Naturally present in over 60 species of plants worldwide, caffeine is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after active ingredients in natural cosmetics. Here is the essential information to know about this ingredient with numerous virtues.
What you need to know about caffeine.
- The essentials about caffeine
- What are the benefits of caffeine?
- Should we avoid caffeine on certain skin types?
- Tips to optimise the effect of caffeine on the skin
The essentials about caffeine.
Caffeine is an alkaloid from the methylxanthines family. It is particularly found in coffee, from which it derives its name, but also in tea, guarana, mate, kola nuts, cocoa beans, etc. In its natural state, it protects plants from insects by killing or paralysing them.
Derived naturally, caffeine is obtained through supercritical fluid extraction from plants, an alternative to distillation processes. This gentle extraction method allows for the collection of highly concentrated lipophilic plant substances, rich in the plant's active ingredients, extremely pure and without any alteration of the components, all without the use of petrochemical solvents and leaving no solvent residue.
Here, CO2 has been used as an extraction solvent for caffeine from coffee beans, maté, cocoa, or tea leaves, due to its physicochemical properties (colourless, odourless, non-toxic, non-polluting, non-flammable). In short, once the desired compound is dissolved in the supercritical CO2 environment, we obtain a pure and concentrated extract through depressurisation, which then triggers the separation of the CO2, returning it to a gaseous state, and the extract, recovered in liquid or solid form.
What are the benefits of caffeine?
Well-known for its stimulating and energising effects, caffeine is found in many body and facial care products: toning body products, eye contour treatments, creams against signs of ageing or redness, as well as products against hair loss. We detail these for you:
Decongesting effect : By stimulating microcirculation of blood and combating water retention in its capacity as a vascular tonic, caffeine will decongest the sensitive area around the eye, reducing the visibility of bags as well as unsightly dark circles in order to restore radiance to the eye contour.
Lipolytic Effect : The application of caffeine induces lipolysis in adipose cells (fat destruction) and inhibits their lipogenesis (production of fatty substances), resulting in a decrease in adipocyte volume and thus an improvement in skin surface. Therefore, caffeine possesses slimming properties due to its lipolytic activity on adipocytes and contributes to reducing the appearance of cellulite. However, caffeine alone is not enough. To enhance its action, the practice of a kneading-rolling massage is essential. Indeed, treatments containing the molecule should be accompanied by a vigorous massage.
Soothing effect: The vasoconstriction caused by caffeine also has applications in facial care. The reduction of blood vessels will help to decrease redness and other skin irritations in sensitive or dry skin, for example in cases of rosacea.
Antioxidant effect: Thanks to its polyphenol content, caffeine also has antioxidant properties. Indeed, it helps to combat free radicals and their harmful effects on the skin, factors responsible for premature skin ageing. This property also makes it a good active ingredient to fight against the signs of ageing, as it helps to slow down the skin ageing process and delay the appearance of wrinkles.
Should we avoid caffeine on certain skin types?
The caffeine is considered a G.R.A.S. (Generally Recognized As Safe - Generally Recognised as Safe) and is deemed safe for use by health authorities. Even though rare cases of hives and allergies have been reported, it is not known to be particularly sensitising or allergenic and can be used by the most sensitive skin.
Tips to optimise the effect of caffeine on the skin.
To optimise the effectiveness of caffeine-based skincare, it is recommended:
To apply it by performing a kneading-roll for body products, in order to promote the lipolytic effect and the fat release. This type of massage will thus help to smooth out dimples and improve the appearance of cellulite.
For facial and eye contour care, it is recommended to gently massage and tap the targeted area, which can have a decongesting effect and stimulate blood and lymphatic microcirculation. This can help to reduce puffiness and bags, and minimise the appearance of dark circles.