Gents, your double shot latte habit isn’t the only way a hit of caffeine can perk you up. We’re talking about caffeine in skincare and what this versatile ingredient can do for your skin.
What is caffeine?
Before we jump into the benefits of caffeine in men’s skincare, let’s take a look at what this ingredient actually is. Caffeine is a heterocyclic compound found in the leaves, beans, and fruit of various plant species.
On the food and beverage front, you’ll find caffeine in coffee, chocolate, and tea but it’s also used in the formulation of personal care, shaving, and skincare products.
So, how does that daily cup (or 3) of joe translate into a topical treatment that benefits your skin?
Fights signs of photoageing
When skin is exposed repeatedly to ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun it speeds up the appearance of wrinkles and skin discolouration – also known as photoageing. The damage from UV rays alters the skin’s normal structure causing it to age prematurely or worse, contribute to skin cancer.
A 2013 study found caffeine, when applied topically, can help protect cells against UV exposure and slow the process of photoaging of the skin.
The Journal of Investigative Dermatology also revealed that the topical application of caffeine may kill off some cells damaged by ultraviolet light. These damaged cells can trigger various skin cancers and through their removal, caffeine can play a role in preventing at-risk cells from spiraling into a more dangerous issue.
Using caffeine in skincare isn’t the green flag to skip sunscreen though. Applying broadspectrum, SPF30 daily is your skin’s number one defence against the harmful effects of UV.
Calm rosacea flare-ups and skin redness
Dealing with rosacea? Caffeine in skincare can help reduce the appearance of redness and calm flare-ups.
Rosacea causes blood vessels in the face to become more visible and often produces small, red bumps on the skin. Symptoms can flare up and last for weeks – sometimes months – before calming down again.
Caffeine can offer relief. It’s a known vasoconstrictor ingredient which means it has the ability to constrict blood vessels, and slow blood flow to an inflamed area, helping reduce redness and puffiness.
A word of caution here, if you’re dealing with rosacea, using a very grainy coffee scrub to exfoliate may not be your best bet. Active physical exfoliation may serve to irritate and inflame rosacea – more so it’s worth steering clear of harsher, gritty coffee-based scrubs.
Caffeine is chock-full of skin saving antioxidants
One of the biggest benefits of caffeine in skincare is its ability to fight free radicals thanks to an impressive amount of antioxidant activity. Free radicals and antioxidants? Stay with us for a quick science lesson on the ‘free radical theory of ageing’
Free radicals wreak havoc on skin by trying to grab an electron from an atom in a healthy skin cell. When a skin cell loses a healthy atom it becomes unstable and the process damages the skin’s DNA. This, in turn, quickens the pace at which your skin visibly ages – wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging.
Free radicals are created by pollution, poor diet and lifestyle choices, UV rays, and also occur as part of the body’s normal function.
Antioxidants solve the problem! They do this by donating an electron to a free radical, meaning the free radical doesn’t have to steal an electron from a healthy skin cell.
Caffeine is a rich source of antioxidants including hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols, which are especially beneficial for skin. Polyphenols are a group of about 4,000 antioxidants and when applied topically, can rejuvenate and repair skin including minimising the signs of aging such fine lines.
Reduce the appearance of dark undereye circles and puffiness
The skin surrounding your eye is thinner than the rest of your face. The blood vessels in this area often show through the skin causing a shadow when blood accumulates here, often due to poor circulation or lack of sleep. Here’s where caffeine’s vasoconstriction powers step in again.
Caffeine constricts the blood vessels which makes them appear less obvious, reducing the dark circles and puffiness around the eyes .
Caffeine targets puffiness in this area too, which are triggered by allergies, stress, and sleep issues which cause the blood vessels to become inflamed.
While caffeine does perk up a tired eye area, it’s a temporary solution. If you’re dealing with chronic under eye circles and puffiness, assess what lifestyle and dietary changes needs to be made to resolve the issue.
Firms and smooths skin
Rounding up the benefits of caffeine in skincare is its ability to firm and smooth skin thanks to its diuretic properties. Caffeine triggers a dehydrating effect on fat cells, causing them to expel water and sodium.
The result? Skin appears smoother and firmer. This effect is lauded for its ability to improve the appearance of cellulite but the face can reap the skin firming benefits of caffeine too.
The bottom line? Carry on with your latte habit and consider adding caffeine to your skincare routine for a firmer, brighter, healthier complexion.