Scientists discover that coffee is good for the skin

Year after year, scientists and doctors go back and forth about the possible risks and benefits of coffee. Lately, coffee has been in the limelight as research keeps unfolding new benefits related to this beverage. One of the latest studies, published in JAMA Dermatology, highlights the benefits coffee has for the skin.

To explore the relationship between coffee and its effects on the skin, the researchers examined data from 82,737 women who were followed as part of a national study from 1989 to 2005. During their research, the scientists discovered that those women who consumed four or more servings of coffee daily were less likely to suffer from rosacea compared to those who did not. These findings come to debunk several rosacea myths, amongst which one belief that coffee and caffeine cause flare-ups.  At the same time, other studies demonstrate that consuming caffeinated coffee can protect against skin cancer.

Coffee has immunosuppressant effects

Rosacea is a long-term inflammatory skin disease causing flushing, redness, irritation and bumps and generally manifests itself on the face. Rosacea has a number of triggers such as sun exposure, heat, cold air, spicy food, exercise, hormones and emotional responses to embarrassment.  There is currently no cure for rosacea and treatment available consists in controlling the symptoms such as creams and gels and oral antibiotics. In the United Kingdom (UK), it affects one in every 10 people in the 30 to 5-year-old age group, generally having fair skin. A research conducted in the UK in 2016 revealed that 81% of individuals affected by rosacea stated that the principal trigger for them is sun exposure. The next trigger was attributed to emotional stress.

The researchers earmarked 4,945 cases of rosacea among the participants of the study published in JAMA Dermatology. Once they adjusted for other risk factors, they noted that the more caffeine the women consumed, the less likely they were to have rosacea. According to their findings, women who drank 4 cups or more coffee per day were 23% less likely to have been diagnosed with rosacea than those who drank the least, that is, one cup or less per month. Since coffee is known to decrease vasodilation and has immunosuppressant effects, it is thought to potentially decrease the risk of rosacea.

The scientists equally noted that other products containing caffeine such as tea, soda and chocolate, did not trigger the same benefits as coffee did. Chocolate consumption, on the other hand, was seen to increase the risk of rosacea. The researchers believe that apart from caffeine itself, the numerous antioxidants having anti-inflammatory properties present in coffee play an important role. Since caffeine can equally modulate hormone levels, this aspect can further play a role in the development of rosacea. Many people have believed that coffee and caffeine cause flare-ups but the fact is that it is the thermal heat of the beverage that may trigger rosacea and not coffee or caffeine on their own.

Coffee is packed with compounds used in beauty products

Coffee has an array of compounds that have the same properties as ingredients used in many beauty products. Over the past few decades, numerous studies have concluded that the compounds found in coffee protect and enhance our body’s largest organ- our skin. Coffee is a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants, the most favoured being the chlorogenic acids (CGAs).

Antioxidants are widely used in beauty products today. They are natural compounds that protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Different antioxidants can help prevent a number of diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegeneration, and diabetes, according to scientific research. Antioxidants equally help the skin to look healthy and taut, fighting premature aging and combating free radicals that damage the lipids that make the skim wrinkle free and plump. At the same time, they have potent anti-inflammatory properties that repair the damage of oxidative stress on cells.

Coffee is considered as one of the new defences against skin cancer

The most common type of cancer affecting people in the UK is skin cancer. Every year, around 15,400 melanoma skin cancer cases are reported, and this form of skin cancer is projected to rise by 7% in the country until 2035, reaching 32 cases per 100,000 people by 2035. Yearly, about 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed and it affects more men than women.

A number of research works suggests that caffeinated coffee has chemo-preventive effects against certain types of skin cancer such as malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Amongst factors that have been identified to increase its risk are UV light exposure, tanning capacity, presence of freckles, skin prototype, and eye and hair colour amongst others.

Dietary and nutritional factors such as the consumption of fish, vegetables and fruits are believed to have preventive effects but they account for a small proportion of melanoma risk. Caffeine, on the other hand, is found in high concentrations in coffee and is believed to inhibit UV-induced skin carcinogenesis. Drinking coffee can help eliminate DNA damaged cells and reduce inflammation. Epidemiological studies have shown that caffeine inhibits the metastasis of melanoma tumour cells while enhancing their radiosensitivity. In other words, consuming caffeinated coffee can lower the risk of cutaneous melanoma.

Consuming caffeinated coffee can also protect against basal cell carcinoma which is the most common form of skin cancer. These findings were published in the journal Cancer Research after an extensive and long-running study conducted on over 112,000 people. According to the research, 25% of the participants developed basal cell carcinoma over a period of 20 years. The scientists found that the more someone consumed caffeinated coffee, the lower he or she had the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma. Women who drank more than three cups of coffee per day, for instance, were 21% less likely to develop this form of cancer, compared to women who drank less than one cup of caffeinated coffee monthly. Men, on their side, presented a risk reduction of 10% compared to those who did not consumer coffee more than once per month.