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Does Coffee Cause Acne?


Does Coffee Cause Acne?

Like many people, I’ve had my own struggles with acne. Throughout my adolescence, I tried various products that were prescribed by my dermatologist, I surfed beauty blogs for a reliable recommendation, and I scoured the dedicated aisle in my local drug store. And guess what? Several times I had negative and even allergic reactions. Once, a specially prescribed product inflamed my face so much that I was embarrassed to go out in the daylight.

The product that helped me back then was TriAcnéal EXPERT by Avène. It cleared up my skin and brought back my confidence, a little bit. Mind you, it might be a little harsh and it definitely stains pillowcases. So be careful and keep that in mind. You could also use Avène Thermal Spring Water after washing off the acne product. It will provide a soothing effect and has softening benefits. If you are wondering which cleanser to choose, I’m currently using Avène Cleansing Foam as it does a great job and is also fun, foamy, and gentle.

But if you were to ask me whether I’ve gotten rid of acne and now have that dewy, glowy, Hollywood-type skin now, I’d have to tell you the truth. No… it’s not nearly as bad but it’s definitely far from being perfect. My ultimate goal is to not use any foundation to cover my skin imperfections. 

I’ve read so many tips for better skincare online: don’t forget to change your pillowcase and towels every other day. Don’t go to sleep with your make-up on, duh… And on and on.

But here’s the thing… I’m also a coffee addict. So, I started to wonder whether my favorite drink on earth and my morning pick-me-upper might actually be contributing to the acne problem. Caffeine is a known dehydrator like alcohol and sodium. Even though I know that I should really be drinking more water, I chug coffee like I’m a robot and it’s my fuel. 

A cappuccino from a local independent coffee shop

About 150 million Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee daily! It amounts to more than 140 billion cups annually… And as I tally all that up, somewhere in the distance, I’m pretty sure I can hear the shareholders of Starbucks going, “Ca-ching, ca-ching!”

Whether or not it’s linked to coffee consumption, 60 million Americans suffer from acne and 20 percent of them are adults. Is there some causality here?

Yup, another cappuccino from a local independent coffee shop. Do I… have a problem?

According to recent studies, a cup of coffee can trigger a stress response in the body, producing stress hormones.The high amount of stress hormones messes up with blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of insulin. Then the excess insulin makes our body produce more sebum oil. And boom, the chain reaction wreaks havoc on our beauty: more oil means more clogged-up pores. Here comes acne… 

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You might have heard that Posh from Spice Girls had problematic skin, too. In a recent interview with Net-a-Porter’s online site, Victoria Beckham explained what she learned from her experiences: “You realize how vital it is to wear sunscreen; to drink lots of water; to cleanse, tone, moisturize; take vitamins; make sure you’re eating the right food. I eat lots of good fats, in avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon…” She also mentioned that she was seeing an incredible LA dermatologist Dr Harold Lancer.   

So when Amy Webber, a reporter for E! Online, read about Posh’s experiences, she scheduled an appointment with him, too! Amy found out that she had hormonal acne. And the main trigger for it? Spikes in testosterone production, likely caused by stress, lifestyle, diet, and even caffeine.

Recent studies found a link between coffee consumption and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, uterine and liver cancer, cirrhosis, gout, and even rosacea. I’m now convinced that I might have hormonal acne, too. I’m willing to quit coffee to test the theory. It’s not going to be easy, I promise you that much.

Stay tuned!   

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