Whether it’s “medicinal”, dark and bitter on a Monday morning or a “recreational” vanilla latte at the weekend, most of us prefer to start the day with a good cup of coffee. We think of it as an energy boost, or a way to kick start out metabolisms, but your coffee can be so much more!
While coffee can do a lot for your insides, since it’s full of delicious chemicals that work wonders from the inside out, it can also have an amazing effect on the surface, too.
Naturally able to boost blood flow, coffee increases the turnover of your skin cells to reveal a whole new you. Literally. And since coffee has the same pH levels as your skin, it doesn’t suffocate your skin. Instead, it balances you out.
When applied topically, it can do all sorts of neat tricks that you’ll see instant results from. You can make an array of masks, scrubs and pastes from antioxidant-rich coffee grounds that have caused coffee to gain quite the reputation as an alternative skin remedy.
The experts have had their say: coffee is here to stay. As a life-bringing magical brown liquid for mornings and as a part of your beauty routine.
So let’s have at it. What exactly does it do?
#1 Coffee as an Antioxidant
Most of us associate antioxidants with foods like blueberries and pomegranates. We think of them as something that comes from chewing or occasionally even choking down on something that’s good for us, but tastes plain awful (yes, kale; I mean you).
Antioxidants have all kinds of benefits for the skin, though, and so we push through. They can help to protect your skin from free radical damage, reduce pigmentation and improve fine lines and wrinkles.
But what if we could get just as much goodness from our morning java?
Studies have found coffee to be absolutely bursting with powerful antioxidant goodness. There are more antioxidants in your coffee than there are in green tea, even in the flavonoids of coffee. Some studies using coffee silverskin have even found there to be antifungal and antimicrobial qualities present… So brew away, because your coffee is doing you more good than you think!
#2 Scrub, Scrub, Scrub
We all love a good body scrub. Or face scrub. Just scrubs in general, actually (sorry, TLC). But many of nature’s exfoliants are less than gentle on our skin, despite how smooth they can make it feel.
In comes the coffee.
Coffee grounds don’t dissolve in water and are naturally soft, which makes them a top choice for scrubbing away dead skin cells. Not to mention, the caffeic acid (basically an antioxidant) in coffee grounds can help to boost collagen levels. Making you not only smooth as a baby’s… well, you get the drift, but looking a little younger and brighter too.
You’ve probably already realised, but you can make a coffee scrub at home with little to no effort. Just remember to use fresh coffee grounds, and not grounds that you threw out three days ago.
#3 Tighten That Cellulite
Body positive or not, many of us have a little more cellulite than we’d like, and we’ll do just about anything to tighten up those thighs or smooth out those arms.
By dilating the blood vessels beneath the skin and improving our blood flow, the caffeine in coffee can help to reduce the visibility of cellulite. Actually, a side effect of scrubbing away with coffee grounds, the caffeine works in combination with sloughing away dead cells and leaving a more even texture to your skin.
Some coffee, specifically coffee oil, has also been compared to hyaluronic acid for its anti-aging effects. Studies have found that coffee oil can increase collagen and elastin production, which can make skin feel and look firmer.
Coffee also happens to be a diuretic, which means that products containing coffee will temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite by drawing fluid away from your fat cells. By dehydrating those cells, the coffee shrinks their size, which creates a tightening effect.
Do remember that coffee as a cellulite-buster isn’t a permanent thing, though. In fact, upping your coffee intake and dehydrating can have some serious effects, so don’t push it.
#4 Coffee… Calming?
Strange as it sounds, coffee can be calming. We know, a few too many cups and you tend to be more jittery than chill, but we mean for your skin, specifically.
The chlorogenic acids (CGAs) and melanoidins in coffee actually have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and have also been linked to reducing hyperpigmentation. You’ll often see people online discussing how coffee can be used to combat acne, and though there’s some truth in this, it’s not a miracle cure by any stretch of the imagination.
Naturally, the combination of antibacterial properties and the exfoliating qualities of coffee grounds will collectively fight acne. But the grounds work on the surface of the skin to remove dead skin cells – they don’t get into the pores, where the problem really lies.
Still, gentle application of a coffee face scrub can bring down associated inflammation, at least for a little while. Just be kind to your face with exfoliants and don’t overdo it.
By calming and reducing the redness in our skin, coffee also has the wonderful side effect of preventing our skin from aging prematurely, in conjunction with the stimulating antioxidant properties of the bean. Not bad, really, for one little plant?
#5 No More Panda Eyes
We’ve all done it. Stayed up too late bingeing a crime documentary, reading or even studying (maybe). You wake up the next morning and your face declares it to the world: panda eyes, raccoon eyes, whatever you want to call it. Your undereyes tell the truth.
But. And there’s always a but.
Coffee is full of antioxidants, as we’ve already discovered. More than any fancy fruit or veg, coffee can target the dark circles that give away our sleepless nights, poor diets, stress and dehydration. Your morning coffee can actually leave you with brighter skin and that intangible, gorgeous glow.
The high caffeine content in coffee is an enormous benefit for those with puffy, inflamed and dark undereye circles (we speak from experience).
The caffeine stimulates blood flow and helps to dilate the blood vessels that create those dark circles, and that extra blood flow naturally tightens the skin of the undereye. You’ll find there’s less fluid under your eyes, and they look tighter, brighter and more awake.
Something to note, though. You’re not likely to achieve this effect just by drinking the magical juice itself. For the caffeine in coffee to really target the areas you’re wanting to fix up, it needs to be applied topically. Luckily, there are plenty of caffeine solutions at the click of a mouse.
Thank you, next day delivery.
#6 Younger & Brighter
If smooth, tighter skin that’s calmer and more awake looking isn’t enough to make you feel young and carefree, then consider this. Coffee, when applied directly to your skin, can actually function as an anti-aging device.
You heard us.
Thanks to the amazing aforementioned stimulating properties of caffeine and coffee in general, using grounds as a face mask or topically can improve blood flow to your face (or anywhere, for that matter) and leave you with a bright and radiant complexion. No more Morticia Addams in the morning.
If that wasn’t enough, studies have also shown that coffee on the skin can reduce the appearance of sunspots and fine lines, decreasing photoaging effects. Plus, you’ll smell divine.
Who knew how beneficial coffee could be? Well, we did, but we thought you should know too. A multipurpose little bean with various properties to boost, smooth and improve your skin, coffee’s only growing more popular in the beauty world.
That said, no product is an instant win.
You might find you’re not seeing the results you’re after in the first few weeks of regular use, but it’s important to stick with it for a little while before you move on. You can keep your morning latte, though. That’s not going anywhere.