Caffeine as the Fountain of Youth?

What's the evidence for caffeine and skin health?

I love a nice coffee, cappuccino, or latte in the morning... and often times multiple more later in the day :) The taste, the smell - it gets me ready and excited to start a new day. I've seen a few things shared on social media recently purporting caffeine ingestion as the fountain of youth... if true, I am a little bummed to have developed these gray hairs after all the consumption during medical school, but nevertheless I was inspired to do more research on the topic and find out what the scientific evidence is in regards to caffeine and skin health. I found the following...

  1. Studies looking at the effects of caffeine in sun damaged skin showed the topical application of caffeine in mice resulted in decreased sun induced wrinkle formation and skin connective tissue changes. These studies suggest topical caffeine application may have some anti-aging qualities. They unfortunately did not study oral ingestion of caffeine.

  2. Other studies in mice looking at the effects of caffeine in sun damaged skin showed caffeine administration increased the turnover of damaged skin cells. These studies suggest that caffeine when topically applied may reduce the effects of sun induced inflammation and reactions.

  3. In another study, caffeine application in mice protected normal healthy skin cells from from self regulated death. These studies suggest that topical caffeine application may increase overall skin health.

The research does suggest topical caffeine application may be beneficial. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on oral ingestion as we don't know for sure how much taken orally gets to the skin.

Also, keep in mind these studies are not on humans and not every finding in mice translates to humans. These studies are certainly promising and show that caffeine MAY improve your skin health but certainly not a sure thing.

My recommendation is, if you enjoy a caffeinated beverage, continue to enjoy :) Based on the scientific evidence, we cannot say for sure that caffeine ingestion/topical application will give people the skin improvement they desire, but the research is promising!

  • Dr. Mirmanesh