Case Study – Is Too Much Coffee Bad For Your Skin?

Image: Nan Palmero

Results from the online survey done by the National Coffee Association in 2013 revealed that about 83 percent of adults in the U.S. consume coffee, averaging about three cups of coffee a day per person. While a cup of coffee, whether made at home or from a coffee shop, is often seen as symbol of the modern, busy time, it doesn’t always equate to better living especially when it comes to health. Drinking too much coffee can be causing more harm than good especially on the skin.

Effects of Coffee on the Skin

There are several ways on how too much coffee can ruin your skin. These include the following:

  • Dehydrating effect of caffeine
    The caffeine in a regular cup of coffee may serve a good purpose for those who wake up tired, it may not be too good especially if you’re prone to breakouts and worried about premature signs of skin aging.

    Like alcohol, caffeine is dehydrating. Losing hydration can have a direct impact on the skin especially on older men and women. With dehydration, the skin is more prone to inflammation and visible signs of premature aging. Add that to the effect of caffeine in the liver, toxins can build up in the skin, making you more prone to blemishes.
  • Clogging effect of tannin
    Tannin is a chemical typically found in coffee and tea. It is often used commercially in processing leather, to make them look shiny and soft.

    Drinking too much coffee can cause tannin buildup, preventing skin cells from receiving the nutrients they need for healthy functioning. Too much tannins in the body also disrupts the normal functioning of the liver which plays an important role in filtering toxins from the body. Toxin buildup contributes to the development of liver spots on the skin.
  • Acne-triggering effect of sweeteners and dairy
    If you’re fond of drinking lattes or sugar-laden coffee drinks, then you’re increasing your risk of having breakouts.

    Health experts believed that certain skin issues may be triggered by the dairy that one consumes. There is a strong correlation between consumption of dairy and acne. It has something to do with hormones especially that pregnant cows are usually the ones commonly used in farming. Their hormones progesterone and insulin growth factors get into their milk which make one more prone to inflammation, breakouts, and aging.

    Refined sugar is another additive in coffee that’s bad for the skin. It causes sudden spike in the insulin level of the body, triggering a burst of inflammation. When there is inflammation, certain enzymes are produced, breaking down the elastin and collagen of the skin. This, in turn, can lead to the appearance of fine lines and skin sagging. 

How Quitting Coffee Affects the Skin: A Case Study

Deven Hopp, a blogger, narrates in a website called Byrdie how giving up her cup of Joe has led her to clearer, better skin. Although she admitted that it wasn’t easy especially on the first few days, she revealed that this experiment has made her skin better.

Hopp’s experience in quitting coffee didn’t give her instant results. In fact, there wasn’t any noticeable difference during the first week of quitting coffee. She still had breakouts but these had cleared up during week three.

The experiment may have not led her to have that kind of “flawlessness” in the skin but combining how her skin is during the entire duration of the experiment and how she feels, she vows to stick to her no-coffee bandwagon.


It’s all about moderation. It’s okay if you’re not yet ready to give up your morning cup of coffee. As long as you’re drinking in moderation and without too much creamer or sweetener, you still can enjoy the taste and benefits of coffee without compromising your skin’s health.

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