Is Coffee Bad For Your Skin? Here’s What Derms Think
When contemplating a skincare conundrum — Does collagen powder do anything? How much exfoliating is too much exfoliating? Is coffee bad for your skin? — I know exactly where to turn for clarity: science, of course. But in the case of that last question, science is sadly no help at all. There’s evidence that a morning cuppa can cause acne… but there’s also evidence it can soothe rosacea. It may constrict blood vessels and thus, impede the flow of nutrients to the skin… but it’s also packed with potent antioxidants. Confused? Yeah, experts are, too.
“There’s wide variation in terms of how people are affected by caffeine,” Dr. Aanand Geria, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Geria Dermatology, tells The Zoe Report. Besides the aforementioned downsides, coffee drinking has been linked to an increase in cortisol production — and cortisol, “the stress hormone,” is associated with a host of skin issues, from premature aging to dehydration. On the other hand: “A study last year showed that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a 23 percent lower chance of developing rosacea,” Dr. Geria says. (I mean… impressive, sure, but that’s a jitter-inducing amount of java.) “This benefit can be attributed to not only the caffeine, but also the high amount of polyphenols in coffee, which function as antioxidants,” the dermatologist explains. Antioxidants, as a refresher, help defend against premature aging and environmental aggressors. Most likely, these negatives and positives cancel each other out, and coffee has a net zero impact on skin health. “When caffeine is consumed in moderation there really should be no adverse effect to the skin,” Dr. Geria confirms. That being said, every body is different, and some may be more susceptible to the not-so-great side effects of a large soy latte than others.
Starting to suspect your cold brew’s been messing with your complexion? Ahead, five coffee alternatives that only have upsides.
“We’re definitely a very coffee-centric society, and people are right to start questioning the overall benefits and risks,” Sarah Koszyk, M.A., R.D.N., a registered dietitian and founder of MIJA Naturals, tells TZR. “Drinking too much coffee can result in increased anxiety and decreased sleep quality” — both of which impact your skin, by the way. Her suggestion? Say good morning to matcha.
“There is a rare class of amino acids in matcha, L-theanine, that works with the caffeine to release a ‘calm focus’ that aficionados describe as a high, that unwinds stress, enhances focus, and promotes creativity,” she says. Which is precisely why ceremonial-grade, organic matcha is the base of her daily supplement, the Superstar. “Beyond this, so many of our ingredients such as goldenberries, camu camu, lucuma, cacao, avocado, turmeric, hemp seeds, chlorella, and nutritional yeast also provide comprehensive, anti-aging, health-optimizing benefits — from fortifying the immune system to optimizing skin health for glowing beauty from within,” Koszyk says. Simply mix a tablespoon or two with hot water (it’s very tasty) and enjoy.