If you ask us, there’s no better way to wake up in the morning than with a delicious, steaming hot cup of coffee. Of course, it tastes great—but more importantly, it’s packed with caffeine, that naturally-derived stimulant that makes getting out of bed in the morning just a little bit easier. But sluggish mornings aren’t the only things caffeine is good for. When used topically, this natural ingredient also has a slew of benefits for your skin.
Here, we’ll give you the run-down on what caffeine actually is and where it comes from (besides coffee, of course). You’ll also learn a little bit about the various benefits of caffeine for skin and discover several caffeine-infused Kiehl’s products that you can add to your morning skincare routine. Pour yourself a cup of joe and read on for your all-in-one guide to caffeine for skin.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally-occurring alkaloid compound derived from the leaves and fruits of various plants, including coffee and cocoa trees. It’s best known for its stimulant properties, which humans have celebrated—and taken advantage of—for thousands of years. Today, approximately 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine in some form on a daily basis.I
In addition to its energizing properties, caffeine is a natural antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals. It’s water-soluble and absorbs readily through the skin, making it a popular additive in skincare formulations, especially those designed for use in the morning. It’s one of the key ingredients in our men’s Facial Fuel collection, which stars the fan-favorite Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash. The invigorating formula helps cleanse and refresh dull, tired-looking skin, making it the ideal first step in your morning skincare routine.
4 Benefits Of Caffeine For Skin
Now that you know what caffeine is (in addition to being the go-to cure for your mid-day slump), we can get into the specifics of how it benefits your skin. Keep reading to discover four of the biggest benefits of using caffeine skin products in your daily routine.
Caffeine Skin Benefit #1:
The Stimulating Compound Helps Revive Puffy-Looking Eyes
Probably the best-known beauty benefit of caffeine is its ability to help improve the appearance of puffy-looking eyes. Often, when your eyes are puffy, it’s due to fluid accumulation. Eye products containing caffeine help encourage your body to flush out this excess fluid, which may give your eyes a smoother, noticeably less puffy appearance.
If you frequently wake up with under-eye bags, try adding a caffeine-infused eye cream, like Eye Fuel, to your morning routine. This men’s eye cream, which also contains niacinamide, instantly smooths and hydrates the under-eye area. When used consistently, it helps improve the appearance of puffiness and dark circles, leaving the eye area looking visibly more refreshed over time.
Caffeine Skin Benefit #2:
It’s a Powerful Natural Antioxidant
If we asked you to name your favorite antioxidant foods (or drinks), coffee probably wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind. However, coffee—and anything else that contains caffeine—does have antioxidant properties. Caffeine helps neutralize damaging free radicals that develop after exposure to stressors, like air pollution or UV radiation. These compounds, if left unchecked, can accumulate on your skin and cause damage. Over time, this oxidative damage can result in the premature development of visible age-related skin concerns, like fine lines and wrinkles.
In helping to neutralize these havoc-wreaking compounds, caffeine can help keep your skin looking healthy and able to defend itself against aggressors. This makes it a particularly powerful weapon to utilize in your skincare routine.
Caffeine Skin Benefit #3:
Caffeine is Energizing—For Your Mind and Skin
When ingested, caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, causing you to feel more awake and alert. Topical caffeine has a similarly invigorating effect on your skin. It’s particularly useful to reach for when your skin feels tired, like after a sleepless night.
At Kiehl’s, we offer a range of skincare (and body!) products containing caffeine. Kickstart your morning in the shower with Body Fuel, an energizing two-in-one cleanser made with caffeine and menthol. The refreshing wash, which can be used on the scalp and skin, gently removes excess oil, sweat, and other impurities for clean, refreshed skin.
Then, give your face the same treatment with a caffeine-spiked face scrub, like Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub. Suitable for all skin types, this effective facial scrub for men helps slough away surface impurities, leaving your skin feeling clean and refreshed. Because it’s so effective, you don’t want to use it daily—three times per week is ideal (bonus: you can use it before shaving to soften tough facial hair for a close, comfortable shave).
Caffeine Skin Benefit #4:
It Can Help Firm and Tone Aging Skin
Because antioxidants help prevent skin damage before it occurs, they’re crucial components of an effective anti-aging skincare routine. Caffeine may not be the best-known antioxidant, but it has benefits similar to popular antioxidants like vitamins C and E. Additionally, topical caffeine can help boost elasticity and firm the skin, which may promote a more youthful, alert appearance.
To reap these benefits in your anti-aging skincare routine, try swapping your current moisturizer for Age Defender Cream Moisturizer. The revitalizing anti-wrinkle cream with caffeine and adenosine helps moisturize and exfoliate men’s skin, improving the appearance of age-related skin concerns like fine lines and wrinkles. When used regularly, the powerful moisturizer also boosts elasticity, leaving the skin looking smoother and firmer with continued use.
For the eye area, try Powerful Wrinkle-Reducing Eye Cream instead. The potent anti-aging formula helps smooth and refine the skin’s texture. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used morning and night to help diminish under-eye wrinkles, crow’s feet, and other eye-area concerns.
Try These Kiehl’s Skincare Products With Caffeine
The above aren’t the only Kiehl’s products that contain caffeine—in fact, this potent ingredient makes an appearance in several more of our formulas. Ahead, discover a few skincare standouts featuring our favorite stimulating substance.
Facial Fuel Energizing Tonic for Men
We always recommend toning after washing your face—not just to remove excess residue but also to help prepare your skin for the rest of your routine. For added benefits, swap out your go-to toner for the caffeine-infused Facial Fuel Energizing Tonic for Men. The refreshing formula, which also contains vitamin C, reduces visible signs of fatigue for fresh, balanced-looking skin. You can use it morning and night after cleansing or splash it on immediately after shaving to help soothe your freshly-shaved skin.
Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men
If you’re someone who prefers lightweight moisturizers over heavier face creams, try Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men. The hydrating yet non-greasy moisturizer with caffeine and chestnut extract smooths on easily and absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling fresh and energized. The invigorating formula is suitable for all men’s skin types and can be used morning and night to help keep your skin well-hydrated (just remember to top it off with sunscreen during the day).
Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer
Like Eye Fuel, Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer helps smooth the under-eye area. However, the unique formula, which comes in a balm-like tube, is designed to be rubbed directly on the skin, almost like a targeted under-eye massage. The cooling treatment immediately refreshes tired-looking eyes and visibly reduces puffiness for a more revived appearance.
Next: Learn about another Kiehl’s signature ingredient in our article The Skincare Benefits Of Squalane.
Source I. Heckman, Melanie A. et al. “(1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) in Foods: A Comprehensive Review on Consumption, Functionality, Safety, and Regulatory Matters.” Journal of Food Science vol. 75, 3 (2010): R77-R87. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01561.x