Skin Health Magazine Issue #6 / Winter 2018 - Page 25

Ingredient Spotlight: Caffeine Y ou’re accustomed to having it in your coffee, your tea, and your Diet Coke. And it’s surely in whatever you’re sipping right now to get through the first hour of the work day. But what’s caffeine doing in your skin care routine? Over the years, research into the effica- cy of caffeine in cosmetics has turned up mixed results; but a review of today’s leading research — “Caffeine’s Mecha- nisms of Action and Its Cosmetic Use,” published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology — pulled together some pretty compelling findings. The authors’ takeaways give us plenty of reason to embrace this ingredient in many of our favourite products. For one thing, caffeine’s great at penetrating the skin — which makes these other benefits possible. Fighting cellulite. Caffeine shows up in cellulite creams and lotions because it inhibits the accumulation of fat in cells — specifically by messing with the activity of phosphodiesterase, which can prevent body fat from breaking down. Goodbye fatty tissue deposits that cause cellulite. Regrettably, caffeine can’t always trump our own genetics, diet and exercise. Some cellulite may be inevitable, but caffeine can make a dent in those dents. Fighting free radicals. Free radicals come from air, water, food and medica- tion and are thought to cause, among other problems, premature ageing. An- tioxidants help fight free radicals and — surprise! — caffeine is an antioxidant. This means caffeine in your skin care products helps take on free radicals and the damage they cause, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Fighting dark circles. If your dark circles came from your Grandma, you’re on your own. But if they’re caused by lifestyle factors such as dehydration or lack of sleep, bring on the caffeine. Caffeine in- creases the microcirculation of blood within the skin — those circles are gen- erally blood accumulating under your eyes — and reduce puffiness and inflammation. While we prefer conventional skin care products that combine caffeine and other vital ingredients for maximum impact, there are the old-fashioned remedies too. If you’re in a pinch, you can try these caffeine-infused classics: homemade coffee ground scrubs to invigorate your feet and wet tea bags to treat tired eyes. ISSUE #06 | 2018 | 25