While most of us are well versed with coffee’s benefits as a beverage when consumed, few of us are as aware of how coffee extract is a powerful ingredient for your skin when applied topically.
Studies show that Coffea arabica (Green Coffee) Seed Extract contains 10 times more antioxidants than green tea. The easiest way to benefit from caffeine’s health properties is by using a facial cream containing caffeine as an active ingredient.
Coffee extract offers countless benefits for your skin, including: increasing collagen production, reducing puffiness, and slowing down aging.
Increased Collagen Production
Research shows coffee extract provides numerous skin-related benefits when applied topically, such as boosting collagen production.
Collagen is a natural protein and building block for your muscles, bones, skin, and hair, but its production declines with age.
After age 20, people generally produce 1% less collagen in their skin each year, and unless you slather SPF 35+ sunscreen 365 days a year, your skin will inevitably lose its youthful plumpness as you age due to extrinsic and intrinsic factors.
During a study when Brazilian scientists tried coffee extract on the skin, they discovered a 1.5x surge in elastin production and a 2x surge in collagen production when compared to the control groups.
Since coffee extract is highly concentrated with essential fatty acids, sterols, and vitamin E, applying it to your skin will increase your collagen production and skin elasticity over time, helping reverse the effects of aging. Collagen and elastin are essential proteins that smooth fine lines and help maintain your skin’s firmness.
Of course, like other skincare products, coffee extract works best when you’re using it regularly, meaning you will need to apply your caffeine-based cream for a few months if you want to see optimal results in the long run.
Applying coffee extract directly to your skin may also shield your skin from UV rays. More specifically, it helps protect the skin against UV exposure and slows down photoaging.
Coffee extract is packed with polyphenols and melanoidins, natural antioxidants that may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and when applied topically, it can also benefit the skin against damage from UV-B rays, which are associated with skin burning.
UV-B rays penetrate the outermost parts of your skin, and can lead to suntans, sunburns, and blistering in more severe cases.
However, this does not imply coffee extract is a substitute for sunscreen. You still need to apply sunscreen to protect against the sun’s damaging UV rays.
While it has not been scientifically proven, adding coffee extract to your skincare routine will smooth out existing wrinkles, it may protect against sun damage and slow down aging.
In a study when scientists looked into topical caffeine’s ability to protect against photoaging, or premature aging of the skin primarily from the sun’s UV rays, researchers exposed hairless mice.
The researchers applied topical caffeine on the mice thrice a week for 11 weeks. At the end of the study, they found that applying caffeine on the mice helped limit sun damage from the rays.
In conclusion, caffeine can act as a shield from sun damage and reverse the effects of photoaging.
Improved Skin Hydration
In addition to protecting your skin against sun damage, coffee extract can even help enhance your skin’s hydration.
Coffee has similar effects on the skin as hyaluronic acid and can keep the skin more hydrated “by reducing transepidermal water loss*,* a fancy way of saying the way moisture evaporates from the skin.”
In a study involving 40 female participants, a portion of the participants were given a placebo treatment, while the others were given a mixture of Coffea arabica applied topically twice per day as a facial wash and once a day as a lotion and night cream.
After 12 weeks, researchers observed significant improvements in collagen and elastin production and elevated levels of firmness, hydration, and texture in the participants who applied the coffee mixture regularly compared to the control group.
The study also concluded the participants who applied caffeine topically experienced nearly 7x more aquaglycerolporins-3 (AQP-3) and double the amount of glycosaminoglycans.
Reduced Puffiness and Inflammation
Lastly, since coffee contains the antioxidant ferulic acid, including coffee extract in your skincare routine can reduce puffiness and inflammation in your skin.
As a natural vasoconstrictor, consuming caffeine tends to constrict your blood vessels, which decreases inflammation.
If your face is feeling puffy, swelling, or inflamed, adding a small amount of coffee extract onto your skin can make a huge difference.
“Caffeine is soothing, anti-inflammatory and vasoconstrictive, which can decrease redness and puffiness,” explains certified clinical and research dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf.
Caffeine improves the microcirculation of blood in your skin, so applying coffee extract topically can temporarily reduce the appearance of under-eye bags. This is why you will often see caffeine-based creams marketed to soothe puffy or swelling eyes and skin.
A DIY hack we recommend to help reduce under-eye bags and puffiness is taking a teaspoon of used coffee grounds from your morning brew after they’ve cooled down and applying them to your under-eye and eyelid area for a few minutes.
Rinse off with tap water and gently pat dry with a clean towel. When drying off, be careful not to rub your face aggressively with your towel as this can irritate your freshly cleansed face.