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Coffee is a caffeinated beverage that has been around for centuries, being one of the most popular drinks in the world. Nowadays, coffee is consumed all around the globe, and its popularity even exceeds its caffeine content which can provide several benefits, including improved brain function, increased energy levels, and reduced risk of several health problems, including diabetes, liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, etc. Coffee is a major psychoactive component; caffeine plays a significant role in developing and exacerbating acne. Some people have noticed that cutting coffee and caffeine out of their diets decreases acne breakouts and appearances, as everyone knows that coffee has caffeine and can cause acne. But where does this belief come from? What are the facts about coffee and acne?
How coffee affects the hormones that lead to acne?
- Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and certain plants. It belongs to a class of chemicals called methylxanthines or alkaloids, which are stimulants. The primary motivation in caffeine affects the body by blocking the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, which makes you feel more awake by inhibiting sleepiness.
- Caffeine also increases certain hormones that lead to acne formation. Cortisol levels go up when there’s too much caffeine in your system, causing an increase in sebum production and pore-clogging. This can result in breakouts and worsen existing acne conditions. High cortisol levels may also cause other symptoms, including fatigue, water retention (bloating), and high blood pressure.
- Coffee and caffeine can spike insulin levels, which sets off a cascade of events that lead to acne. According to some researchers, insulin stimulates the release of hormones from the adrenal glands attached to the kidneys and increases the production of male sex hormones called androgens. This is why drinking coffee can worsen your acne if you have high insulin levels or androgen-related problems such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- Coffee can alter estrogen levels which further increases your risk for acne. Women with high estrogen levels, consuming caffeine, may develop more severe acne symptoms than those without.
- Coffee and caffeine might hinder the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), one of the leading causes of pattern baldness and acne. This suggests that men worried about losing their hair should avoid high doses of caffeine, but scientific studies have not confirmed this.
How does coffee impact the production of sebum?
Caffeine may lead to an increase in sebum or oil production on your skin. The more sebum you produce, the stickier it gets, clogs pores, and causes acne breakouts. Coffee also stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol, another hormone that can affect acne development. More specifically, having elevated cortisol levels over some time seems to put you at a higher risk for acne in general.
Coffee and acne-related problems:
Some people notice that drinking coffee makes them break out in pimples. If you are one of the people who have noticed this, it is probably worth cutting out caffeine from your diet to see if it helps reduce your existing acne or prevent future breakouts. Keep in mind that some brands of coffee contain more caffeine than others, so switching brands may also help reduce your acne outbreaks.
What coffee does to your skin?
Coffee can make your skin dry and rough. It reduces the water content of the epidermis (outermost layer of your skin), which causes the appearance of aging (wrinkles & loss of elasticity). The steam coming from an espresso machine is quite hot, and if you were to take a sip every time it comes out, that alone could cause scalding or burns at best. This inevitably affects the quality of your skin by causing premature wrinkles and making your skin rough.
Why coffee makes acne worse?
Caffeine is evil for people with high insulin levels or androgen-related problems such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It also increases male hormones, which lead to acne formation. Women who have hormonal issues can be affected too.
If you notice that drinking coffee makes your skin dry, rough, and scaly or gives you pimples on your chin or jawline area, then stop consuming caffeine altogether. If you don’t notice anything wrong with your skin when you drink coffee, it might be okay to continue drinking coffee. However, it would help if you always kept in mind that your acne is not caused by dietary factors alone.
Coffee may contribute to the development of acne, but there are other reasons why people get pimples or acne in general. Eating foods rich in sugar, processed foods, and dairy products is also a cause for breakouts in most cases.
Having coffee in a way that does not trigger acne:
As many people love drinking coffee and find it very difficult to give up, there is a way to have your coffee and drink it too: Slow drip coffee. A slow drip coffee maker releases water at a shallow temperature so that the steam coming out of the machine contains less oil from the coffee beans. You can try making cold brew iced coffee or using a French press as an alternative, as well as what you should do now! Coffee is a good source of antioxidants, which can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle so:
Limit the intake of coffee:
If you are a coffee lover and drink more than 3-4 cups of coffee per day, the best thing to limit your intake. Consuming less than three cups can help prevent acne from forming as it reduces hormonal levels that cause acne by up to 68% (study link below).
Use less sugar in your coffee:
Coffee with sugar can cause pimples by itself, but if you need to sweeten your coffee, use honey instead of sugar. Stevia is an option, but it can raise insulin levels, which may not be suitable for people who are sensitive to blood sugar levels or have diabetes.
Add Cinnamon to your coffee:
Adding Cinnamon to your coffee helps improve insulin levels if you have type 2 diabetes. It can also help reduce acne in some people, probably because it contains cinnamaldehyde which has been shown to control sebum excretion.
Add natural milk or cream instead:
Adding milk and cream from grass-fed cows is healthier than using other milk alternatives. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil to make it even better! This will not only add healthy fat content but also increase the antioxidant capacity of your drink.
How much coffee is safe for you?
Moderate caffeine consumption is considered safe, but if you have problems with your hormones or suffer from severe acne breakouts, you should avoid consuming too much caffeine. The average adult can safely consume about 300mg of caffeine per day before experiencing adverse effects such as increased heart rate, depression, anxiety, etc. However, teens should not be exposed to more than 100mg. You can also purchase supplements such as green coffee extract if you want to drink caffeine.
What are the other alternatives to coffee to prevent acne?
- Green Tea:
- Green tea has similar benefits as coffee, but it can help improve your immune system and reduce body fat. It also contains antioxidants that make the skin healthier and reduce acne breakouts. If you do not like drinking green tea on its own, then consider adding a few drops of peppermint oil to it before consumption so that you get the flavor without bloating up because of the caffeine content.
- Coconut Water:
- It is an excellent source of electrolytes that can help clear your skin from the inside by flushing out all the toxins from your body. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties, promoting faster healing and preventing new acne marks and blemishes from appearing on your face.
- Rooibos Tea:
- This type of herbal tea has a lot of antioxidants and helps nourish your skin because it has vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, etc. If you feel like drinking something warm, then rooibos tea or green tea is much better than caffeinated beverages such as coffee or black teas (black teas contain caffeine). Adding honey to this herbal tea can further promote your health as it will quickly dissolve in the water and help you maintain a healthy complexion.
- Coconut Milk:
- This contains electrolytes that can help balance your hormones when consumed regularly. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that are unique to coconut products, so coconut milk is considered a natural skincare remedy for acne-prone skin.
- Chamomile Tea:
- Drinking chamomile tea or applying it topically on your face before sleeping can soothe stress, improve sleep quality, nourish the skin, etc. Even though there is no direct evidence regarding its benefits for acne sufferers, it does have antioxidant effects, which may help you with your problems in individual cases.
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks globally, but too much caffeine can result in several side effects, including acne breakouts. The American Academy of Dermatology claims that there is no link between coffee and acne because it does not contain any hormones, toxins, or inflammatory substances that can cause this type of skin problem by itself. However, if you are drinking caffeinated beverages, then your body may respond differently to them than other people who do not drink coffee at all. If you feel like cutting down on your daily intake for a short period, it will not have any negative consequences either – unless you suffer from severe obesity or diabetes. Drinking green tea instead in such cases might be better due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Coffee can be good if applied externally for acne:
Coffee has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can help you with your acne-related problems as long as you use it topically on the problematic areas because these properties are not as effective when ingested.
- You can use coffee as a scrub for acne:
- Coffee is a natural exfoliant. To make an anti-acne face mask, you can use coffee grounds as a scrub or mix it with coconut oil and other essential oils. If you obtain the caffeine from your coffee, this will be even better as caffeine can help reduce swelling, redness, inflammation, etc.
- You can use coffee as a face mask:
- Coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants and caffeine. It can help you get rid of all your problems, including puffiness and wrinkles. Coffee also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and redness caused by acne breakouts. Ground coffee is also effective as a face mask because it will tighten your pores, remove dead cells from the surface of your skin, and reduce acne breakouts.
- You can use coffee as a compress for acne:
- Mix coffee with water in the ratio of 1:3 and then use the mixture to compress acne before going to bed. This can soothe inflammation and improve blood circulation at the same time.
- You can also use coffee as a scrub for cellulite:
- Coffee contains caffeine which is highly beneficial for fighting cellulite. Coffee is widely known for its diuretic effects. Still, this property can help combat cellulite by reducing water retention that causes dimpled skin if you drink caffeinated beverages regularly or apply them topically on your skin.
Too much of anything can be harmful; you should not drink too much coffee if you can avoid it because it can lead to several health problems, including insomnia, dehydration, increased cholesterol levels, and jitters. Drinking too much of any caffeinated beverage will provide side effects such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and so on. Too much caffeine in your bloodstream may result in anxiety, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure.
However, there are several ways to enjoy the benefits of coffee without feeling too much caffeine or experiencing any side effects. You can cut down on your daily intake for a few days and see if this positively impacts your acne-related problems. If you see no improvement, it would be better to visit a skin doctor as coffee alone cannot cause acne. Acne can be due to many other factors, so you have to be sure that it’s not the case. Many different aspects trigger acne, and coffee alone cannot trigger it. It would help if you were sure that you’re not allergic to caffeine and the roasting products used in the production of coffee beans before you apply them topically on your skin. To know what is triggering your acne, you can visit a skin doctor or a dermatologist. You can book your appointment through OHO Homeopathy for more information on acne treatment.