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  • Oars + Alps

Many people need caffeine to start their day. But did you know a caffeine boost not only makes you more alert, but can also help improve your skin? It’s true. More and more skin and hair products include this ingredient for a variety of benefits.1 But what does caffeine actually do for skin? 

In this article, we’ll explore the upside of caffeine, how it works to improve your skin, and the best products to try if you’re interested in giving your skin the same wake-up call you get with a cup of joe. 

Eye roller made with caffeine to depuff eyes

Do Caffeinated Skin Care Products Work?

Modern grooming products use a much more concentrated form of caffeine than what’s in your typical cup of coffee. When used topically (i.e. on the skin), caffeine constricts blood vessels, which in turn reduces the appearance of dark circles and decreases inflammation and puffiness, especially around the eyes.2 

Can Caffeine Be Absorbed Through the Skin?

Yes. When applied topically, caffeine molecules are small enough to penetrate skin. After about five minutes, caffeine can penetrate the top layer of skin called the epidermis.3 With more time, they will penetrate even deeper. So caffeine products that stay on your skin—like face creams and serums—are more effective at delivering the ingredient and improving your skin’s look and feel.

Is Topical Caffeine Good for Your Skin?

Yes, topical caffeine is good for your skin. On top of the anti-inflammatory benefits mentioned above, caffeine is actually an antioxidant. When applied to the skin, caffeine helps fight off free radicals, which are a form of oxidation caused by UV radiation.4 They can damage your skin’s DNA and increase your risk of cancer. 

The use of caffeine products can also fend off premature signs of aging.5  One study found it could even help promote hair growth by suppressing the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.6 

Caffeine Benefits for Skin

If you’re wondering about caffeine's skin benefits, there are many. It not only can help you look better in the moment, but can help improve your complexion in the long run, too.7 Here’s a look at all the reasons to consider giving caffeinated grooming products a try. 

  • Protects skin from damage: Caffeine is an antioxidant, which fights off skin damage caused by the sun.
  • Brightens the skin: As a vasoconstrictor, it can reduce redness and inflammation, improving your skin’s appearance.
  • Depuffs the eyes: By constricting blood vessels, it can also reduce swelling and puffiness around the eyes.
  • Soothes inflammation: Irritated or inflamed skin will benefit from caffeine’s ability to constrict blood vessels.
  • Reduces the look of stretch marks and cellulite: Caffeine can stimulate enzymes that temporarily dehydrate fat cells, creating a smoother appearance for your skin.8 

  • Is Caffeine Bad for Your Skin?

    If you’re wondering “is caffeine bad for skin?,” the answer isn’t completely straightforward. As a topical ingredient in skin and hair care, it is beneficial to skin. But drinking too much caffeine is dehydrating and can negatively impact skin.

    When you consume caffeine in coffee or soda, for example, it acts as a diuretic. This causes your skin to lose water and become dehydrated. Dehydrated skin emphasizes wrinkles and lines and can even cause your skin to appear saggy.9 Doctors advise drinking one cup of water for every cup of coffee. 

    Undereye roller with caffeine and cup of coffee

    Incorporate Caffeine Skincare Products With These Two Products

    Now that you know the benefits of caffeine, try it in your grooming routine. There are two ideal times: in the morning and after a workout. Here’s what you need to know. 

    Rev Up Your Morning Skincare Routine with Caffeine Eye Cream

    As we know, caffeine works better when it has plenty of time to do its job. So a caffeine eye cream or caffeine eye serum in the morning is an ideal way to get your daily boost and freshen up your complexion. Here’s a daily face routine that builds in an extra boost of caffeine. 

    1. Wash your face with a daily scrub or gentle foaming cleanser
    2. Next, apply a caffeine eye serum
    3. Then apply a daily moisturizer with SPF.
    4. Finish with a lip balm with SPF.

    Man applying under eye serum with caffeine from Oars + Alps

    Freshen Up Your Post-Workout Skincare Routine with Caffeine Wipes

    Most of us have experienced looking extra red after a workout, and it can sometimes take quite a long time to go away. Since caffeine constricts your blood vessels, it can help reduce that redness and help you cool down faster. Here’s a quick and easy way to incorporate caffeine into your everyday post-workout routine. 

    1. Start by showering off with a body wash made with clean ingredients. 
    2. If your skin is still red or if you don’t have time to shower, cool down your skin with caffeinated body wipes
    3. Follow that with our caffeine Eye Roller. 
    4. Then apply a daily moisturizer with SPF.
    5. Finish with Aluminum-Free Deodorant.

    Man cooling down skin post-workout with a body wipe made with caffeine

    Try Caffeine for Your Skin Today with Oars + Alps

    Now you know caffeine can seriously boost your complexion and give you calmer, healthier, younger looking skin. And it’s easy to incorporate into your everyday routine too. If you want to try caffeine in your grooming lineup, check out O+A’s caffeinated Wake Up Eye Stick and Cooling + Cleansing Wipes.


    5. Herman A, Herman AP. Caffeine's mechanisms of action and its cosmetic use. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(1):8-14.
    6. Otberg N, Patzelt A, Rasulev U, et al. The role of hair follicles in the percutaneous absorption of caffeine. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2008;65(4):488-492.
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