Friday, 9 December 2016

Can Coffee Fight Skin Aging?

It seems as though coffee has a never-ending list of health benefits when used correctly and in moderation. Yet another one of these could be an ability to fight skin aging. While aging may be a universal complaint, it is still a complaint, and one factor in skin aging is ultraviolet light exposure. The fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration and loose skin that just can't seem to hold moisture reflects the deterioration of the connective tissue which makes up the dermis. A healthy dermis will contain a strong framework of the proteins collagen and elastin, as well as water-binding glycosaminoglycans (which means they are made up of amino acids and sugars). The elasticity, strength and ability to bounce back is what gives skin a youthful appearance. Large amounts of ultraviolet light and other toxic substances produce free radicals that break down this framework and cause cell damage, which leads to skin aging.

Source: Kenny Louie (CC BY SA: 2.0)
Fortunately, researchers around the world have found that some phytochemicals extracted from coffee beans can rejuvenate aging skin. When applied topically, green, unroasted coffee beans provide many benefits. In a randomised, double-blinded trial, 40 women were assigned to receive either a high-antioxidant skin care set of facial wash, day lotion, night cream and eye serum, or a placebo set, for 12 weeks. Evaluations of efficacy were performed by a board-certified dermatologist at the beginning, at 6 weeks and at 12 weeks. It was found that the high-antioxidant set, which contained coffee extract, gave significant benefits to photo-aged skin. Almost every parameter showed improvement: wrinkles, level of firmness, pigmentation, roughness, redness and clarity. In another trial studying the seed oil of Coffea arabica, researchers found a 1.5 times increase in elastin production and a near doubling of collagen production compared to the controls. As stated above, these are the main connective tissue proteins that support the skin. There was also a doubling of glycosaminoglycans, and a increase of aquaglycerolporins by seven times! As the name of the second type of protein suggests, these work together to trap moisture in the skin, which promotes firmness and prevents uncomfortable, possibly harmful drying out.

Coffea robusta, which is native to West Africa, contains a greater amount of caffeine and other active constituents because of how it is processed. In a study of 35 women aged 30-70, they were instructed to apply a caffeine-containing eye cream to the area around one eye twice a day, and not to the other half. After four weeks, there was a significant improvement in smoothness and wrinkle depth in the treated halves of their faces. This was measured with a 3D optical imaging technique. In research on mice, caffeine was also found to prevent damage caused by UV light.

If you are having trouble with dry, rough skin that doesn't seem to be protecting itself enough, coffee may be best paired with honey. Honey is a humectant, which means it helps trap moisture, much like the glycosaminoglycans that coffee supports the production of. As it is sticky, it also makes a great addition to any home-made face masks because it would help keep the other ingredients stuck to your face.

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