Here’s why caffeine is the get-up-and-glow boost your skin needs
While there is much debate about the pros and cons of indulging in your daily espresso, there are clear and defined up-shots to dosing the skin with topical caffeine.
Hang on, are you saying caffeine is good for my skin?!
Well, yes and no. Consuming coffee as a drink can cause skin dehydration as it is a natural diuretic. However, that same diuretic property can become a potent positive when applied on the skin because caffeine draws excess fluid out of the cells creating a tightening and toning effect.
So caffeine could shrink my under-eye bags?
If the puffiness in your under-eye area is caused by excess fluid build-up, then caffeine can work wonders. Research has shown it can also assist in moving stagnant lymph and waste cells that sit under the eye area. If you wake up a little worse for wear after last’s nights margaritas, a caffeine-spiked eye gel is just the ticket to deflating puffy peepers.
Can caffeine help with dark circles too?
That depends on what’s causing the discolouration. If your dark circles are due to a hereditary condition or are medical related, caffeine can’t counteract genetics. However, if the discolouration is a result of inflammation, pigmentation or fatigue, the antioxidants in caffeine can reduce redness and even out skin tone in the eye area.
Caffeine can reduce redness?
Yes! Caffeine constricts the tiny blood vessel in the skin, which temporarily reduces redness. When blood vessels are constricted, less blood can flow through so the skin looks less red, and there is some evidence to show that caffeine can even help rosacea sufferers. Rosacea is triggered by things like sun exposure, extreme temperatures, stress, spicy foods and alcohol (just for starters), any and all of which can cause the blood vessels near the surface of the skin to dilate. Applying caffeine helps to constrict those blood vessels and temporarily reduce the flushing in the skin. As caffeine also has antioxidant properties, it’s thought to help ward off flare-ups when exposed to redness-inducing triggers too.
So caffeine is good for sensitive skin then?
Absolutely, with one notable exception: coffee scrubs. Anything with physical granules is a no-go if your skin is sensitive, as rubbing rough granules over an already compromised defence barrier causes micro-damage (ouch!) and will only increase sensitivity issues.
If caffeine reduces redness, does it help if you’ve had too much sun exposure?
Let’s just start by saying the only way to avoid redness from the sun is to – you guessed it – avoid going in the sun in the first place. We have the highest skin cancer rates in the world in Australia, so slip, slop, slapping should be part-and-parcel of life Downunder (find out why we also recommend applying sunscreen separately to your moisturiser here). Having said that, studies have shown that the high level of antioxidants in coffee can help protect the skin from free radical damage and help to suppress the UVB-induced breakdown of collagen (the protein structures that keep skin firm).
Does that mean caffeine helps with pigmentation too?
Pigmentation is one of the physical signs of skin damage that can be caused by the sun, pollution and even stress. Caffeine on its own is a helpful ingredient, but it also boosts the effectiveness of other ingredients, including Vitamin B and C (both powerful natural antioxidants) and hyaluronic acid (a super hydrator).
So, while your daily cuppa might be the pick-me-up you need to get going in the morning, a topical dose of caffeine in your skincare might be even more than that. Not only can it reduce puffiness and under-eye darkness, it functions as a potent antioxidant that can fight free radicals before they wreak their ageing havoc on your skin. Keep up that caffeine (eye gel) habit!