Spotlight On: Caffeine

by Gio
can caffeine treat cellulite and dark circles

I can’t think of anything better to wake you up in the morning than a good cup of coffee. But can it perk up your peepers and rid you of dark circles, too?

The skincare world thinks so. If you’ve been skincare shopping lately, you’ve probably noticed caffeine is popping up in eye creams, antiaging creams and even anti cellulite creams (wth?!).

What makes it so popular? Is caffeine just the latest celebrity child that got the gig thanks to its coffee connection or can it really give your dark circles, wrinkles and cellulite the boot?

Well, you know what they say. If it’s good to good to be true…

Can Caffeine Treat Dark Circles?

That depends. What is causing your dark circles?

  1. Genetics
  2. Excessive melanin production
  3. Blood pooling under the eyes

If you’ve answered 1, tough luck. You can’t get rid of those. You can only cover them with concealer.

If you’ve answered 2, you need a skin-lighter to reduce the pigmentation. I’ve written a complete guide to compare the best skin-lighteners and where to find them.

If you’ve answered 3, let’s talk. Blood pooling under the eye is often a result of vasodilation. You can tell this is the case if the dark colour disappears when you apply pressure to it.

In this case, caffeine works because it acts as a vasoconstrictor. In another words, it constricts blood vessels on the surface, a trick that reduces both dark circles and puffiness. 

Related: Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: What’s The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?

Can Caffeine Prevent Wrinkles?

Nope, caffeine can’t make the wrinkles you already have disappear, sorry!

But it can prevent new ones from forming. Caffeine is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight the free radicals that cause wrinkles.

Some studies say it can reduce sun damage, too. I’m waiting for more studies to confirm this, but it sounds promising so far, don’t you think?

Related: How To Fight Wrinkles: What Really Works

Can Caffeine Treat Cellulite?

This one’s a no. Caffeine can’t treat cellulite.

Caffeine may prevent wrinkles and even reduce some types of dark circles but there isn’t the faintest shred of proof that it reduces cellulite.

What caffeine can do is dehydrate skin cells. This magic trick makes them look smoother, tricking you into thinking your cellulite is disappearing.

But it’s an illusion. The smoothness is only temporary. And dehydrating your skin cells isn’t a great idea, anyway.

Related: Get Over It, Cellulite Is Normal

Can caffeine treat rosacea?

Yes, there’s a bonus, too.

Remember when I told you caffeine is a vasoconstrictor? That can help with rosacea, too. I’ll let dermatologist Leslie Baumann do the talking:

“[because caffeine has the ability to constrict blood vessels, it] can be a tremendous boon to those who suffer from rosacea, which is essentially caused by frequently dilated blood vessels that lose their ability to contract.”

What Are The Best Products With Caffeine?

The bottom line

I got mixed feelings about caffeine. It has great antioxidant properties and can help you reduce some types of dark circles and even soothe rosecea. But it’s hardly the miracle worker it’s touted to be. It won’t do anything for cellulite or most types of dark circles.

Do you use any skincare products with caffeine? Share your faves in the comments below.



Vonvon November 1, 2011 - 1:31 pm

I always need my morning coffee nowadays.

Kiehl’s eye alert eye cream has caffeine, and when I used it, my dark circles did go away. But mine was caused by lack of sleep then.

beautifulwithbrains November 1, 2011 - 8:59 pm

Vonvon, I’m glad the Kiehl’s cream helped get rid of your dark circles. 🙂

Ana November 1, 2011 - 4:18 pm

I like the way you style your articles – even though they’re a bit longer, the bite-sized subsections make them easy to read.

And no, I don’t use any caffeine prodcuts.

beautifulwithbrains November 1, 2011 - 9:05 pm

Ana, thanks. I’m glad you like it. I hope that this way, being easier to read, people will be more prone to read the entire thing. But even if they can’t, they can always get the gist of it at the end. 🙂

La Bisbetica November 1, 2011 - 4:36 pm

In the past I’ve used a shaping body cream with caffeine, but I didn’t get the desired effects. I don’t drink coffee, but I like cappuccino! 🙂

beautifulwithbrains November 1, 2011 - 9:06 pm

La Bisbetica, I’m sorry the cream disappointed you. Unfortunately caffeine can only make skin look smoother, not reshape or reduce anything.

Regn October 1, 2012 - 7:52 pm

What do you think about caffeine in anti hair loss/stimulating shampoos and other similar treatments? Could it really stimulate hair growth?

beautifulwithbrains October 2, 2012 - 5:57 am

Regn, according to this study, caffeine is a “stimulator of human hair growth in vitro”. This could lead to new treatments for hair loss. The products will have to be formulated so as to contain enough caffeine to be able to penetrate hair and not be rinsed off though so I guess it will work better in leave-in ones rather than shampoos.

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