Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Ingredient Spotlight: Caffeine in Skincare Products March 24, 2011

It might sound funny, but the inspiration for this post came from reading the food magazine Bon Appetit.  There I am minding my own business and looking for recipes (and I must adding asking myself for the thousandths time:  “why did Conde Nast stop publishing Gourmet but kept Bon Appetit around?  This magazine sucks”) when I happened upon a blurb called: Why You Should Put Caffeine On Your Face.  Though I’ve never tried any of the products mentioned in the magazine and find some of the product claims far-fetched, I did realize that I had stumbled upon an idea for my blog.  One never knows when or where you’ll find an idea, right?

If you look at the different skincare products that contain caffeine and highlight caffeine’s powers in their products you’ll notice that caffeine is included in products that claim to tighten and get rid of vexing issues like dark under eye circles and cellulite.*  There is a good reason that caffeine is included in products that make those claims.  Caffeine constricts blood vessels which may help puffy eyes and facial redness.  But I should warn you any change that you see in your appearance because of the caffeine in your skincare product is temporary at best.  The same goes for caffeine in cellulite creams (skip the cellulite creams altogether – they don’t work.  Click on the link below to my post about cellulite cures below for more information on that topic).  On the upside caffeine is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties (like all antioxidants) so applying a topical skincare product to your skin that has caffeine in it will protect your skin from free radical damage.

One of the more intriguing things about caffeine in topical skincare products is that the caffeine may, and this is a big may, have anticarcinogenic properties and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles when applied topically.  This research is in preliminary stages so keep your eyes open for more information on it in the future.  Most of the research about the connection between skin cancer and caffeine has been about when people drink beverages with caffeine but that doesn’t mean that one day there will be conclusive evidence that applying skincare products with caffeine in them will help prevent skin cancer.  One never knows.


Sources and Further Reading:

*  I’ve written posts in the past about both these issues.  For more information see my posts:  Can You Get Rid of Cellulite?  and Can You Banish Dark Undereye Circles?


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