Wednesday, December 18, 2019

BEAUTY SCIENCE: Caffeine


Caffeine! You consume it in your coffee, tea, trendy "boost" drinks, but is it really worth putting it on your skin.  The research verdict is still out, but there's enough evidence to consider it as a safe and effective skin care ingredient.

Caffeine is a strong antioxidant.  Antioxidants help protect the skin from UV damage so it does slow down the aging process caused by the sun.  This means it can also help prevent the initial onset of wrinkles.  So, caffeine may be best considered as prevention.

Caffeine is also used in many eye creams to perk up the skin around the eyes.  It works as a "vasoconstrictor" - narrowing the blood vessels and calming the skin.  This helps to reduce under-eye puffiness.Unfortunately, the results are short term.  While caffeine is soothing and anti-inflammatory, you would need to use it everyday to see any long term effects.  This is seen most often by persons with rosacea - many report good improvement over time.

There's also another skin care product that uses caffeine...as a cellulite reducer.  This started when beauty editors were expounding the benefits of rubbing coffee grounds on affected areas.  What little research  there is says caffeine might be a little helpful.  As well as restricting blood vessels, it may be capable of stimulating the enzymes that break down fat.

Is there a down side caffeine in a skin care product?  There can be a "rebound" effect.  Just like when you try to cut down on your caffeine intake, you may experience a "caffeine headache", if your skin is especially sensitive or you use a large amount of caffeine on your skin daily, narrowing of blood vessels, when you stop, you may see even more redness.  In eye creams and lotions, the amount of caffeine used is so small, this rebound effect is unlikely, however, in cellulite creams there can be a high amount, so use caution.

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