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Ingredient Spotlight: Caffeine

Caffeine can do wonders to power you through a long day, but did you know it can also perk up your skin? When you’re having your morning cup of coffee or tea, have you ever thought about the benefits of using caffeine in your morning skincare routine? While it’s been widely debated for many years whether or not caffeine is actually good for your body, research has shown that drinking two cups of coffee a day can reduce your chance of liver cancer by a third.

In the words of Lorelai Gilmore, “I need caffeine. Whatever form you’ve got. I haven’t had any all day. I’ll drink it, shoot it, eat it, snort it, whatever form it’s in. Gimme!” Even if you’re quite not on the same level of a Gilmore Girl when it comes to your coffee obsession (or even if you don’t like drinking it at all!), the benefits of utilizing products with caffeine in your skincare are definitely something to talk about.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine naturally occurs in over 60 plants — including coffee beans, tea leaves and cacao pods, and is most popularly consumed through coffee, tea, soda and chocolate. Caffeine can also be man-made, which is what’s commonly used in energy drinks and even some non-drowsy cold medications.

How does caffeine work in skincare?

For starters, let’s clarify that drinking your caffeine doesn’t have any direct, proven impact on your skin, nor can you rub coffee beans directly on your face for results either. But when it’s formulated within skincare, caffeine works to target several common skin conditions by stimulating blood flow and boosting circulation. This can aid in increasing collagen production in your skin, making caffeine an excellent addition to anti-aging products. Just like caffeine stimulates your system when you drink it in the morning, it can stimulate your skin to diminish dark under eye circles, puffiness and visible purple or blue blood vessels. These can be genetic, signs of aging, or just result from a lack of sleep, but regardless of their cause, caffeine-infused eye creams or serums could be the “fix” your eye area needs.

Caffeine is high in antioxidants, which can help protect your skin from signs of premature aging. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, to reduce redness from rosacea or acne, and can even reverse pesky dark spots from UV damage thanks to too much time in the sun.

Caffeine is also a diuretic, and when applied to your skin it can shrink and dehydrate fat cells. This creates a tighter, more toned appearance, and can be beneficial if you have a sagging décolleté or cellulite on your stomach or thighs. Spas that offer body wraps usually include some sort of cream or mask that has caffeine as a main ingredient.

In a 2011 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 76% of those using a fat-burning cream that contained caffeine and green tea lost an average of 0.5” inches off of their thigh circumference. Caffeine-infused creams and serums are not a long-term solution to cellulite, but they can help to provide a smoother appearance for special occasions or bikini season.

Who benefits from caffeine in skincare?

If your skin is showing signs of aging, premature or otherwise, you may want to try out some products with caffeine. Your entire body can benefit from caffeine infused products, from banishing puffy under eyes to removing the appearance of cellulite on your tummy and thighs. You can look for ingredient lists that contain “caffeine” but coffee, green tea, tea leaves, green coffee beans, and/or cacao may be listed as well.

The effects of being sleep-deprived and overworked not only show in your day-to-day performance, but also in your skin. Caffeine might be just the thing to help perk you up — on the inside and out!

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