Caffeine and Acne

Why I Stick to Decaf

Caffeine & Acne_3

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the taste of coffee.  I started drinking it at age 14 and couldn’t let it go until I was in my mid-twenties.  However, the older I got, the more it became overwhelmingly apparent that caffeine was contributing to my acne.

Caffeine is a trigger for cortisol, our stress hormone.  It’s what surges during that fight or flight response deeply built into us as humans.  Stress can be a significant acne trigger.  Most people think of stress as pressure at our jobs, a personal hardship, or studying for a big exam.  However, caffeine can cause the body an equal amount of stress in sensitive individuals.

There are different degrees of caffeine sensitivity.  If I drink sips of a fully caffeinated coffee, I feel the unpleasant jitters almost instantly.  My family is similar.  Others can drink coffee at midnight and fall asleep peacefully within minutes.  It seems plausible that one would be more likely to have the acne-caffeine connection if sensitive to the stimulating drug in general.

The solution?  Try decaf!  You have nothing to lose if you’re struggling with your skin.  Yes, you will get the withdrawal headaches for a few days, but you can try weaning off of the standard coffee slowly to ease these.  Be wary though, many decaf coffees actually still contain a substantial amount of caffeine (though less than a standard cup).  If you’re able to get your hands on one that has been decaffeinated through the Swiss Water Process, this creates a coffee that is 99.9% caffeine free!

Another source of caffeine, as painful as it may be, is chocolate (particularly dark chocolate).  Granted, it contains very small amounts.  100 grams of dark chocolate has 43mg of caffeine, which is even lower than the amount in most black teas.  However, for some people, it’s still too much, especially when consumed in the evening.

You can also make the process less difficult by stocking up on some tasty herbal or decaffeinated teas so that you don’t have to give up any of your rituals.  These are nice for the sake of diversity, and you may even discover some new beverages that you love!  Best of luck to you 🙂

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