If you spend time scanning beauty aisles or chatting with influencers on Instagram or TikTok, then you know that seemingly every day there’s a new trending skincare ingredient. (In recent years, we’ve seen everything from watermelon and honey to CBD and matcha.) While some of them can improve our complexion, most of them fall short. However, certain ingredients and elixirs do work, and one of them is extremely popular. Ahead, dermatologists tell us which common drink is ideal for your skin, whether you drink it or apply it topically. You’ll want to add this to your routine, stat-if it’s not already there.
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Your morning cup of coffee does more than energize you for your day, it can also improve your skin. Coffee contains ingredients such as antioxidants, caffeine, niacin, and many more that have various skin benefits (more on those later). Plus, just chilling with the delicious drink can have a stress-relieving effect that can also boost your glow, according to Angela CaseyMD, dermatologist at the Center for Surgical Dermatology and Dermatology Associates and founder of the Bright Girl skincare line for young people.
The best skincare benefit you can attribute to your java habit is that drinking coffee is linked to a decreased risk of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
“The positive impact of caffeinated coffee consumption on reducing the risk of skin cancer can be attributed to the antiproliferative effects of coffee through a mechanism by which coffee ingestion helps to ‘kill’ cells UV-damaged skin so that it doesn’t proliferate into cancer,” says Casey. The same benefit was not found with decaffeinated coffee or other caffeinated beverages like club soda or green tea.
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Coffee also has an aesthetic effect on the skin, largely thanks to the caffeine it contains. “Caffeine stimulates blood circulation and widens or dilates blood vessels,” explains Anna Chacon, MD, dermatologist and writer at MyPsoriasisTeam. “It increases blood flow, which can help the skin tighten naturally. The result can be a reduction in fluid buildup under the eyes.”
Other compounds in coffee, such as chlorogenic acids, may also reduce inflammation around the eyes. To achieve these results, Chacon suggests dabbing a paste of finely ground coffee and liquid from the coffee itself onto the under-eye area. You will also see some of this effect just by drinking a cup.
You may have seen coffee-based skincare products on the market and wondered what dermatologists think about them. “Many formulations with ‘coffee’ as an ingredient actually contain coffee berry extract,” Casey explains. “Coffee berries contain high concentrations of polyphenols, which have strong antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that topically applied coffee berry extract can help improve fine lines, pigmentation, and skin texture.” Because this is combined with the anti-inflammatory properties of caffeine, these products are commonly used to treat puffiness under the eyes and temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite.
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Even if you don’t invest in coffee-based skin care, you can still benefit from the ingredient. According to Chacon, coffee grounds are an excellent exfoliant. “Sols do not dissolve in water, which makes them effective at removing dead skin cells. Caffeic acid also has antimicrobial properties, which means it can help protect the skin against germs.”
To make a scrub, mix together a quarter cup of fresh coffee grounds, a quarter cup of brown sugar and lemon juice. Rub the mixture on the skin after washing the body, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse it off. Your skin will look, smell and feel instantly refreshed.