Caffeine is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in skin care and with good reason. Caffeine has previously received much hype for reducing the appearance of cellulite and puffiness under the eyes, but there is little supporting clinical evidence and any results are generally recognized as short-term. Scientists, however, are uncovering compelling evidence on other beneficial properties of topically applied caffeine. It is touted as an exceptional ingredient, capable of increasing the efficacy of other antioxidants working to mitigate and prevent damage from UVB rays. It also has the ability to encourage the body’s natural process for eliminating damaged skin cells; this is particularly important as a potential protection against skin cancers.
Antioxidants are the cornerstones of preventive skin care, especially where signs of aging are concerned. Topical caffeine is a multi-functional ingredient that studies suggest has both primary and secondary antioxidant properties, thus neutralizing a variety of free radicals that cause premature aging. Furthermore, caffeine has been shown to enhance the benefits of other antioxidants, such as green tea, resveratrol, and vitamins C and E. Research suggests that orally administered caffeinated green tea inhibits UVB-induced free radical damage in the skin. Conversely, decaffeinated green tea resulted in substantially less inhibitory activity. Caffeine alone has shown a substantial inhibitory effect on UVB-induced skin damage. In additional studies, topical application of a caffeinated green tea polyphenol after UVB exposure helped to inhibit UVB-induced tumorigenesis. The results indicate that caffeine contributes immensely to green tea’s ability to suppress UVB-induced carcinogenesis.