Does Coffee Cause Acne? (Interesting Facts)

Coffee is known to carry tons of antioxidants that are good for your health and skin. Coffee itself does not contribute to causing acne but the additives like dairy and sugar in coffee can cause pimples and severe acne.  

Coffee is a very popular beverage all around the world. With around 2 billion drinkers every day, it’s an essential part of almost everybody’s morning routine. Coffee entails tons of antioxidants and nutrients which are excellent for your skin’s health. But if are a heavy coffee drinker it can give you some skin issues, most prominently acne.

I did tons of research and found some really interesting facts. So, keep on reading to find out more.

Is Drinking Coffee Bad For Your Skin?

A close up picture of an eye

Drinking coffee isn’t necessarily bad for our skin, in fact, it can even be good for it! Coffee is rich in antioxidants and antioxidants have been shown to protect the skin from damage caused by UV or pollution. But excessively drinking coffee can cause many skin issues like wrinkles and pimples.

Did you know that our skin is the largest organ of our body? Amazing right! So, is your daily chocker causing damage to it? Simply put, coffee is not the bad guy.

Its organic components are jam-packed with lots of good stuff for your skin. But if you do consume it in large quantities it may not end well for your skin in particular.

The acidic nature of coffee can will lead to high levels of acid in your body. This can intervene with the hormones or may trigger your skin to produce more oil or sebum.

This excessive oil can trigger acne and constant breakouts. Plus, the dairy in your cappuccinos and lattes can also increase the chances of having acne. The hormone called IGF-1 is responsible for breakouts.

In some cases, the effects can be the opposite. Instead of causing more oil, it can dry up the skin causing wrinkles. The diuretic nature of coffee can make it look dehydrated with dry patches all over which results in wrinkles.  

Below is a chart showing you the amount of damage that can happen when drinking coffee more than the advised amount versus in moderation.

These results show the effects when coffee is taken in moderation, that is two 8oz cups every day for 30 days, and comparing to overdose coffee effects, that is five 8oz cups every day for 30 days.

IssuesOverDose Coffee (effects)Moderate Coffee (effects)
Acne40% increaseNo visible signs
Wrinkles35% increase0.05% increase
Inflammation27% increaseNo inflammation
Oil production70% increaseNo visible signs
Aging33% increaseLess than 1%

Is Coffee Good For Acne Prone Skin?

Topical use of coffee, like coffee masks and scrubs, is helpful for acne or acne-prone skin. But excessive drinking of coffee, especially if it’s high in sugar and milk, can worsen your acne.

Drinking coffee every day doesn’t do much for acne. If you drink over the advised amount it can worsen it. But if you’re not an over drinker and consume coffee less than 4 cups it can provide some benefits.

Since caffeine in the coffee helps with blood circulation it can make your complexion glow while giving you vitamins and essential minerals. This can help overall with the damages of acne. However, if you use coffee or caffeine-based products you sure can reap more fruit for acne-prone skin than you might imagine.

The chlorogenic acid which is found in coffee when applied to acne-prone skin can reduce inflammation. It also has anti-bacterial properties which help to diminish the acne-causing bacteria in your skin.

Also, you can use coffee grounds to make a DIY home scrub or get it from the market. This scrub can exfoliate dead skin cells and remove oil and dirt which clog the pores causing acne. A great DIY recipe for coffee scrub that is budget-friendly and easy to make is below.

  • Take ¼ cup fresh coffee grounds. You can use the leftover coffee grounds from your coffee as well but it will be less effective.
  • Add ¼ cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the coffee ground.
  • Mix this until well-combined.

Use this to scrub twice a week on your face or even body if you have body acne. After scrubbing, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse with water. Do not go overboard with the scrubbing. Gently massage all over your face or body. The coffee grounds can be a little hard on your skin if you rub them harshly and can cause more damage.

You can also watch this great video that I found where she shows you how to make coffee scrubs and their results.

watch this video to find out more benefits of coffee scrubs!

Does Quitting Coffee Clear The Skin?

Quitting coffee won’t immediately clear your skin, but it can, however, improve it. That said, you don’t have to cut coffee completely out of your diet as coffee is a great source of antioxidants. There are ways to improve your skin without having to abandon coffee completely.  

More than any energy drink people prefer having a cup of coffee to get their day started. this wake-me-up golden juice is available in almost every kitchen.

It lets you jumpstart your day and enables you to finish your pending tasks. The big but comes when you start consuming it in really large quantities or have lost track of how many cups you consume in a day.

Not only the caffeine from the coffee but the other additives like milk and sugar cause damage to your skin. The problem doesn’t only rely on the overdosage of coffee alone but dairy and sugar are also equal culprits.

Plus, quitting coffee completely will break off your supply of anti-oxidants which are really helpful. According to chemistry professor, Joe Vinson, coffee yet alone is the largest source of anti-oxidants, especially for Americans.

In addition, keep in mind the coffee products like coffee oil, coffee scrubs, coffee masks, etc. are proven to give more skin benefits rather than drinking coffee or quitting coffee. So, enjoy your morning or evening coffee without having to worry about your skin.

But follow these tips related to coffee to diminish the coffee-related effects.

Decrease your coffee intake

Keep a track of your daily coffee cups. I know it’s relatively easy to go overboard when you are too occupied with work and need that boost of energy to get your task completed. Instead of having 3 to 4 cups try and have 2 cups throughout the day.

If you think it’s too much at once, you can opt for decaffeinated coffee as well. It does have about 3% of caffeine and can satisfy your coffee cravings while giving you anti-oxidants. Plus, avoid energy drinks or try to strike a balance of your caffeine intake throughout your day from coffee and energy drink.

No sugar

Excessive amounts of sugar are not good for your body, especially your skin. The sugar from the coffee can trigger acne and breakouts more frequently than normal. Cutting back on sugar is the way to go. Or if you do need some sweetness use Stevia or Splenda.

They are natural sweeteners and easy for your body to digest. You can read my article on natural sweeteners you can add to your coffee if you’d like to know more.

No dairy milk or cream

Add a splash of skim milk or start using nut-based milk like almond milk, coconut milk, etc. It’s up to you. These alternatives to whole cow milk are great in your coffees and are readily available at coffee shops too. Also, do not use heavy cream or half and half. Use non-dairy unsweetened creamers for your coffee.

pouring black coffee from the kettle into a glass cup.

Does Coffee Cause Hormonal Acne?

There is no scientific evidence that pinpoints coffee to directly causing hormonal acne. But coffee has been shown to affect hormones and that may lead to hormonal acne.

Coffee impacts the body positively or negatively depending on the quantity consumed on a regular basis. Since sugar and dairy are active ingredients in the cuppa, they play a vital role in triggering acne.

But hormonal acne is a bit different. It usually happens when hormonal fluctuation is happening inside the body usually around puberty or menopause. During both of these times, the body is undergoing major changes. The hormones are all over the place leading to hormonal acne.

Normally coffee does not really interfere with your hormonal balance. But if your coffee cups have increased over time, the large amount of caffeine can shoot up your cortisol level.

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. And when stress levels are increased in the body it can trigger your skin to produce more oil. This excessive layer of oil can cause breakouts. Plus, cortisol is also responsible for skin inflammation. Another ground which pesters acne and breakouts.

Even the insulin level can shoot up by the sugar added to your coffee. These increased insulins can make your acne worse than before according to this research.

Also, this study shows caffeine can spike estrogen levels, especially in females. Therefore, limit your caffeine intake to avoid any type of acne or breakouts.

The Bottom Line

Coffee is jam-packed with antioxidants. This is a great source to get your daily intake of caffeine as well as these nutrients. But heavily drinking coffee can make a perfect ground for acne.

This does not mean you have to leave your daily caffeine fix. But instead, I suggest that you limit your intake so that your skin and body are in good health.

You see, you need to keep track of your coffee intake on a regular basis. Since coffee isn’t the only source of caffeine or sugar, everything counts when it comes to your health.

Strike a balance and avoid going overboard. This way you will reap the benefits of coffee and will not get any breakouts or acne.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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