Pros and Cons of Coffee
There are lots of differing opinions out there about coffee, for both internal and external use. Most of the studies claim that coffee is actually good for you and has been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, liver disease and type 2 diabetes. Well, that's great news for the 83% of you who drink coffee. So what is it that makes coffee good for you? One thing stands out: There are more antioxidants in coffee than any other food group.
What?!? (and by the way, what is an antioxidant?)
There are these molecules in the atmosphere that are constantly attacking out bodies called “free radicals.” They can damage cell structures within our bodies like DNA and proteins. Antioxidants do their magic by disarming them, making them ineffective. The power of antioxidants is protective against some of the body’s most disastrous things like cancer, diseases and aging.
People consume on average 1-2 grams of antioxidants each day. 79% of those antioxidants come from beverages like coffee or tea. Only 21% of those come from food. But does it matter what type of antioxidants we are getting? Yes! While coffee is a very good source of them, the antioxidants in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables are different. For optimal health, we shouldn’t just rely on coffee to provide us with the antioxidants we need; we need a variety of sources from food, vitamins and minerals.
Positive External Benefits
Generally associated with the morning pick me up, coffee is also great for perking up your skin. Coffee has been shown to be effective at treating these skin issues:
- Appearance of under-eye circles
Incorporating coffee into your regular skin care regimen can leave you with smooth, toned skin all over.
Treat Redness and Reduce Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory properties of caffeine make it an ideal partner in combating redness and inflammation. Using moisturizers or face serums with the anti-inflammatory coffee or caffeine ingredients increases its effectiveness to reduce the appearance of redness, irritation and puffiness. It can also be effective at reversing sun damage from UV rays. Try a coffee scrub or face mask to help restore your skin.
Reduce Appearance of Under-Eye Circles
Dehydration, allergies, genetics or a lack of sleep could be contributing to dark under-eye circles. Although it cannot completely eliminate the hereditary effects, caffeine can certainly reduce puffiness and discoloration. Blood pressure builds up under your eyes and the caffeine works to minimize it. Eye creams containing caffeine can reduce puffiness and make you look more alert.
Getting Rid of Cellulite
It almost seems too good to be true, but the caffeine in coffee has been shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite fat cells by a whopping 17%. In a study performed by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 70% of participants noticed a decrease in hip diameter after applying caffeine cream. There are caffeine creams available on the market, or you can make your own. We’ll share with you a recipe to try at home (see below).
Here are 6 unique recipes using coffee you can make yourself. It may seem a little strange at first to be using coffee in your beauty regimen in addition to sipping it in your cup, but give it a try – you never know, you might just get the skin you’ve always wanted!
1. Coffee Face Mask
This coffee face mask in the morning will help to ramp up your glowing skin all day long. Loaded with the antioxidants your body needs to fight against free radicals, it also helps to eliminate toxins from your skin.
- Freshly ground coffee
- Cocoa powder
- Whole milk or Heavy cream
Mix 2 Tbsp. freshly ground coffee or used grinds with 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, 3 Tbsp. whole milk and 1 Tbsp. honey. Apply a thin layer to your face avoiding the eye area. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes and remove with a warm wash cloth. Don’t forget to follow up with your favorite daily moisturizer.
2. Coffee Scrub and Face Mask
This dual purpose scrub and mask requires only 2 ingredients and can be used regularly to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells as a scrub and also promote healthy skin as a mask allow the antioxidants to penetrate and promote smoother, younger looking skin.
- Coconut oil
- Finely ground coffee beans
Mix ½ tsp. coconut oil and ½ tsp. finely ground coffee beans in a small bowl and apply them to your skin. Massage in a circular motion avoiding contact with your eyes and mouth. Rinse immediately for use as an exfoliating scrub, or allow to sit for 15-20 minutes as a mask.
3. Exfoliating Face Scrub
Exfoliators are extremely important to rid the skin of impurities and keep your pores clean. Working hand in hand with your body’s natural process in order to build new skin cells, a coffee scrub will help to reveal smooth, fresh skin.
- Coffee grounds (new, if possible)
- Natural oil like grape seed, jojoba, olive or coconut
- Brown sugar
Combine 3 Tbsp. coffee grounds and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar and mix well. Stir in 1 Tbsp. natural oil and create a paste like consistency. Using your fingers, gently massage the scrub in circular motions on your face. Don’t apply too much pressure to irritate the skin, but go over the skin on your face until you have covered each area well. Rinse with warm water.
4. Good-Bye Cellulite Body Scrub
This recipe has been proven effective at diminishing the look of cellulite. Plus the added moisturizing benefits of coconut oil make it a go to for silky smooth skin.
- Coffee grounds
- White or brown sugar
- Coconut oil
Mix 1 cup coffee grinds, ½ cup sugar (white or brown), and 1 cup coconut oil together. Apply the scrub on to clean, wet skin for about 60 seconds per area. Be sure to target specific areas where cellulite is present. Rinse your body with warm water.
*Tip: It’s easiest to apply in the shower once you are washed clean and the water is turned off. Keep in mind, your shower drain could get clogged, so be sure to use a tub stopper and then remove the waste in a garbage can as opposed to the drain to reduce the risk.
5. Full Body Coffee Scrub
This body scrub contains only 4 ingredients and will make your skin glow after just one use. The caffeine helps to remove excessive oils revealing fresh, clean skin. The exfoliating quality of the coffee grounds help eliminate dead skin build up for a super bright complexion all over.
- Coffee grounds
- Coconut palm sugar
- Coconut oil
- Ground Cinnamon
Combine ½ cup coffee grounds, ½ cup coconut palm sugar, ¼ cup coconut oil and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon in a bowl until well mixed. You’ll need liquid coconut oil to mix, but wait for it to settle back to room temperature before adding other ingredients to make sure the exfoliants to dissolve back into the oil. This mixture should be stored in an airtight container and can be used as an entire body exfoliating scrub.
6. Coffee Hair Treatment
If you’re interested in trying out a coffee treatment for your hair, this is a great recipe for you. The antioxidants will work to stimulate stronger hair follicles to help hair growth.
Prepare strong coffee and add a little bit of water. Let the mixture cool until it’s room temperature or slightly warmer. Stand in the tub and pour the coffee and water mixture on to your hair and scalp. Wrap your hair in a plastic cap and let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse out with warm water.
For more DIY coffee skin care recipes, check out this video from SunKissAlba. We are in awe of her flawless, radiant skin!
Negative Internal Effects
Of course there are those on the other side of the fence that aren’t convinced coffee is as good for you as some experts claim. More in regards to the internal effects of coffee, there are some experts that claim it’s not good for you at all. Here are 4 of the reasons:
Tannins are commonly found in coffee and black tea. Yes, the same tannins that are used to tan animal hides. The tannin consumed in coffee is processed by your liver, which is naturally designed to filter all the bad stuff out of your body. However, it tends to retain some of those toxins over time which can then lead some people to experience liver spots throughout their skin.
Many regular coffee drinkers add sweeteners to compensate for the naturally bitter taste of coffee. Some sugars are known to increase skin sensitivity and result in breakouts.
Caffeine has a tendency to dry out our bodies. If we are replacing water with drinking coffee, we are more likely to be dehydrated. Dehydrated skin is more likely to show signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydrated skin can also be inflamed and red making you look more tired and unrested. As more toxins build up in your body, your skin is also more prone to breakouts.
Acne prone skin is more irritated by the amount of dairy we consume. If you’re a coffee drinker that likes a little creamer, you may be contributing to consistent breakouts. The hormones in dairy products make it the last thing you want to consume when trying to maintain clear skin, so try to drink less dairy if you think your skin needs it.
If you decide you are ready to kick coffee to the curb, once and for all – there are alternatives. Using coffee in skincare can still be beneficial for you, but you don’t have to deal with the internal side effects. Consider these alternatives if you’re looking to hang on to the dark stuff for your skin, but try something else for the morning pick me up.
Natural Alternatives to Coffee
A blend of Indian spices such as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, clove and black pepper along with black tea. Its traditionally brewed with cow’s milk and sugar, but you can use dairy alternatives like almond milk and even for the sweetener, like stevia. And if you really need something to help you wake up in the morning, chai is caffeinated.
This energy boost is made from twigs and leaves of a plant indigenous to the South America region. Yerba Mate is traditionally sipped from a hollow gourd using a silver straw that acts as a filter called a bombilla. Some people think mate has a bitter, grainy flavor but it can give you the same alertness coffee did.
There are so many different types of tea (black, green, powdered, bagged, flavored, etc.). Some are caffeinated and some are not. Some are sweet and some are not. But some types of tea have additional properties similar to coffee. For example, green tea is anti-inflammatory and would be a great substitute if you’re looking for the added benefits without the coffee drawbacks.
AnIf you’re looking to take a step away from coffee forever, consider this alternative for dealing with cellulite. Dry brushing your skin can be done once or even twice a day. Your skin just needs to be dry, so the best time is right before you turn the shower on.
How do you dry brush?
Only brush towards your heart making long, sweeping movements. Avoid going back and forth or scrubbing motions. Begin at your feet and work your way up to the legs and then arms toward your chest. When you brush on your stomach, move the brush counterclockwise. Brushing too hard can irritate the skin, so just brush lightly.
What type of brush do you need?
Natural bristles that are somewhat stiff, but not too hard. A brush with a handle is easier to use for tough to reach places like your back.
What are the benefits?
You mean besides sloughing away dead skin cells that can accumulate in areas like knees, elbows, and ankles? Dry brushing works to renew skin cells and increase blood flow, tighten skin and reduce cellulite. It assists the lymphatic system in releasing toxins which aid digestion and kidney function. Not to mention the glowing skin beneath it all. Did we mention it’s nearly free? Once you’ve found the right brush, it’s something you can do without any additional products.
So whether you decide coffee is right for you on the inside or the outside, there are definitely arguments to consider. Maybe try them out and see which one fits your lifestyle best, but be flexible and willing to make accommodations. What may work for some doesn’t always work for others. Bottom line is that coffee is out there and you can do lots of different things with it. The question is, what will you do with yours? Share your thoughts in the comments below!