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How Caffeine Can Boost Your Skin’s Natural Hydration

You’ve probably heard that coffee dehydrates you, hence you’ve limited your caffeine intake, even though you crave for it. Good news, this myth has been debunked by science. Keep reading…

dehydrated skin elephant
Photo by: Sean McGee

There is a lot of recent buzz in the beauty industry about the benefits of coffee for skin health. From its antioxidant power, its ability to improve circulation, to its anti-inflammatory properties, this super-bean seems to offer more than an energy boost. And when focusing on the caffeine compound in particular, research suggests it can provide skin with a literal “boost” which increases its moisture content, giving a healthier, more youthful appearance.

How Does Caffeine Benefit Skin?

Jaime Emetsberger, Ph.D., a principal scientist for Tom Ford Research and The Estée Lauder Companies shared in a recent interview with Rachel Grabenhofer from Cosmetics & Toiletries on how caffeine acts on the skin by effecting its electrical charge, and in turn, improving hydration.

Emmetsberger explains that skin functions much like a battery, carrying electrical properties that can be changed and manipulated. Her team discovered that caffeine has a unique ability to increase these electrical properties which ups the electrical potential. This was then found to be directly correlated with the skin’s water content.

What drives this phenomenon is the stabilisation of a molecule called cyclic AMP (adenosine monophosphate) which has also been shown to moderate particular ion channels. Emmetsberger’s team chose to focus on the sodium channel. They found that with the stabilisation of cyclic AMP with the use of caffeine, there was an increase in the sodium channel expression.

Photo by: Bennie Lukas

'Demythed': Does Caffeine Dehydrate You?

They also discovered an increase in the channel’s traffic from inside the cell onto the cell surface where it then created changes that increased ion flux. This manipulation of charge happening in the cell was actually the force that was pulling water into the skin through a process called electroosmosis. In this process, the charge given to the atoms creates ions that shift around and form new space between them. This causes the effect of hydration because the difference in ion distribution is what draws water into the skin. It is known that water follows salt, and this is exactly what happens when caffeine increases the sodium channel movement into the skin’s cells.

Emmetsberger says that experts in the beauty industry have been performing tests and research on the skin’s electrical properties for many years. They have been interested in finding which compounds are able to provide benefits by enhancing skin’s electrical potential, and they’ve found that caffeine will actually improve skin’s water content. They have also found that the electrical charge given by caffeine can enhance skin regeneration and healing.


Want to know more? Read about the Skin & Health Benefits of coffee here.


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