We all know what caffeine can do for our moods in the morning, but caffeine is also increasingly celebrated in the dermatological community for its impact on the skin.
For years, caffeine's ability to quickly and effectively constrict blood vessels has made it a valued topical ingredient, particularly in products designed to minimize facial flushing. For that reason, caffeine 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.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, though, caffeine is starting to get lots of attention for its antioxidant properties when used both topically and orally. (That morning cup o' joe might not be so bad after all!)
In fact, research suggests that both oral and topical caffeine may offer powerful anticarcinogenic benefits. A series of studies performed on mice found that caffeinated green and black teas prevented sun damage and even repaired damage once it occurred, whereas decaffeinated teas did not.
One particularly promising study suggested that topical caffeine may also repair UV damage - and that it may prove to be a stronger antioxidant than certain green tea polyphenols, currently among the strongest and best-researched antioxidants around. (On a related note, coffeeberry, which comes from the fruit of the coffee plant, is also getting a lot of attention lately as the next big antioxidant.)
Just a couple words of caution, though: Caffeine is dehydrating, so be sure to follow your coffee or tea with plenty of water. And if you're prone to facial flushing, hot beverages can cause redness; consider enjoying your caffeinated beverages over ice.