What Are Coffee Scrubs?
Coffee scrubs seem to be all the rage at the moment with many brands bringing out their own formula. Body scrubs are a great way to exfoliate away dead skin and as they are often formulated with moisturizing ingredients can help to maintain the skin’s moisture content as well.
Coffee scrubs are advertised as having the extra benefit of improving the appearance of the skin and in some cases advertise that they help with the appearance of cellulite. Caffeine, the main ingredient in coffee and many people’s saving grace in the morning, has also been studied for its ability to improve the appearance of the skin.
Caffeine is found in many products including body moisturizer, eye creams, and of course coffee scrubs. The recent research into the use of caffeine in skincare suggests that it may help soothe and provide antioxidants to the skin. This as well as potentially helping with circulation and depuffing.
The thing to be mindful of when using or making a coffee scrub is that the grounds can be quite abrasive to the skin, causing some people irritation. Make sure to use a coffee scrub, designed to be gentle on the skin and only use them every now and then.
the good: May help to improve the appearance of the skin, helping to improve circulation, decrease the appearance of puffiness and provide the skin with a source of antioxidants.
the not so good: Coffee scrubs can be harsh and some may experience irritation. If you have sensitive or reactive skin, you may want to avoid using a coffee scrub.
Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.
Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients but in particular hydrating oils.
Keep an eye on: Make sure to only use coffee scrubs on the body, they are usually to harsh for the skin on your face.
What Are The Benefits of Using A Coffee Scrub?
The main purpose of the coffee scrub is to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. The coffee grounds work as an abrasive exfoliate, rather than a chemical one, think acids, to remove the dead skin. Keep in mind that you can over-exfoliate the skin which can lead to breakouts and irritation, so use your coffee scrub sparingly.
Coffee scrubs are generally formulated with heavy oils such as coconut oil to help hydrate the skin. These oils help to prevent transepidermal water loss or TEWL which is when the skin loses water to the air. A heavy oil, such as coconut oil, acts as a protective barrier, trapping the water in.
Coffee is a source of antioxidants which help to protect your skin against free radicals. Free radicals can occur due to exposure to UV rays, diet, smoking or the natural aging process and have been linked with some of the visible signs of aging. It is important to note that while coffee has been identified to contain these antioxidants, there is limited research into whether they benefit the skin when applied topically.
The caffeine from coffee has been studied for its application in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Initial studies have suggested that it may help to increase blood flow to the fatty layer under the skin that contributes to the appearance of cellulite and may help to reduce the fatty acid content. While this is an interesting potential benefit, the research is relatively new and doesn’t constitute a new indication of use.
Interestingly, some studies have suggested that this benefit may also help to reduce the fat that sits under the skin when used topically. It’s important to remember here that subdermal fat or the fat that sits under the skin is the only type of fat affected not the fat that sits around your organs. The fat that sits around your organs is the kind of fat that is generally considered to be worse for your health.
What Should You Consider Before Using A Coffee Scrub?
Make sure your coffee scrub has small grounds and is designed to be gentle on the skin. As nice as it may feel, to give yourself a good scrub, coffee scrubs can irritate the skin or damage the skin’s natural barrier, so be gentle.
The other thing to consider when looking for or making your own coffee scrub is to ensure it contains moisturizing oils, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil or even shea butter.
Are Coffee Scrubs Safe?
Coffee scrubs will vary greatly based on their formulation and the size of the coffee grounds used. Generally, the ingredients are considered to be safe but there is still a risk of irritation and sensitivity. This is due to the high number of plant-derived ingredients that coffee scrubs are usually made of. Plant-derived ingredients can be more sensitizing and can increase the risk of allergic reactions as they aren’t just one ingredient, they are made up of many different compounds.
Piotrowska, A., Czerwińska-Ledwig, O., Serdiuk, M. et al. Composition of scrub-type cosmetics from the perspective of product ecology and microplastic content.Toxicol. Environ. Health Sci. 12, 75–81 (2020).
Packianathan, N & Kandasamy, R, 2011. ‘Skin Care with Herbal Exfoliants’, Functional Plant Science and Biotechnology.