An antioxidant compound that is obtained from coffee and tea leaves. It increases the microcirculation of blood in the skin and is claimed to be able to reduce the appearance of orange peel skin (although the research is lacking).
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Caffeine is a heterocyclic compound (previously categorized as an alkaloid) that can be derived from several different plants (coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa seeds, guarana, yerba mate, etc). It is consumed worldwide and has an almost cult-like following. This is due to the various stimulating effects that it can have on the body.

It also happens to be a favorite ingredient in skincare as well. Caffeine has several interesting properties when it comes to the skin: it acts as an antioxidant, protects the skin from photoaging, and increases the microcirculation of blood in the skin, which results in better delivery of beneficial compounds to the skin cells and overall better-feeling skin.

It has been shown that caffeine does not only work on the surface of the skin but can penetrate into the deeper layers as well. This is beneficial because the deeper it goes, the longer the results will last.

Caffeine can also stimulate hair growth when used in shampoos through the increased microcirculation in the scalp.

The most common use of caffeine is in preparations that target cellulite. In tests on animals, as well as in the first clinical studies (with products that contained caffeine and other active ingredients), it showed promising results in helping to smooth out the ‘orange skin’ appearance of cellulite. This is mainly thanks to the increased microcirculation in the skin and the ability of caffeine to alter the metabolism of the fat cells.

It cannot be said with absolute certainty yet, as there is a lack of studies involving caffeine only, but at this stage the results imply that caffeine may be an effective cellulite treatment. It may be a good idea to use the entire extract from the coffee beans, and not just the caffeine, when using it to treat cellulite because the other compounds enhance its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.


Herman, A., & Herman, A. P. (2013). Caffeine’s Mechanisms of Action and Its Cosmetic Use. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 26(1), 8–14.
Puviani, M., Tovecci, F., & Milani, M. (2017). A two-center, assessor-blinded, prospective trial evaluating the efficacy of a novel hypertonic draining cream for cellulite reduction: A Clinical and instrumental (Antera 3D CS) assessment. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 17(3), 448–453.
Bertin C, Zunino H, Pittet JC, et al. A double-blind evaluation of the activity of an anti-cellulite product containing retinol, caffeine, and ruscogenine by a combination of several non-invasive methods. J Cosmet Sci. 2000;52:199-210.