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Ingredient Spotlight: The Buzz on Caffeine Is All About Toned, Tighter Skin!


Think you can’t live without your morning joe?

And maybe another midday java jolt for an energy boost?

You’re in good company. Coffee experts report 150 million Americans drink coffee daily, and 2.25 billion cups are enjoyed every day worldwide.

But the newest way to enjoy the excitement of caffeine is on your mug, not in it.

We know that consuming caffeine – 100 mg in an average cup of coffee — makes us feel alert.

That’s because it increases blood flow to the major organs, creating a spike in blood-pressure and heart-rate.

But here’s the twist: caffeine has the opposite effect when used externally on the skin.

Applied to your face as a topical treat, caffeine tightens up the tiny blood vessels on the skin’s surface, making pores look finer and smaller — that's why caffeine is one of the key ingredients in our Pore Tiny Me pore perfector.

Other cool caffeine effects? Reduced redness, soothed skin, decreased discoloration, and a firmed complexion. 

You may also spot caffeine as a key ingredient in many eye creams. That's because the coffee cherry can perk up the skin under your eyes and decrease puffiness. 

Unfortunately, just like the effects of a espresso shot, the topical effects of caffeine are only temporary, which is why it's important to use your favorite caffeine-boosted products regularly if you want to see continued results.  


Awakening the senses with aroma 

The robust aroma of steaming coffee is a key part of the caffeine experience — just the smell is energizing (although, to be fair, decaf smells just as good). 

No wonder it’s common practice for perfumers to take a whiff of coffee-beans while they’re testing fragrances. 

Perfume-shops will often position bowls of coffee beans between scents for the same reason, offering the smell of coffee as a refreshing olfactory re-set.

The association of coffee and a welcome energy-rush also explains why coffee-scrubs for the face are so popular, even if you’ve sworn off your latte habit.

A facial massage with coffee grounds blended into an oil base exfoliates gently, polishing away dead skin cells for a brighter, smoother look (If you’re wondering if you can make your own using coffee-grounds from your own kitchen, the answer is yes).

Coffee contains antioxidants that help skin push back against the damage of free radicals, including UV rays.

Some new studies even suggest that the oil in roasted coffee beans has benefits similar to moisture-grabbing hyaluronic acid, boosting collagen and elastin for a firmer, lifted look.

A natural astringent, caffeine draws excess fluid and fat build-up from the cells, a great relief when your eyes puff up from lack of sleep, too many hours staring into a computer screen, or from allergies. 

Improved blood-flow spiked by caffeine can also help tissues move stagnant waste products out of the skin, lightening dark undereye circles. 

The effects of caffeine on the skin can even help to calm the inflammation of acne and rosacea.


So, is caffeine naughty or nice?

For many decades, coffee was described as dehydrating, but that's not necessarily true. 

Some people are sensitive to specific chemical components in caffeine, but coffee-drinking is not always a bad thing.

In fact, recent studies have shown that coffee consumption may even help protect some people from Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease.

Coffee-drinking has been linked with keeping blood vessels stretchy, and this flexibility may improve heart health.

Some of the reason may be that coffee and tea contain polyphenol antioxidants, helping the body fight back against attack from free radicals. 

Less surprising: coffee in particular also appears to improve cognitive function (as in, can you do basic math without your morning cup?) and decrease the risk of depression.

Adding milk, sugar, non-dairy creamers and artificial sweeteners to your cup changes the chemistry completely, of course, and may introduce unwelcome calories and unhealthy fats and chemicals.


Caffeine's past, present, and future

The history of coffee-drinking is as deep as a triple espresso.

The earliest recorded accounts trace coffee cultivation to ancient Ethiopia, where nomadic shepherds observed that their flocks grew frisky after chewing a few coffee cherries (what we grind and brew as coffee are actually the fruit of the coffee plant, not beans).

People soon began sampling coffee for themselves, to stay awake and alert during long hunting treks across the African savannah without food.

Coffee-growing spread to Arabia and India, where the stimulant effects of the brew were often sought out by people during religious fasting.

Today, coffee-drinking crosses all cultural boundaries. And caffeine is present in many other forms (teas, chocolate, many processed foods, and many medications, including lots of OTC remedies). So, if you’re seriously wanting to eliminate caffeine for any reason, be sure to read the labels on anything you consume.

However, if you’re just looking for brighter, tighter complexion, treat your skin to a caffeine perk-up – it’s the pore-perfecter of the 21st century!

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