The Buzz on Caffeine in Skincare

Elizabeth Marglin

by | Read time: 2 minutes

Caffeine plays an indispensable role in perking us up. Few of us would dispute caffeine’s key super power—its bracing, ready-to-face-the-world dose of clarity. But can it jumpstart your beauty routine as well?

Skincare Scrub in Bowl Surrounded by Coffee Beans as Example of Caffeine Products for Skin |

For the last decade, caffeine has been finding new territory, moving from your barista to your beauty counter. Skincare manufacturers are proclaiming caffeine as a superstar ingredient, finding that it offers your skin a healthy jolt of benefits, from antioxidants to inflammation- taming. Call it caffeine creep: The use of said stimulant to perk up your skin just as much as it does your mood.

Here’s how it works.

Eliminate puff

Caffeine functions as a vasoconstrictor, which means it helps narrow blood vessels. Hence the popularity of caffeine in eye creams—it does wonders for reducing inflammation and minimizing dark circles and sagging skin under the eyes. Caffeine harnesses its dehydrating action to good effect, drawing excess fluid out from fat cells and de-puffing the skin around the eyes.

Try it: Melissa B Naturally Pack Your Bags with Caffeine goes double down on caffeine to stimulate circulation and reduce excess fluid that can accumulate under your eyes. $23,

Melissa B Baturally Pack Your Bags Eye Cream With Caffeine |

Tone and rejuvenate

Caffeine’s ability to de-puff applies to the rest of the face as well. Face cleanser and creams that contain caffeine can reduce swelling, irritation and redness, making them particularly effective for rosacea and problem skin.

Try it: Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser with Green Tea (Normal to Dry Skim) wakes up your skin with a burst of green tea antioxidants that fight skin-clogging impurities. $13,

Mad Hippe Cream Cleanser with Green Tea |

Reverse UV damage

Many preliminary studies on mice support that caffeine applied topically can reverse UV damage. Research suggest the antioxidants found in caffeine protects cells against UV radiation and slows down the process of photoaging of the skin. While more research is needed, a sunscreen, moisturizer or primer that contains caffeine may be effective to reduce dark spots or redness caused by sun exposure. 

Try it:  A spritz of Greensations Youthful Trends Caffeinated Makeup Primer can help tone and protect your skin in addition to setting your makeup. $14,