When I first learned about coffee-as-skin-care, I was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. After all, I’d heard a lot about how drinking coffee wasn’t great for your skin, so how could it possibly be something that was beneficial if used topically?
But after more than a few recommendations from friends and family, I decided it was time. What I found was a simple yet satisfying solution to dry patches, dull skin and an eco-friendly replacement for the microbeads so ubiquitous in conventional exfoliators. And now it’s my turn to share the love with you.
Here are five benefits you can expect from introducing coffee into your self-care routine.
1. It’s an excellent source of antioxidants.
Not that I need to tell you again, but antioxidants are pretty much the most important part of taking care of your skin. When it comes to anti-aging, free-radical protection, cellular healing and that general “glow,” antioxidants reign supreme. And guess what? Coffee is loaded with ’em.
In fact, coffee is the world’s greatest source of antioxidants. Yeah, that’s right. According to one study, “[people] get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close.” Scientists have identified nearly 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during the roasting process. So why not harness the power of those antioxidants for topical use too? Here are just a few you can find in coffee:
- Potassium: helps maintain electrolyte balance and internal fluids that keep cells hydrated and skin internally moisturized
- Niacin: fights acne and wrinkles
- Magnesium: regulates DNA replication and repair of skin cells, promotes elasticity and moisture, reduces inflammation
- Vitamin E: protects cell membranes from oxidative and UV damage
So not only will using coffee as a scrub help to slough off dead skin cells to make room for new ones, it’s antioxidant power can help rid the skin of toxins that may have settled there throughout the day, and deep-clean pores.
2. It’s anti-aging.
Studies have even shown that when used as an exfoliator, coffee can help to prevent collagen damage that results in fine lines. Additionally, many all-natural skin care companies are adding coffee extract into their products as it’s shown time and again to be highly effective when it comes to anti-aging.
On top of the antioxidant benefits I already mentioned, the high concentration of essential fatty acids in coffee can protect against cell degradation, which leads to thin skin and wrinkles.
3. It’s anti-inflammatory.
Aside from the exfoliation that coffee scrub provides, it also has another skin secret weapon: caffeine. A stimulant, caffeine constricts blood vessels under the skin when applied topically, which can help reduce swelling and puffiness. My favorite way to use coffee for inflammation is via a coffee-infused eye cream or creating an undereye mask from chilled coffee grounds. (Topical treatments will target the puffiness faster than just drinking a cup of joe.)
4. It can fight cellulite.
When used on the skin, caffeine can dehydrate fatty cells. This means water disappears from the surface of your skin, minimizing the appearance of cellulite. And while there are certainly a number of conventional creams and gels that promise to decrease the appearance of cellulite, the caffeine in coffee grounds also does the trick (and costs way less).
If you’re using a coffee scrub, the exfoliation and massage work together to help stimulate blood flow, tighten skin and offer some drainage. Cellulite be (temporarily) gone!
5. It will leave your skin silky smooth.
While all of the science behind caffeine-based skincare is fantastic, what’s even better is the simple effects you’ll notice as soon as you’ve scrubbed and dried off. What I’m talking about is the silky smooth skin that comes after a good coffee scrub. A scrub made from coffee grounds is a great environmentally-friendly, cost-effective way to exfoliate your body.
Like many natural remedies for exfoliation, coffee does a fantastic job removing dead skin cells and eliminating dry flaky bits that come with cold weather, shaving, and wearing pants (sigh).
For a nice, even result, apply the coffee scrub in a circulation motion to the skin. Or, for those of us who aren’t big on rules, a vigorous up-and-down, side-to-side, whatever-I’m-feeling kind of way will work just as well.
Slowly but surely taking over our showers one day at a time, exfoliating coffee products (bought or DIY) seem to be the cool kids on the block lately, and for good reason.