Ahhh … coffee. The world runs on coffee. We drink it (sometimes too much), but can we put it on our skin? And if we do, what will happen?
I always want to know if there have been any formal studies on skin care ingredients. I search these studies out and then try to determine if they have any meaning. Topical application of coffee extract has been studied, not a lot, but what has been done shows promise.
The extract comes from coffee berries which is from the fruit of the Coffea arabica plant (The coffee we drink comes from the seeds not the fruit). The fruit is harvested before it ripens and then is roasted. This process helps to eliminate the risk of contamination by fungi or bacteria. If you’ve ever seen the name Coffeeberry, it is the legal trademark for this process. The fruit was usually discarded because it spoils pretty quickly, but it is reportedly one of the richest sources of antioxidants, even better than green tea, white tea, pomegranate, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and Vitamin C. The fruit also contains a lot of polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in natural plant food sources and have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antioxidant properties. Two types of polyphenols found in Coffea arabica extract (chlorogenic and caffeic acids) have been found to inhibit UVB –induced skin tumors in mouse skin. You can find Coffeeberry ® in some topical products as well as in oral supplementation form.
There has been some promising research done using 0.1% Coffeeberry cleanser and 1% Coffeeberry extract day and night creams. The studies were done on humans instead of animals and they showed improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, roughness, redness, and overall appearance. These studies also showed that Coffeeberry helped to increase production of collagen. Collagen is a major structural protein found in our skin. Our body’s ability to produce new collagen decreases as we age and our skin begins to thin out, wrinkle, and lose its “glue”. There also seems to be no adverse side effects reported so far.
Coffee is also known for its caffeine content and the stimulant effect we get when we drink it. Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor which means that it causes narrowing of blood vessels slowing down blood flow. If you have puffiness or dark circles around your eyes caused by vasodilation you could apply a serum, gel, or cream containing caffeine and it will help to temporarily correct those problems. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic which means it helps to remove excess fluid from the body (we just pee it out). This can help with puffiness and the appearance of cellulite as well. This does not mean, unfortunately, that caffeine will eliminate cellulite.
I use Replenix Power of Three serum on my face and neck every day and it contains caffeine along with other great antioxidants.
I also recently purchased KonaRed – Hawaiian Coffeeberry Superfruit Powder, (60 servings in Tub) to put in my smoothies. It does have 20 mg of caffeine per serving which is less than a regular cup of coffee at about 95 mg of caffeine. I am not a big caffeine drinker so I felt a little buzz, but my husband did not (he drinks coca-cola almost daily which has 32 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can). If you are caffeine naive then I would definitely only use this powder in the morning or you might have trouble sleeping.
I also love body scrubs and the coffee body scrubs help to exfoliate and increase circulation. You will have fresh, glowing, smoother skin after using one. I love everything Maui Babe and they have a heavenly coffee scrub. I also recently purchased a coffee body scrub by C Lab & Co that has coconut oil in it.
A word of caution when using coffee scrubs, it is messy. Make sure you are in your shower or tub before you apply the scrub to your skin.
Give it a try. If you love the smell of coffee, you’ll love these scrubs.
For further information on coffeeberry and caffeine: