7 Caffeine Skincare Products to Add to Your Routine—And Why You Should

Are caffeine products worth the buzz? Learn the benefits of caffeine for the skin and see our recommended buys.

If you can't start the day without a daily dose of Starbucks, we have some good news: There are other ways to get your caffeine fix (and we're not talking about tea). According to dermatologists, "But first, coffee" is a mantra you might want to apply to your skincare routine when fall weather puts skin into limbo.

"The transition between seasons is a big contributor to skin changes," says Howard Sobel, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City and founder of Sobel Skin. "When the temperature and humidity drop quickly, skin works harder to maintain its hydration." The extra effort can lead to inflammation spikes, especially if you're prone to skin conditions like rosacea. Add gruesome indoor heating and tiresome back-to-school schedules, and your skin is probably crankier than a kindergartener in school.

Benefits of Caffeine in Skincare

That's where caffeine comes in. You've probably heard that it can "wake up" your skin, but what does that truly mean? "It's an anti-inflammatory when used topically," says Dr. Sobel. "It can also reduce wrinkles, brighten skin, and de-puff by improving circulation in the skin." What's more, it's antioxidant-rich, meaning it can help protect skin from UV damage, pollution stressors, and skin cancer. We asked dermatologists how to effectively use caffeine on every area of your skin—and if it works just as well as a cream as in your favorite mug.

For the Eyes

The under eyes are a fickle space. Factors like a restless night, a salty dinner, or even too much sun can all cause fluid retention and hyperpigmentation below your eyes. According to Dr. Sobel, caffeine is a great topical ingredient to improve puffiness and promote circulation. Results are not long-lasting, so dermatologists agree that twice a day is the magic number for best results. Keep eye cream in the fridge for some tingling morning magic, then pamper peepers at night after a long day of staring at the screen.

Tip: Always tap eye treatments instead of rubbing back and forth. "Dark circles are caused by loss of volume," says Susan Bard, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Vive Dermatology in Brooklyn, New York. "Rubbing creates shearing forces which can cause micro-cracks in the skin. It can also lead to irritation, stimulating pigment-producing cells to release its pigment."

Versed The Fix Emergency Eye Mask

Versed The Fix Emergency Eye Mask

In balmier weather, look for eye gels that absorb quickly. This one from Versed is infused with caffeine and cucumber juice and soaks into your skin like a dream.

To buy: $24, amazon.com.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Eye Base

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Eye Base

If your under-eye bags are coupled with dryness, look for emollients like shea butter to smooth out fine lines and create an environmental barrier. The newest from Bobbi Brown works by managing discoloration, then priming the delicate under-eye area for concealer should you need to further camouflage last night's Netflix marathon.

To buy: $58, sephora.com.

100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

The paper-thin skin of the eye can be more sensitive to eye cosmetics. If you're prone to redness, try this hypoallergenic formula starring aloe, rose water, and milder green coffee seed extract.

To buy: $29, dermstore.com.

The Ordinary Caffeine 5% + EGCG Depuffing Eye Serum

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

This serum-like eye cream is packed with antioxidant-rich caffeine and EGCG (aka green tea extract) to reduce sun damage and plump up that sunken eye look. Bonus: It's practically undetectable once applied, allowing moisturizer or foundation to be layered seamlessly.

To buy: $8, ulta.com.

For the Face

Your eyes are not the only place that puffs up. Indulging in high-sodium foods can cause fluid retention, leaving you with a swollen face come morning. According to Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California, caffeine is a vasoconstrictor. "Caffeine may temporarily constrict the superficial blood vessels in the skin, helping the skin to appear less red, irritated, and blotchy," says Dr. Shainhouse. "By constricting the vessels, it may also help to prevent fluid seepage from those vessels, which may, in turn, help skin appear less puffy."

Caffeine is also packed with antioxidants. By applying topically, you can limit the number of free radicals (i.e., the cause of fine lines and wrinkles) that your body produces. Another anti-aging perk? Amino acids. Some types of coffee, like green coffee bean oil, are full of them and can help aid in collagen and elastin production. Don't expect to see instant results, but its soothing properties can promote these benefits when used long-term.

Youth to the People Yerba Mate Resurfacing + Exfoliating Energy Facial

Youth to the People Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial

Start the day with the ultimate caffeinated skin care experience (it's akin to taking CrossFit before sunrise!). This mask is made from a blend of yerba mate and guayusa, boasting four times more caffeine than coffee. The zingy micro-exfoliant also includes lactic acid (an AHA favorite) to leave your face feeling pumped and rejuvenated.

To buy: $54, sephora.com.

Snow Fox Hot Stone Facial Mask

Snow Fox Hot Stone Facial Mask

Revive your skin with these self-warming masks. Its main star is caffeine, but it's also supported by an Oscar-worthy cast of skin-lightening niacinamide and collagen-building copper tripeptide.

To buy: $36 for 5, snowfoxskincare.com.

For the Body

Caffeine is a prime ingredient found in slimming and cellulite creams. According to Dr. Shainhouse, it can increase blood flow and is said to stimulate the removal of fatty acids from the fatty layer.

But know this: While skin is smoother and more taunt after washing with caffeine products, don't expect a cure for butt dimples. "Caffeine does not get rid of cellulite," says Dr. Shainhouse. "It may temporarily reduce superficial fluid and inflammation in the skin, so that skin is temporarily dehydrated and less puffy, which can make cellulite visually less apparent. Caffeine does not destroy the fibrous bands that tack down the skin and trap subcutaneous tissue and fat that create the bumpy appearance of cellulite."

In short, don't rely on caffeine as a cellulite cure. But it's still worth adding to your body lineup; when caffeine is combined with other ingredients, it can energize the skin and optimize cellular energy to help keep the skin hydrated, conditioned, and healthy.

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Body Cream

Sol de Janiero Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

With over 5,000 five-star reviews, customers swear by this cream's smoothing effects thanks to the powerful effects of caffeine-rich guaraná.

To buy: $48, sephora.com.

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  1. Canfield C-A, Bradshaw PC. Amino acids in the regulation of aging and aging-related diseases. Transl Med Aging. 2019;3:70-89, doi:10.1016/j.tma.2019.09.001

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