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Author Biography:

Allison B. Vought  is an inventive scientist and educator specializing in natural cosmetic formulation and short-run, private label skincare. Since 2005, she has worked as chief cosmetic formulator, business consultant and CEO of various skin care companies. Allison is the co-founder of AliMar, LLC, (www.alimarlabs.com ) a private label manufacturer specializing in ultra-low minimums, as well as co-founder of the Vegan skincare line.

Perks Of Coffee In Skincare
By Allison B. Vought Friday, February 6, 2015
Coffea is a genus of flowering shrubs or small trees whose seeds, called coffee beans, are used to make coffee. Coffee ranks as one of the world’s most valuable and widely traded commodity crops and is an important export product of several countries, including those in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Coffea arabica seed oil and Coffea robusta seed extract (which contain chlorogenic acid and caffeine) have been shown in studies to defend against photoaging and support the skin’s structure to restore moisture for the appearance of more youthful-looking facial skin. Caffeine, probably the most recognized component of coffee due to its stimulant activity when consumed, actually serves a protective role in the biology of the coffee plant. The caffeine in coffee beans acts as a natural defense mechanism which makes the coffee berry toxic to predators. [2,3]

Research is emerging that green, unroasted coffee beans provide numerous skin-related benefits when applied topically due to higher levels of chlorogenic acid prior to roasting. While green coffee beans do exhibit some benefits, the roasting of coffee beans dramatically increases their total antioxidant activity. A roasting time of 10 minutes (medium-dark roast) was found to produce coffee with optimal oxygen scavenging activities in vitro. [4] Melanoidins, compounds formed during coffee roasting, constitute up to 25% of the coffee beverages’ dry matter. Antioxidant activity of melanoidins isolated from different coffee brews was studied and data suggests that melanoidins must be carefully considered when the relevance of coffee intake in human health is studied. [5]

Among the positive effects, coffee has anti-oxidative properties that may help reduce inflammation. Topical caffeine has been used for the treatment of psoriasis and coffee intake may improve the efficacy of oral drugs like methotrexate and sulfasalazine for psoriasis treatment. [6-8] Caffeine is used as an active compound in anti-cellulite products because it prevents excessive accumulation of fat in cells. Caffeine also has potent antioxidant properties, helps protect cells against UV radiation and slows the process of photoaging. Moreover, caffeine contained in cosmetics increases circulation of blood in the skin. [9]

A study of Japanese middle-aged females showed that coffee and polyphenol consumption was associated with lower incidence of facial pigmentation (dark spots). Japanese researchers speculated that coffee helps protect human skin from photoaging, and polyphenols, including chlorogenic acids, may contribute to the decreased hyperpigmentation of skin. [10]

Although research indicates that coffee exhibits unique benefits for formulators, they also indicate that penetration capacity and bioavailability of the active ingredients used as well as the vehicle of application make a difference in the actual skin benefits of the finished product. For these reasons, it is recommended that full product testing, including efficacy and dermatological testing, be performed on any products with active ingredients that intend to market anti-aging, skin-lightening, tightening or other product claims.


  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958188/
  2. Palmer DM, Kitchin JS. A double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and tolerance of a novel phenolic antioxidant skincare system containing Coffea arabica and concentrated fruit and vegetable extracts. J Drugs Dermatol. 2010 Dec; 9(12):1480-7.
  3. Velazquez PMC, Dieamant GC, Eberlin S, et al. Effect of green Coffea arabica L. seed oil on extracellular matrix components and water-channel expression in vitro and ex vivo human skin models. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009 Mar;8(1):56-62.
  4. Schnoll PhD RD CDN., Dr. Roseanne. Coffee. Dept Health and Nutrition Sciences. Brooklyn College: The City University of New York (CUNY). http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/health/rschnoll/contact/documents/hightea.pdf
  5. Chemical Characterization and Antioxidant Properties of Coffee Melanoidins Rosa Cinzia Borrelli,†, Attilio Visconti,†, Carmela Mennella,†, Monica Anese,‡ and, and Vincenzo Fogliano*, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2002 50 (22), 6527-6533
  6. Lopez-Garcia E, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Rexrode KM, Logroscino G, Hu FB, van Dam RM. Coffee consumption and risk of stroke in women.  Circulation. 2009;119(8):1116-1123
  7. Vali A, Asilian A, Khalesi E, Khoddami L, Shahtalebi M, Mohammady M. Evaluation of the efficacy of topical caffeine in the treatment of psoriasis vulgaris.  J Dermatolog Treat. 2005;16(4):234-237
  8. Helfrich YR, Liao P, Halili L,  et al.  Caffeine consumption enhances the therapeutic effectiveness of methotrexate and sulfasalazine in psoriasis.  J Invest Dermatol. 2006;126:S42
  9. Velasco MV, Tano CT, Machado-Santelli GM, Consiglieri VO, Kaneko TM, Baby AR. Effects of caffeine and siloxanetriol alginate caffeine, as anticellulite agents, on fatty tissue: histological evaluation. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2008 Mar;7(1):23-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00357.x.
  10. Fukushima, Y., Takahashi, Y., Hori, Y., Kishimoto, Y., Shiga, K., Tanaka, Y., Masunaga, E., Tani, M., Yokoyama, M. and Kondo, K. (2014), Skin photoprotection and consumption of coffee and polyphenols in healthy middle-aged Japanese females. International Journal of Dermatology. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12399

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