Coffee scrub for cellulite: does it work?
Yes, I’ve tried it. I tried EVERYTHING. Heck, I’d have sold my kidney to get rid of my cellulite back in my teen years. Back then, my self-esteem was so low, I thought no man would love me if I didn’t get rid of it.
It sounds crazy when you see it written in black and white, right? And yet, who didn’t think the same at least once?
It took me years, a lot of tears, and a big bag of compassion for me to finally love my body the way it is, cellulite and all.
FYI, cellulite is totally normal. 98% of women have it (yes, even supermodels!). No one is immune. So you may as well learn to live with it instead of spending your life fighting against it.
But if you really must fight, don’t waste your time on coffee scrubs. They’re not the powerful cellulite treatment magazines editors want you to believe. Here’s why:
Is Coffee Scrub An Effective Cellulite Treatment?
The science here can get a bit complicated, so I’ll try to make it as simple as possible.
Cellulite happens because of the way fat cells arrange themselves under the skin. If this distribution is uneven – and it usually is – your skin becomes strained. Hello, dreaded dimpled look!
If you want to get rid of cellulite, you need to break down fat. This process has a name: lypolysis. Lypolysis is controlled by enzyme HSL, which is itself activated by PKA (Protein Kinase A). Are you still with me?
This means that, to get rid of cellulite, you first need to increase the amount of PKA. You can do this by controlling something called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP).
But, there’s a problem. Another enzyme, called PhosphoDiEsterase (PDE for short) breaks down AMP. So, the first thing to do if you want to say goodbye to cellulite is using a PDE inhibitor to get rid of it. Guess what? Caffeine, which we all know is found in coffee, can do the job.
So, to recap, the theory is this: caffeine inhibits PDE, which leads to more AMP, which breaks down more fat, which reduces cellulite.
Still confused? Forget the whole thing and read on to find out why coffee scrubs don’t work for cellulite.
Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Caffeine In Skincare
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Are Coffee Scrubs An Effective Treatment For Cellulite?
Just because caffeine can break down cellulite, it doesn’t mean you can simply put it on your cellulite and wait for it to go away. There are three problems with this approach:
1. Can Caffeine Penetrate Skin?
Yes and no. It depends on the vehicle used to deliver it into the skin. With a good penetration enhancer, it may penetrate well enough to do the job.
But, these scrubs usually mix coffee grounds with olive oil or coconut oil, and these prevent, rather than help, caffeine from getting into the skin (their job is to create a protective barrier on the skin to slow down water loss).
But hey, at least your skin will be silky soft and well-moisturized.
Related: Is Coconut Oil An Effective Natural Sunscreen?
2. How Much Caffeine Is In Coffee Grounds?
Coffee grounds have caffeine, obviously. But, did you know you have to brew them to get it out? Dry coffee grounds only have around 5% caffeine. If the caffeine can’t get out of them, it surely can’t get inside your skin.
3. How Long Should The Scrub Stay On The Skin?
Remember when I said that the rate of penetration of caffeine depends on the vehicle? Well, even with a good vehicle, like a gel base, it can take up to 6 hours for caffeine to fully penetrate the skin.
Are you using a scrub for that long? Me neither. And, even if you wrap the scrub under plastic wrap, it’ll still be very uncomfortable to wear for that long.
The Truth About Caffeine Scrubs For Cellulite
Ok, so maybe you’re willing to brew the coffee grounds, use a good gel base, and leave it on your skin for hours. Still, there is no proof that applying caffeine on your skin can do the job.
The only study I found about the effects of topical application of caffeine on the skin was performed on pigs. And, even then, only when combined with ultrasonic waves. Caffeine alone didn’t work.
The Bottom Line
Stop wasting good coffee, and accept your cellulite. It’s the only thing you can do really, and even if it sounds impossible now, it will make you much, much happier in the long term. I promise.
Have you ever tried scrubbing with coffee grounds to get rid of cellulite? Share your experience in the comments below.