We’ve all heard that antioxidants are good for us, but do we really know what that means? Oxygen, or the stuff that we breathe, is a pretty important molecule in keeping us alive, but did you know that it’s also slowly killing us? Oxygen is a pretty reactive molecule and it, as well as some of it’s even more reactive molecular babies, like peroxide, can do some pretty nasty stuff, like damaging our DNA. This is bad, but it’s happening every day. And since not breathing isn’t really an option, we can use things like antioxidants to counteract the damaging effects of oxygen.
Coffee and its byproducts are really high in antioxidants. Like so high, that Dr. Joe Vinson at the University of Scranton reported that it gives us most of the antioxidants that we get in our American diet! There are, of course, caveats, like the fact that the amount of antioxidants eaten, drank, or put on your skin doesn’t necessarily correlate to the amount of antioxidants absorbed by the body or the fact that if you ate dates in the same quantities as you drank coffee, you’d get more antioxidants, but it’s a decently safe bet that your caffeine-packed face cream or body wash will provide at least some antioxidants to your skin.
So not only do coffee containing beauty products smell great, but they also give you a temporary, and potentially permanent, boost in beauty. Cool!
Do you use coffee based beauty products? Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? Leave your thoughts in the comments!