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Java Minute for Your Skin?

That morning cup of coffee may be doing much more than just waking you up. It could be enhancing your appearance.

According to recent studies, caffeine—found in things like coffee, tea, and chocolate—is a substance that warrants respect when it comes to its role in the health of our skin and hair. Increasingly showing up as a key ingredient in creams, lotions and shampoos, caffeine boasts numerous beneficial attributes when it comes to keeping us looking and feeling our best.

Penetration of the Outer Skin Barrier

Unlike many ingredients, caffeine is able to deliver its benefits deeper into the skin by penetrating the skin barrier. It can also increase the efficacy of other products by allowing them to go beyond the skin’s surface layer.

Sun Protection

Numerous studies have linked oral consumption of caffeine to a reduction in skin cancer. More recent findings are linking the topical application of caffeine to the direct absorption of UV light. As a result, sunscreen manufacturers like Blue Lizard and SkinMedica now include caffeine in their list of active ingredients.


When you don’t want your physique to be quite as full bodied as your coffee, caffeine could help. Caffeine reduces the fat content within your cells when applied topically.  Like many cellulite treatments, it is a temporary solution and has to be accompanied by exercise to be truly effective long-term.

Hair Growth

A study in the International Journal of Dermatology showed that caffeine stimulates the hair follicle and helps to block the hormone responsible for hair loss. To be effective, the leave-on hair products have to contain a significant amount of caffeine. Up to 50 cups of coffee would have to be consumed to obtain similar results.


For many of us in North America, coffee is one of the most significant sources of antioxidants in our diet. Free radicals can cause us to age more quickly. Oral consumption of caffeine in drinks like coffee, tea, and cola has been shown to exhibit strong antioxidant activity against harmful free radicals.


The same antioxidants that fight free radicals have also been shown to reduce inflammation, inside and out. Late night? Eye creams containing caffeine can be highly effective at providing relief from puffy, swollen eyes.

Will That Be Skincare ‘For Here’ or ‘To Go’?

Decaffeinated drinkers can smile too. They may not get the mood-enhancing and other benefits of caffeine, but the good news is that the number of antioxidants doesn’t seem to vary whether we choose to drink caffeinated or decaffeinated beverages. The biggest decision may be where to drink it!

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