The beauty industry has appropriated the active ingredient of our most universal breakfast drink. Caffeine, the alkaloid that wakes us up by stimulating the nervous system, also has beneficial properties for the skin. It appears that it reduces cellulite, increases blood circulation in the small blood vessels that nourish the skin, prevents skin cancers and even promotes hair growth in men.
Caffeine is being included in formulas for body creams, hair lotions and other cosmetic preparations. Most of these products contain just 3% of this substance. Its chemical characteristics (it dissolves in water but not in oil) make its application in cosmetics difficult, because, in its free form, it penetrates poorly to the interior of the epidermis. But thanks to modern emulsions and microspheres for delivering substances and facilitating penetration, caffeine is now used as a key skincare ingredient.
The fact that caffeine also reaches the deep layers of the epidermis through the hair follicles makes it ideal for scalp treatments.
Microcirculation booster and cellulite reducer
Creams designed to treat cellulite and tone the skin of the buttocks now commonly contain caffeine. This natural active ingredient helps eliminate localized fat, which it does by preventing cells from manufacturing certain fatty acids as it enhances metabolism. In other words, it helps to break down substances so that they can be more easily eliminated by the body.
The fact that caffeine also enhances blood circulation through the skin tissues helps dissolve localized fat, thereby draining, toning, tightening and enhancing the elasticity of the skin. Eye creams containing caffeine are also available, with special formulas designed to reduce dark circles. The swelling that appears under tired eyes is cleared by the microcirculation boost provided by this substance.
Good for the hair
Shampoos and other hair products based on caffeine immediately penetrate to the hair roots and increase blood circulation in the nearby capillaries. As a result, hair follicles are more easily and quickly renewed. Caffeine-based preparations are therefore very efficient hair growth enhancers.
Caffeine can be a great ally for men who suffer from androgenic alopecia (baldness caused by an excess of testosterone) and for women with cellulite problems in the buttock area.
Surprisingly, drinking 4-6 coffees daily reduces the risk of certain skin cancers by 30%, according to a recent clinical study of white American women.
Caffeine accelerates proliferation and programmed death (apoptosis) of cells (keratinocytes, for example) in sun-damaged skin before they can become cancerous. It seems that a group of caffeine-bearing molecules, polyphenols, act as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.
Caffeine is the latest trend in cosmetics. We will begin to see how caffeine is incorporated into new cosmetic products of all kinds, especially sunscreens and anti-ageing formulas.