The relationship between caffeine and skin, explained

YIt doesn’t take a medical degree to conclude that a tired brain functions at a lower level than a well-rested one, but it may come as a bit of a surprise that the same can be said for sleep-deprived skin.

In fact, natural beauty expert Merrady Wickes went so far as to tell Well+Good that not getting enough sleep “reduces your [skin’s] natural hydration levels, slows down cell turnover, and just makes you feel awful.” (I mean, that last one we’re definitely familiar with.) That would justify downing a few quadruple espressos. Unfortunately, caffeine may not be the skin savior it’s supposed to be. you expect, at least when consumed in excess.

First, it’s important to note that caffeine is caffeine, regardless of its source (ie coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.). Dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, Dennis Gross, MD, stresses that what does it However, counting in terms of maintaining healthy skin is how much is consumed. “There are really no negative consequences [for your skin] if you stick to a 12-ounce cup of coffee each day,” says Dr. Gross. “If consumed in excess, however, you may experience some negative side effects.” (Don’t worry: Caffeine has some benefits, too.) to improve skin. More on that later!)

Caffeine and skin: the drawbacks

1. Caffeine can dehydrate

“Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it promotes diuresis, increased urine output, which can lead to dehydration,” says Dr. Gross. “When you’re dehydrated, skin can appear dry and dull.”

Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN goes on to suggest that due to its diuretic impact, always make sure to hydrate throughout the day when consuming caffeine. “The best way to check hydration status is by the color of urine: when it’s light yellow, that indicates adequate hydration,” she says.

2. Caffeine can disrupt sleep, which can cause skin to look tired

Drinking caffeine in the late afternoon can negatively affect your sleep cycle. “Consuming caffeine after 4 pm can affect sleep even hours later,” says Dr. Gross. “It can cause insomnia or disrupt restful REM sleep, which ultimately acts as a stressor on our nervous system and can cause dark circles and puffiness due to exhaustion.”

3. Caffeine can trigger rosacea

Keep in mind that not everyone responds to caffeine the same way. There are some people who are sensitive to caffeine, even one cup of coffee can be too much, and their skin will react more strongly to caffeine consumption than those with a high tolerance for caffeine. “Caffeine is a known trigger for rosacea, especially for those who are sensitive to it. This can cause swelling and redness, as can other known triggers like red wine and spicy foods,” says Dr. Gross.

4. Caffeine can exacerbate internal stress, which can lead to dull or oily skin.

According to Dr. Gross, excessive caffeine consumption can exacerbate agitation and nervousness because it can cause an increase in cortisol and adrenaline levels, adding to the stress that people experience in their daily lives. “Even if not consumed in excess, caffeine can aggravate the physiological events that occur in the body when it is stressed. Your body prioritizes blood flow to vital organs and away from the skin, resulting in paleness, dullness, dark circles under the eyes and can even cause oily skin.

Caffeine and the skin are a beneficial pair when used topically

Interestingly, while there are some negative effects that can occur when caffeine is consumed, it does have quite a few topical benefits. “This is because topical caffeine application doesn’t enter the bloodstream like it does when ingested,” says Dr. Gross. “In fact, caffeine can be an effective ingredient in skin care, particularly for eye products and anti-redness products. It does an excellent job of reducing swelling, redness, and inflammation.”

1. Caffeine Has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits When Applied Topically

“Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts blood vessels, so applying caffeine directly to the skin can reduce redness, swelling, and/or inflamed skin,” says Dr. Gross.

2. Caffeine Has Antioxidant Benefits When Applied Topically

“Coffee is a great source of antioxidants, so topically, it can reduce free radical damage and protect the skin from future damage,” says Dr. Gross.

Before ditching your beloved morning oatmeal latte altogether, Ryan Andrews, MS, MA, RD, RYT, CSCS, Senior Nutritionist and Consultant at Precision Nutrition stresses that it’s important to keep in mind that we consume many compounds every day. through our diet, and there is a wide variety of responses to these compounds. “Caffeine is no different: Some people metabolize caffeine faster or slower, which will influence what kind of impact caffeine has,” he says. Like most things in life, the relationship between caffeine and skin can be summed up in everyone’s favorite adage: everything in moderation.

If you’re trying to cut back on caffeine, try swapping your usual morning beverage for this delicious (and jitter-free) herbal drink:

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