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Does drinking coffee glow your skin?

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, with over 2.25 billion cups consumed daily. Many people rely on their morning cup of coffee to help wake them up and get their day started. But coffee may also offer some beauty benefits, including improving your skin glow and radiance. Keep reading to learn more about the research on coffee and skin glow.

What causes your skin to glow?

Healthy, glowing skin comes from having adequate hydration, good blood circulation, a balanced diet, and taking care of your skin. Some specific factors that can contribute to a radiant complexion include:

  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants help protect your skin from free radical damage that can lead to dullness, wrinkles, and pigmentation changes. Foods and beverages high in antioxidants may boost skin radiance when consumed regularly.
  • Collagen: This protein provides structure to your skin. Increased collagen production can help skin look fuller, more hydrated and luminous.
  • Blood flow: Good circulation brings oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells and supports radiance.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated by drinking adequate water and eating foods with high water content can help your skin look plumper and more fresh.
  • Healthy fats: Essential fatty acids from foods like avocados, salmon and olive oil help maintain skin cell membrane health for a supple, glowing look.
  • Exfoliation: Removing the top layer of dead skin cells through exfoliation reveals the fresh, new cells underneath and allows your complexion to shine.

Does coffee help your skin glow?

Coffee contains compounds like antioxidants and caffeine that may provide glow-boosting skin benefits when consumed in moderation. Here is an overview of the evidence:

Coffee is high in antioxidants

Coffee beans are naturally rich sources of antioxidants, including:

  • Chlorogenic acid
  • Caffeic acid
  • Melanoidins

These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and may help protect skin cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can cause dullness and dark spots when skin is consistently exposed.

In one study, women who drank coffee for 6 weeks saw improvements in red blood cell antioxidant activity compared to non-coffee drinkers. Higher antioxidant levels may translate to more protection for your skin.

Caffeine may improve circulation

Caffeine is absorbed quickly after drinking coffee. It has vasoconstrictive effects, meaning it causes blood vessels to constrict temporarily. This helps increase blood pressure.

Research shows that vasoconstriction from consuming a moderate amount of caffeine may slightly boost circulation, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to skin tissue. This small increase in blood flow may lead to a short-term glow effect.

It may protect skin from sun damage

Limited research suggests coffee may help protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage that can cause signs of aging over time.

In one small study, participants who consumed coffee for 4 weeks before UV exposure had less reddening and DNA damage compared to those who didn’t consume coffee. The antioxidant content is thought to play a role in these protective effects.

That said, coffee should not replace sunscreen and sun-safe habits. But the antioxidants it provides may offer some bonus UV protection.

Can coffee benefit your skin?

Here is a summary of some of the top ways regular coffee consumption may boost your complexion based on the current research:

Skin Benefit Evidence Level
Brighter, more even tone Moderate evidence from studies on coffee’s antioxidant content protecting skin cells and improving circulation
Reduced appearance of fine lines/wrinkles Weak evidence. One small study found coffee consumption correlated with less periorbital wrinkles in women
Increased collagen production Weak evidence. One lab study saw coffee stimulated collagen synthesis in cultured fibroblasts
Reduced risk of pigmentation spots Moderate evidence that coffee’s antioxidant content may prevent oxidative damage that leads to pigmentation
Reduced puffiness/under eye circles Moderate evidence that caffeine may improve circulation and drainage, reducing fluid buildup
Protection against UV damage Limited evidence from small studies on coffee’s antioxidant effects

Overall, research suggests coffee provides antioxidant and circulatory effects that may promote brighter, more youthful looking skin when consumed in moderation.

How much coffee is ideal for your skin?

Most skin benefits are seen with moderate coffee intake of 3-5 cups per day. Studies show:

  • Up to 4 cups of coffee daily was associated with a 20% lower risk of pigmentation spots in women.
  • Women who drank more than 3 cups of coffee per day had lower likelihood of periorbital wrinkles.
  • Minimum beneficial dose for antioxidant effects may be 2-3 cups per day.

However, drinking more than 5 cups of coffee daily may cause issues like dehydration and disrupted sleep, which can negatively affect your skin. It’s best to stick to 3-4 cups spaced throughout your day.

Tips for maximizing coffee’s skin benefits

Follow these tips to get the most out of your coffee for glowing skin:

Choose quality beans

Opt for medium or dark roast coffee made from 100% arabica beans. These have higher antioxidant levels than robusta beans.

Brew it right

Go with drip coffee, French press or cold brew. Heat from boiling water in methods like espresso can destroy some antioxidants.

Skip the cream and sugar

Have your coffee black or just add a splash of milk. Sugar and heavy cream provide empty calories and may negate benefits.

Stay hydrated

Drink an 8 oz glass of water for every cup of coffee to counteract its mild diuretic effects.

Use coffee in your skincare

Look for skincare products containing coffee extract or ground coffee. The caffeine and antioxidants may provide additional benefits when applied topically.

Potential downsides of coffee for skin

Coffee consumption does come with some potential skin drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • Dehydration: Drinking too much caffeinated coffee can lead to fluid loss and dry skin.
  • Sensitivity: The acids in coffee may irritate sensitive skin. Watch for flushing, redness or breakouts.
  • Disrupted sleep: Coffee too late in the day can reduce sleep quality, leading to tired looking skin.
  • Anxiety: Coffee may heighten stress and anxiety for some, indirectly affecting skin health.
  • Allergies: Though rare, it’s possible to be allergic to compounds in coffee.

Pay attention to how your skin looks and feels when you drink coffee. Limit intake if you experience any negative effects. Protect your skin by staying hydrated and getting enough sleep.


Research indicates that coffee provides antioxidant and circulatory effects that can promote a short-term glow and may offer long-term skin benefits related to protection from oxidative damage, collagen production, and reducing puffiness. Moderate coffee intake around 3-5 cups per day appears ideal for skin health. However, watch for dehydration, irritation and sleep disruption if you drink too much. Overall, coffee seems to be reasonably safe for skin when consumed mindfully, but more research is still needed.