There are some of us who cannot be touched or talked to till we have our dose of Caffeine. It’s just hard to function without it. Turns out it is a psychoactive drug. There are studies calling caffeine good and some calling it bad. We’re here to give our two cents on whether caffeine is the good or bad guy when included in skincare products. Read it till the end and you will be able to make your own informed decision!
What is caffeine?
Caffeine instantly reminds us of coffee and that is why we see a lot of usages of coffee in DIY skincare. But let’s understand what caffeine is and are there any sources other than coffee for it? Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant when consumed orally and that helps you keep up with a productive day. Caffeine is obtained from multiple sources. It could be either tea, coffee, colas, chocolate, cocoa or plant-based sources like Yerba mate, Guarana, Kola nuts, etc.
Now let’s come to what caffeine does to your skin when applied topically. It’s an ingredient rich in Antioxidants. Here’s a list of its mode of action to understand caffeine in skincare better-
Remember how everybody says coffee makes you jittery and anxious sometimes? It’s because it constricts the blood vessels along with acting on the CNS. It does the same to your skin when it is absorbed epidermally. It constricts the vessels around your skin and that helps to reduce the appearance of broken vessels on the surface of your skin.
2. Dissolves fats
Yes. It does. But before you start slapping coffee all over your body as a gym replacement, hear us out. When applied topically, caffeine will dissolve fats only in the subdermal layers. It does so due to its diuretic property. This means that caffeine has a dehydrating effect on the cells and when this impact reaches the fat cells, it leads them to dissolve.
Research has proven that caffeine can induce the death of cancerous cells when applied topically. It is used as a preventive and treatment method when it comes to skin cancer. So when you see caffeine in your skincare then you know your skin is safe!
Why is it used in skincare?
Knowing the mode of action, we can pretty much figure out caffeine’s benefits to our skin. But let us chalk it out for you-
1. Promotes collagen production
Caffeine injected skincare products can dehydrate the excess tissue and that prompts the cells to produce collagen that strengthens your skin cells and gives you a better cell structure.
2. Reduces puffiness
Caffeine is diuretic which makes it a great ingredient to reduce morning puffiness. If you have a sweet tooth then you may wake up with a puffy face since excess sugar in the diet leads to puffiness. So a caffeine containing face mask could be a great additive in your morning routine on puffy days!
3. Tightens and brightens
Given that caffeine increases the blood circulation, dissolves fats and dried out excess tissues, caffeine surely brightens and tightens your skin. Millions of caffeine addicts have sworn by coffee to remain youthful and now we know how it does so.
4. Reduces cellulite
Since caffeine has a property of vasoconstriction, it sure will increase blood pressure in that region. This allows better blood circulation in cellulite which are mainly caused due to lack of blood flow in that region.
5. Fights UV rays damage
Caffeine is anti-carcinogenic. Which means it will promote the growth of only healthy cells and even cause the cancerous cells to die. A day cream with caffeine in it can perfectly be an aid to fight skin cancer but this doesn’t mean it can replace sunscreen. Sunscreen is just non-negotiable. Learn how to read sunscreen labels here.
How to use caffeine?
Given its benefits, it makes sense to use skincare that has Caffeine in it. Here’s how you can pick products for that glowing selfie-
1. Eye cream
Caffeine in eye cream and serums are such a rage and for all the right reasons. Caffeine can reduce puffy eyes and even reduce fine lines and wrinkles since it can tighten your skin. Many a time we also see a lot of broken blood vessels visible near our eyes since the skin around the eyes is thin. Caffeine can make them less visible since it can constrict the blood vessels.
Sublime recommends Dot & Key Antioxidant Illuminating Depuffing Eye Cream Concentrate is rich in caffeine and Antioxidants due to the presence of Coffee cherry, Rosehip oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Olive oil, and Aryan oil. A promising formula to nourish your eye region and delete the dark circles.
You can also use a face cream with a caffeine base as an eye cream. We’d pick Neemli Naturals Hibiscus & Saffron Night Cream that has a rich blend of oils to help with pigmentation and caffeine that can depuff your face and under eyes.
2. Face mask
Had a good dose of sugar the night before and you’ve woken up with a puffy face? Caffeine is your answer to drain all the retained water. Caffeine is also rich in Antioxidants which is why it instantly lifts your complexion. We find caffeine induced face masks as the best way to instantly freshen up our face.
Sublime recommends Pure By Priyanka Luminous Powder Cleanser. This can work as a cleanser and a face mask too. It has the goodness of Coffee beans, Babchi seeds, Methi dana, Kalonji, and Turmeric to unclog your pores and leave you a radiant glow due to its cleansing and exfoliating properties.
A caffeine treatment that can instantly show up is via potent serums like Earth Rhythm Glow Drops - Brightening Serum It will brighten your skin and reduce pigmentation. The caffeine in it will help you depuff your face if you use it in your AM routine.
Let’s now understand how to use it for our body. It can remove cellulite but it can also help you brighten your skin for those perfect holiday Instagram posts. Here’s how to use it for body-
3. Body scrub
Caffeine scrub can work great on parts of your body where you have cellulite or dark spots. This is because caffeine increases the blood flow and promotes the growth of Collagen and new healthy skin cells. Massage your body for a good 15 minutes with a caffeine mask and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Follow it with a layer of moisturiser. With consistent usage, you will see a noticeable change to your cellulite and skin texture.
Sublime recommends Aminu Cinnamon Expresso Antioxidant Body Scrub. This aromatic mix is a concoction of nourishing plant-based oils along with Coffee grounds and brown sugar. It suits all skin types.
4. Body lotion
Caffeine helps to improve the blood circulation on the subdermal level which is why it helps to improve your skin complexion and give you that rosy glow. When paired with Calamine it works excellent to repair sun damage, insect bites, and other mild conditions. We can also use a lotion made up of caffeine paired with Vitamin C, Green tea to fight free radical damage during the day.
Sublime recommends Bliscent Coffee & Almond Oil Body Polish. This polish will leave your skin moisturised with the goodness of Coffee, Almond Oil, Olive oil, and Shea Butter. Massage it for 5-10 minutes and rinse with water. There’s your moisturised and glowing body!
Which ingredients can be best paired with Caffeine?
Let’s just start with a big disclaimer. Caffeine must never be paired with Retinol since that can dehydrate your skin and lead to flaking, irritation, redness, etc. What must you pair it with? Here’s the answer-
1. Ceramides and Peptides
Caffeine works by improving the blood circulation and dissolving fats in the subdermal layer. So just to ensure that these actions will not harm your skin barrier, nourish your outermost layer with Ceramides and Peptides that support and protect the cell framework.
Sublime recommends Dear, Klairs Fundamental Eye Awakening Gel that is perfect to moisturise your screen after a long day spent in front of the screen.
2. Vitamin E
Caffeine when paired with Vitamin E can help you reduce fine lines by nourishing healthy skin cells. While caffeine dries out extra fluid, Vitamin E strengthens the cell framework to give you a younger looking eye region.
Sublime recommends The Mom's Co Natural Vita Rich Under Eye Cream. It has Chia seed oil, Chamomile oil, Vitamin E and B3 along with Coffee oil to nourish your under eyes.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C can work with Caffeine to give you an extra boost of brightening effect. It is simply because both are rich in Antioxidants. They do not have negative interaction when mixed together in a formulation and hence it is safe to use them together.
Learn more about Vitamin C here.
Sublime recommends Aminu The Ultra Modern Longevity Serum if you’re looking for something with anti-ageing and brightening properties.
Is Caffeine safe to be used by all?
It isn’t. As we mentioned earlier, caffeine can dehydrate your skin and so to those with dry skin type, Caffeine-based skincare will do more bad than good. Even to those who are clinically tested allergic to Caffeine, skincare made with Caffeine will do no good. It is also slightly irritating to certain skin which is why we recommend patch testing before using.
For oily, combination, or even acne-prone skin, Caffeine can suit well. It is safe to be used directly on the skin.
Caffeine is mainly associated with coffee but now we know this ingredient a bit better. Caffeine, rich in Antioxidants, works well to reduce puffiness, wrinkles, fine lines, and even has anti-carcinogenic properties. Caffeine can do wonders even for those who want to reduce cellulite. This ingredient will not just brighten your morning but also your skin!
- Divya Salvi