The Caffeine Skincare Trend: Expert Opinion

Known for its immediate effect to lift and brighten the skin, caffeine skin care may be your new go-to product for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing the skin, and reducing redness. This super-charged product is said to have many benefits, including lowering inflammation, providing topical antioxidants, and increasing skin elasticity.

Key takeaways:
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    Caffeine-enriched skin care may help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and redness.
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    Known to be a super-charged antioxidant, Caffeine, in the form of creams and serums, can help to decrease overall inflammation, therefore providing a smoother, more toned look on the skin.
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    There are many different types of products on the market and each one has a different use.
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    There is very little downside to using caffeine-infused skincare.

What exactly is caffeine?

Caffeine is a chemical produced naturally in coffee beans, cocoa beans, tea leaves, and even some fruit. Caffeine, when ingested, works to stimulate the central nervous system and increase alertness. When caffeine is used topically, however, is absorbed into the second layer of the skin, and has substantially different effects.

How does it work?

The water-soluble molecules in caffeine promote vasoconstriction.

Vasoconstriction is a term used to describe the constriction of the small muscles inside the blood vessels promoting a tightening effect. When caffeinated products are applied to the face or body, it provides a younger-looking texture to the skin, with decreased appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and redness.

How can caffeine skincare benefit you?

Reduces inflammation with antioxidants

Antioxidants are known to decrease and fight off inflammation. Scientists have identified approximately 1,000 antioxidants in coffee beans. When applied directly to the top layer of skin, the antioxidant-rich caffeinated beans are absorbed into the second layer of skin, called the dermis. Thus, providing the skin with robust, anti-inflammatory protection from outer influences such as harmful bacteria and chemicals in the air.

Increases the elasticity of the skin

When the caffeine is metabolized on the surface of the skin and starts to wear off, there is a relaxing phase of the blood vessels and this is called vasodilation.

Due to the short lifespan of caffeine-rich facial creams and serums, vasodilation happens within 3-5 hours after application. This process of vasodilation and vasoconstriction is known to cause a mild, massage-like effect on the skin as the blood vessels contract and relax. This promotes relaxation of the muscles around the mouth and jaw and can cause overall increased elasticity of the skin tissue promoting a more youthful glow and look.

How to apply caffeine products?

Due to the relatively small size of the caffeine molecules, it absorbs very well on the surface of the skin, therefore, reaching the dermal layer for visible effects. Similar to vitamin C and ginseng serums, caffeine products should be applied to the face and neck before moisturizers, sunscreens, and make-up, as these products sit on the surface of the skin.

Facial serums

Facial serums are generally in the form of a light, topical solution that can be easily smoothed between the fingers and gently tapped onto the surface of the skin or lightly smoothed in an upwards motion to promote proper absorption.

According to Dermatologist, Cara MacDonald, co-director and principal dermatologist at Complete Skin Specialists, caffeine-rich serums possibly help reverse skin damage from ultraviolet radiation (sun damage). Their effects can have an almost imitate effect to visually reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The biggest benefit of using a serum is the tightening effect it has on the skin. Tightness of the dermal layers of the skin gives the appearance of healthier, younger-looking skin.

Caffeine body scrubs

Body scrubs can be used on areas such as hips, thighs, and glutes to exfoliate the skin. Scrubs are a great way to sluff off dead skin cells and promote new cell growth. When using a caffeine scrub, there is an added benefit of tightening the skin to promote the reduction in the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks.

When using caffeine-infused scrubs, apply in a circular motion to allow the grinds of the product to work to smooth and absorb into the skin. After application, rinse off with warm water, and the skin is left smooth and soft.


Moisturizers and creams should be used on the body, around the hips, legs, and abdomen. These areas are more prone to absorb dense creams and thus the products will be more effectively absorbed into the skin and work to eliminate the look of cellulite and stretch marks.

Caffeine night masks

Night masks are small gel-like masks that are to be applied and worn throughout the night under the eyes. Their effects are known to last longer throughout the day for a smooth, whitened look under the eyes and a reduction in under-eye circles and puffiness.

What are the downsides?

Unfortunately, the downside to using caffeine products on the face and body is that it’s a temporary solution. Caffeine metabolizes quite quickly on the surface of the skin, just like when you drink a coffee – the benefits wear off quickly. Most products state that the product will work for up to 5 hours, therefore, you may have to re-apply the product throughout the day.

Sensitivities or allergies to topically applied caffeine are uncommon; however, it is generally recommended that a small application of the product be applied behind the ear or neck as a test before applying it to more noticeable areas on the face and neck.

Caffeine skin care products have their place in almost everyone’s morning skincare routine whether you’re looking to combat dark circles under the eye, promote a younger, more youthful glow, or looking to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, caffeine skin care may be your next best friend.


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