It’s Fall and that means it’s pumpkin spice latte season! It can be tempting to indulge as much as you’d like since these special seasonal beverages are only available for a short time, but you also need to be careful. Recent studies have shown demonstratively that over-consuming caffeine can have pronounced aging effects on your skin. Before you order up that second coffee, make sure you understand the choices you are making and their effects on your skin care.
What Is the Evidence?
Numerous studies have concluded that there are a few effects of caffeine that happen to everyone. Some of these effects include changes to your blood vessels that cause signs of aging to be more pronounced.
- Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts your blood vessels, decreasing the flow of blood through them. This can have effects on your blood pressure.
- Constricted blood vessels affect your entire body, including the tiny capillaries at the surface of your skin and the network of blood vessels that supply them.
- With less blood to the surface of your skin, the cells receive less of the antioxidants, nutrients, and the other collagen-boosting fuel they need to be as healthy and efficient as possible.
- Without those nutrients, your skin lacks the collagen necessary for the robust, plump, wrinkle-free appearance.
The process is well-documented and non-controversial. Luckily, this only happens when you overconsume caffeine.
How Much Coffee Is Safe?
Doctors recommend staying below three cups of coffee per day if you’re trying to keep yourself from experiencing the adverse health effects of too much caffeine. One or two cups over a day will generally not be enough to change the behavior of your blood vessels, but it will be enough to give you the positive effects of caffeine, including sharper focus and headache relief. At three cups, blood pressure changes and vasoconstriction begin. If that third cup is much later in the day than the first two, it probably won’t hurt, but if the third cup is on the heels of the other two, you can expect that these changes are taking place.
What if I Just Need a Venti?
If you don’t make a habit out of overconsuming, then doing it once in a while is not going to cause a long-term condition that affects your skin. It takes time before vasoconstriction restricts nutrient flow enough to be noticeable. It’s important that you just do it the once, though! Getting comfortable with a large caffeine intake is where a problem occurs.
How Long Does It Take to Undo the Damage to Skin?
For patients under the age of 50 with otherwise healthy skin, the effects of caffeine overconsumption recede within two to three months after stopping chronic overuse. If you don’t regularly overconsume but you have been known to do it, your recovery time will probably be shorter, but there’s no way to say exactly how short.
If you’re concerned about it, or if you have any other concerns about your health and caffeine, speaking to one of the doctors at Windsor Dermatology will give you the chance to find out more about how caffeine has been affecting your skin.