Coffee is a mystical potion that brings alertness and reanimation to a tiresome and weary world, and its popularity only increases into the golden years.
According to statistics, almost 75% of all Americans over the age of 55 are drinking at least a cup of coffee each day.
Of course, drinking coffee is a healthy habit, and a moderate amount each day has been connected to a wide range of health benefits for the elderly. Coffee can improve the move, boost energy levels, benefit health, and add some enjoyment to living.
But despite its numerous benefits to life, there are some reasons that coffee drinking can contribute to the aging process.
So, does that mean seniors should hide their favorite coffee maker and give it up for good?
In the following article, we will take a closer look at some of the ways excessive coffee drinking can detract from skin health and accelerate the visible aging process of the skin.
Caffeine’s Effect on Your Skin
If you visit the local body shop or even a natural health store, you will find a wide range of topical skin products, from soaps to body lotions containing high levels of caffeine — many extracted from the coffee itself.
These lotions and serums are designed to treat cellulitis as well as soothe the dark rings and puffiness that affects tired eyes. The science that justifies these claims says that high levels of antioxidants and caffeine can improve the circulation of blood.
Nevertheless, there is clinical evidence to suggest that many of these claims are exaggerated, and the true benefits of these antioxidants come from drinking each day.
Further studies have suggested that the high levels of antioxidants found in coffee may not even be fully available to the body. Many individual factors affect the amounts of antioxidants that can be absorbed by the body.
It is a science we are coming to learn more about as time goes by. So, drinking more coffee is not going to increase your antioxidant intake in and of itself.
Does Caffeine Age Your Skin?
Even though the age-reversing benefits of coffee’s antioxidant content are still dubious, caffeine has been found to take a serious toll on the skin. Caffeine is responsible for some chemical processes which can work to accelerate the aging process.
While it is important to note that in moderation, none of these effects are very serious, it is important to understand the risks so that appropriate action can be taken.
Let’s take a closer look at the science behind the negative effects that coffee drinking can have on your skin.
Caffeine is a mild diuretic and works to dehydrate the body. When the body is operating with less water, things begin to become strained. During dehydration, the body is not able to repair itself or eliminate toxins readily.
This also causes the liver to work harder and leads to even more toxins building in the body. Toxins that are not readily eliminated from the skin can begin to take their toll on skin health.
Dehydration can cause the skin to lose its resilience to the effects of solar radiation, dry air, and even slight superficial damage. Dehydration is only a real problem for those drinking an excess of 4 cups of coffee in a day.
Collagen is an important component of the skin and works to strengthen skin tissues and maintain elasticity. Collagen allows you to maintain well-hydrated skin, making it easier to repair and maintain.
But collagen is gradually lost with age, and with heavy caffeine consumption, it can be lost even faster.
Studies show that caffeine slows down the collagen synthesis in the skin and makes this valuable component even more scarce.
The same study also showed that caffeine’s impact on collagen also reduces the skin’s capacity to repair itself after becoming wounded.
An early sign of collagen loss due to coffee is the redness and inflammation of the skin. When combined with dehydration, the situation is even more serious as the toxins causing the inflammation are not readily released.
Caffeine narrows the blood vessels of the body. This is not generally a problem. But when combined with the effects of dehydration and reduced collagen, this can be a problem for the skin.
Narrowed blood vessels will mean that blood is not reaching the skin as effectively as it could. The result will be a buildup of toxins, higher levels of oxidative stress, and less water being delivered to keep your skin hydrated.
Unless you are drinking your coffee black (as the Java god intended), you are probably adding a certain amount of sugar or dairy products to your brew.
Studies have shown that adding sugar or dairy — lactose is a form of sugar, remember— skin can be aged through the process of glycation.
Glycation occurs when sugar molecules interact with proteins and lipids in the body. This can eventually lead to impaired elasticity of skin tissues as well as other connective tissues. Glycation is a more prevalent problem in conditions of high tissue oxidative stress.
Milk is also known to be replete with a hormone that can affect the production of skin oils and the process of repairing and rejuvenating the skin.
If you notice flare-ups around the jaw and chin area, traditional milk could be the issue. Try drinking your coffee without milk or sugar and see if this doesn’t clear things up.
Final Notes on Drinking Coffee and Aging Skin
So, does this mean that maintaining healthy, youthful skin requires eliminating your favorite morning brew? Not at all!
Should elderly people even drink coffee? Of course they should, within reasonable limits.
The important takeaway here is to be aware of the potential effects coffee and caffeinated beverages can have on the skin. If you know that coffee can potentially dehydrate your skin, make sure you are drinking plenty of water to counterbalance the loss of water.
Do what you can to support good skin health with the consumption of plenty of raw veggies and healthy nutrients.
Finally, don’t overdo it. Keep your coffee intake to a moderate amount of 2 to 4 cups a day — some people may be drinking a little more than this. But so long as you are balancing the potential side effects with plenty of healthy habits, your skin should be just fine.