While there are plenty of health benefits provided by coffee itself (antioxidants, caffeine for energy, etc.), it’s what you put into your daily cup that could either aid or deter your skin health, experts say. As drinking coffee completely black is often most recommended health-wise, it is an acquired taste as most of us prefer to sweeten our cup of joe with sweeteners, creamers, milks, syrups, etc. We checked in with skincare and skin health experts to learn more about 1 type of coffee beverage to avoid for more supple and hydrated skin, and one common coffee add-in that can lead to skin dryness. Read on for tips and suggestions from Jane Gee, master esthetician, founder of Nutritional Skincare and owner of janegee, Dr. Simran Sethi, MD, skincare expert and founder of RenewMD Beauty & Wellness and Ksenia Sobchak, dermatologist at Loxa Beauty.
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How Sugar & Sweet Additives In Coffee Lead To Dry Skin
As we age, our skin naturally loses moisture, and what we drink can either support a more radiant glow or exacerbate dryness, Gee explains. Frequently consuming coffee with sugar can lead to dry skin at any age, but most definitely in anyone over the age of 40. “Sugar and preservatives specifically cause damage to your body. The health of the gut affects so many body systems,” she says.
Sugar, she notes, can drastically change the microbiomes in the gut leading to the drying out of collagen and elastin. “The collagen and elastin are what give the skin its texture, firmness, and overall structure. The breakdown of these crucial proteins often appears as a look of premature aging,” she continues. During this breakdown, Gee adds that the skin begins to show fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and an overall dull complexion.
Sethi agrees, and says that coffee itself does have antioxidant properties, “so consuming 1 cup a day can confer health benefits, but drinking more than that will cause skin dryness.”
Caffeine in coffee, she says, acts as a diuretic, drawing water out of cells and excreting that water through the kidneys and urinary system. Adding sugar to your coffee often, she reiterates, will only make this worse. “Excess refined sugar consumption causes intrinsic damage to collagen and elastin proteins in skin by the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs),” she explains. “This reduces the integrity and elasticity of skin, making it prone to dehydration and wrinkling.”
Though coffee is preferred for increasing body metabolism and heat in the cold season, it’s “bad for your skin” when adding in ingredients like sugar, Sobchak also says. “When in excess levels, the caffeine strains cause constriction of blood vessels, hindering blood flow. This makes your skin appear dull, especially on the eyes, and increases red skin conditions,” she says.
Even though not exactly alike, Sethi recommends drinking herbal teas or green tea instead of a second or third cup of sweetened coffee, as they “will provide healthy antioxidants and hydration which will promote new skin production and give skin a healthier and plump appearance.”