Coffee and Acne

Usually, people start their day with a mug of coffee. We count it as a staple for the morning of the majority of people. When on the one hand the aroma and the caffeine in the coffee help you to work smart and give your day a boost start, on the other hand, excess of it will lead to skin problems including acne.


Caffeine in a moderate amount is fine and healthy for your body systems but when the term comes of excess, there is always a side effect to it and in this case, it is skin involvement leading to flaring up of acne.

Let’s dig more into the relationship between the two.

Relation between the Coffee and Acne:

The relation between the two is really complex. The reason behind this is coffee is not directly linked with causing acne but it worsens the acne one already has. However, directly or indirectly they both are related and an extra amount of coffee affects your acne. Let’s see what part the coffee ingredients are playing in flaring up the acne.

1.  Caffeine:

We all know that caffeine is a major ingredient in coffee. It is caffeine in the coffee which makes your brain active and makes your mornings fresh. But it is the same caffeine in the coffee that double up your body’s stress response.

Stress which is linked with stress hormones like cortisol is linked with oil production. When the response rate is increased because of caffeine the stress hormones will be produced more in an amount which will worsen the already existing acne.

2.  Milk:

If you take milk in your coffee, the chances of getting acne all flared up are higher. Researches showed that the people who used to intake milk regularly during their young age were more prone to acne breakouts than people who didn’t drink milk.

Adding more to it, skimmed milk was proved to be worse than the full fat or low-fat milk in causing acne.

All these studies were enough to prove that milk intake will trigger acne, however, the actual relation and the cause behind is still under debate.

3.  Sugar

How many spoons of sugar are you adding to your coffee? While putting sugar in your coffee, you would have never realized that what role sugar is playing in causing acne.

Increase sugar level will cause the release of insulin in the body in a proportional amount to sugar. Insulin will further lead to the production if insulin-like growth factor 1, which will lead to acne production.

Taking a muffin or croissant in your breakfast with your coffee will add up the sugar level that you are in taking, which will further lead to acne production.

Coffee and Gut Flora and Acne:

Not every coffee but coffee which is of poor quality is linked with affecting gut flora especially when it is paired with cow’s milk. When your gut flora is affected and inflamed, it will lead to this inflammation onto the skin and will show up as acne.

Organic coffee is proving to be better for your intestinal flora.

So bad coffee is also one of the reasons cause acne.

Coffee and Hormones:

Coffee and acne have a relationship due to the alteration of some hormones’ level in the body because of the caffeine in the coffee.

Also increasing stress response which leads to increased production of cortisol leading to acne. Not only acne, but cortisol is also linked with weight gain and digestive problems.

It also linked with higher insulin levels which are linked with acne by IGF-1.

Estrogen levels are also altered by coffee in females.

Should we stop drinking coffee?

Well, coffee in a moderate amount is not causing acne but a lot of coffee with milk and sugar is making your acne worse actually. Don’t stop drinking this amazing beverage, instead try the following tips to prevent the breakouts caused by coffee:

  • Don’t add spoons full of refined sugar to your coffee. Switch to sweeteners that are low in carb value like stevia.
  • Skip on cow’s milk for coffee, use almond milk or coconut milk to make your morning coffee.
  • Take good sleep, to avoid stress which leads to acne. Don’t drink coffee in the evenings or at night time.
  • Avoid those croissants, muffins, or pastries you are eating with your coffee. They are just making the situation worse.

Try these tips for a few weeks, if your acne still worsens try cutting of your coffee to see if it let the acne get better or not.

If your acne still doesn’t settle, consult a dermatologist.

Coffee is good for skin when applied topically:

Coffee which we were blaming till now for flaring up your acne is actually beneficial when we talk about applying it topically.

It is rich in anti-oxidants which is really effective for skin and skin issues. Researchers said that coffee can help you reduce puffiness and swelling, no doubt that eye creams have coffee as an active ingredient in them.

Also prove to be anti-inflammatory which is helpful for skin conditions when you use it on them as a topical agent.

 FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Can coffee cause weight gain?

Coffee is not linked with weight gain directly. In fact, many people use it during weight loss journey. But sugar added in it can lead to an increase in caloric value. Another reason might be that coffee leads to less sleep which promotes weight gain.

Q. Can coffee trigger a heart attack?

Coffee has caffeine in it which increases the blood pressure and the sympathetic activity in one’s body. These things can trigger a heart attack in a person already having other risk factors.

Q. Is coffee good for the skin?

Coffee has some great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It gives a really positive effect on the skin when you apply it topically. Caffeic acid also shows some anti-microbial properties and protects your skin against germs.

Q. How long should I leave a coffee mask on the face?

The time period differs for the different skin types, but you can leave it for 15 to 45 minutes in your face before rinsing it off with warm water. Use it three times a week.


Coffee is fine to drink in a moderate amount but excess of it will lead to worsening of acne especially when it is paired with milk and sugar. Avoiding cow’s milk and choosing the alternate source of sugar before cutting off the coffee intake is usually recommended.

Every person responds differently to caffeine. If the acne still persists then consult a dermatologist.

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