If you’re like me, you think of your cup o’ joe as everything from a liquid alarm clock to a mid-day recharge to an all-nighter sideline cheerleader. Well, it looks like you can add a few more talents to your coffee's resume: cellulite-fighter, time-traveler and sun-shielder!
One of the greatest benefits of caffeine is the result of its ability to shrink blood cells. This anti-inflammatory quality reduces puffiness and creates more youthful, taut skin when applied topically. If you've ever downed a few too many cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages without supplementing with good ol' H2O, then you know how dehydrating caffeine can be. Applied topically, however, this dehydrating aspect can be used to your advantage. Water is drawn from cells -including fat cells- causing them to diminish in size and be less noticeable while, say, you walk around the pool in a less-than-forgiving bikini.
Before you go pouring your Starbucks directly on your thighs however, keep in mind that these benefits are best redeemed from ground coffee. The gritty texture helps to exfoliate your skin, and ensures that more caffeine can break through the barriers that your skin layers provide, and into your blood stream. Besides, too much dry, dead skin is no bueno for a multitude of reasons. Exfoliate and let that smooth, young, bright skin shine through!
For these reasons alone, we should all be slathering our skin with coffee grounds and essential oils a couple of times per week -but hold on- there’s yet another reason why java should be a major player in your health and beauty product line-up: some studies have shown caffeine could reduce the risk of sunlight-caused skin cancer. According to a study published in the Frontiers of Oncology journal, “caffeine has a sunscreen effect that inhibits UVB-induced formation of thymine dimers and sunburn lesions in the epidermis of mice.” In addition, the damaged cells found to be precancerous were even eliminated in part by the dose of caffeine administered to the mice. The mice that were given decaffeinated coffee received no such benefits. While this certainly doesn’t mean your Dunkin’ field trip should replace an application of SPF 30, it is good news that may lead the way to more research on the protective and healing effects of caffeine. Translation: pass the bean!
If these beauty benefits seem too good to be true, I encourage you to try Organic Bath’s Java Jolt and see for yourself.
“Mechanisms of caffeine-induced inhibition of UVB carcinogenesis.” Conney, Lu, Lou, Kawasumi and Nghiem. Front. Oncol., 17 June 2013. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00144