Is Coffee Soap Good For Your Skin?
I’m always on the lookout for natural ingredients that benefit my skin. I like to see research-backed active ingredients that work long-term to protect from damage, reduce wrinkles and fine lines, even skin tone, and make my skin look bright.
Today we’re going to discuss one of those ingredients: coffee. We’re specifically looking at the benefits of coffee soap, and whether we can see a difference in the appearance of the skin from a product that we wash off in just a minute. You’ll find out everything you need to know to decide if coffee soap is right for you.
Coffee Soap Benefits
Coffee soap has many benefits for the skin, including antioxidant protection, reducing the appearance of cellulite, and reducing inflammation. The antioxidants in coffee protect your skin from damage from UV rays, pollution, smoking, and other stressors.
Coffee Protects Skin With Antioxidants
Coffee beans contain antioxidants that protect our skin from damage from UV rays, pollution, and pretty much any other source of stress you can think of.
Let’s take the sun as our example since that’s probably the most damaging to our skin. UV rays from the sun cause free radicals in our skin cells. Free radicals are unstable molecules that have an unpaired electron.
In an attempt to stabilize themselves, they try to “steal” an electron from a healthy molecule. The healthy molecule then becomes unstable since it lost an electron and tries to “steal” one from another healthy molecule. This has a cascading effect that leads to stress, inflammation, and cell damage.
Here’s how antioxidants help. Antioxidant molecules have spare electrons that they can ‘donate’ to free radicals and stabilize them without becoming unstable themselves. This stops the damage before it even starts, and helps keep your skin free of lines, dark spots, and sagging from collagen loss.
✅ Anti-Aging Tip: Antioxidants are one of the best weapons against aging skin. Check out my article here about green tea, one of the most powerful antioxidants in skincare.
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Caffeine in Coffee Soap Reduces The Appearance of Cellulite and Puffy Skin
If you’ve been reading this website long, you’ll know I’m much more interested in ingredients that help build collagen and protect from damage, as opposed to ingredients that just have a temporary effect on our skin’s appearance. But I think the benefits of caffeine should be discussed here as they do have a visible effect, if only for a few hours.
All coffee lovers know that coffee has caffeine, which wakes us up in the morning, but not everyone is familiar with the benefits of topically applying caffeine to your skin. Caffeine reduces puffiness and the appearance of cellulite in our skin, although the effects last just a few hours.
How does this work? Caffeine reduces the size of the blood vessels in your skin, which has the effect of reducing blood flow. This improves our skin’s appearance by reducing redness and puffiness and giving us temporarily smooth skin. It can reduce the bags under your eyes, temporarily improve dark circles, and make cellulite less noticeable.
It’s important to note that it’s not actually effective for cellulite reduction, it’s just improving the appearance of your skin. When the caffeine wears off (usually after a few hours) your skin is going to go back to its normal appearance.
So can we benefit from the caffeine in coffee soap? Probably a little. But if you need something to reduce the appearance of puffy skin for a big event or important meeting, I think you’ll have more luck with a product designed for it rather than coffee soap.
I’d recommend The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution 5%. I’ve used it on bags under my eyes before having family pictures taken and it does reduce their appearance for a few hours.
Coffee Reduces Inflammation In Our Skin
Coffee contains other compounds, in addition to its caffeine content, that have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Skin inflammation not only causes redness and puffiness, but chronic inflammation can damage our cells. This is true everywhere in our body, not just in our skin.
Coffee has plenty of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that are particularly helpful in fighting inflammation. Polyphenols are found in plants such as coffee, green tea, and red grapes. This study shows how helpful polyphenols can be in fighting damage and UV rays in our skin.
In addition to using coffee soap, you can also get the benefits of polyphenols by simply applying coffee grounds to your skin. It’s certainly not practical for everyday use, where soap will be much more convenient. But it could work as a once-a-week treatment.
Another compound in coffee that appears to reduce inflammation is chlorogenic acids (CGA). Research is not conclusive yet, however it appears they may not only help with inflammation but also could reduce hyperpigmentation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Soap
Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about the benefits of coffee soap.
Can you use coffee soap daily?
You can use coffee soap daily. In fact, to see benefits from it, you should use it daily. Antioxidants are something we need to apply to our face often to benefit from their protection. Additionally, since the anti-inflammatory benefits of coffee are only temporary, you’ll want to use it every day to see the benefits again.
Is It OK to use coffee soap on your face?
It’s Ok to use coffee soap on your face. Coffee is a proven skincare ingredient that will work for all skin types, from oily to dry skin. What you need to be careful of is the other ingredients in the soap. Make sure there is nothing that is going to clog your pores or cause irritation, like an essential oil.
Many handmade soaps use plant oils, such as castor oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or shea butter, which are very hydrating. However, you want to check the comedogenic rating of these ingredients. By googling the name of the ingredient plus the words “comedogenic rating” you’ll pull up the rating on a 0 to 5 scale. If you have acne-prone skin, I’d avoid any ingredient over a 3.
Will you get benefits for your skin from a product you wash off?
I believe we can still benefit from the active ingredients in facial cleansers and soaps even though they aren’t on our skin for a long time. However, we won’t benefit as much as we do from leave-on beauty products since much of the key ingredient goes down the drain.
In the case of coffee, the anti-inflammatory properties can take effect quickly. If you gently massage coffee soap for about a minute before rinsing you should be able to benefit from a reduction in redness and inflammation.
However, I don’t think we experience all of the benefits coffee offers our skin from a soap since it’s washed off. Free radicals develop throughout the day, and antioxidants are best applied under sunscreen and left on the skin for the full day.
On the whole, I think coffee soap is worth using, but it’s not the best way to get the benefits of coffee for your skin. In order to do that, you need to use skincare products that you are going to leave on your skin for longer periods. One way to do this is to simply use fresh coffee grounds as a mask on your skin.
If you don’t want to make one yourself, The Body Shop Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Mask is one I’d recommend. It’s designed to brighten your skin as opposed to exfoliating.
Be careful of buying an exfoliating coffee scrub that may damage your skin. A body scrub may be an OK idea, as the coffee grounds can be an excellent exfoliant. But for the more delicate skin on our faces, I think chemical exfoliants are the better choice.
As someone with sensitive skin, chemical exfoliants are a great way to brighten my skin without irritating it. If you’re not familiar with exfoliation, the purpose is to make our skin glow by removing dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Check out more on how to best use chemical exfoliants here.
Final Thoughts On The Benefits of Coffee Soap For Your Skin
Coffee definitely has benefits for your skin and it’s gentle enough for any skin type. Since we are going to be using cleansers and soaps anyway in our skincare routine, it’s an easy way to add an ingredient that can give you an added benefit.
Even though it’s washed off pretty quickly, I see no harm in the use of coffee soaps, and they may have some impressive benefits.
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