Author Archives: Michelle Leong

coffee beans and tea leaves

Surprising Facts About Coffee, Tea, and Their Uses In Skincare

Novel skincare ingredients have a way of turning up in a variety of places. The real question is frequently if they have any truth behind their inclusion in a product. A surprise ingredient is interesting, but if it doesn’t help, why include it?

Many companies rely on this sort of novelty ingredient to capture the imagination of potential customers. Coffee and tea are two particularly popular additions to products these days. It actually isn’t that odd if you look at it closely.

Here’s the deal:

Tea and coffee both possess positive benefits for your skin when used properly. These benefits can help you work towards overall healthy skin. The catch is that the ingredients also have a flip side where they’re not as good for your skin.

That’s true of most skincare ingredients. Learning how to use ingredients the best way is ultimately what the skincare industry is about. We learn about how to best incorporate ingredients for maximum benefit.

Admittedly, it tends to be a fairly opaque process to most people. Those outside of the industry tend to be left wondering how we know something is good for skin or what exactly it does. This is particularly true for novel skincare ingredients.

skincare ingredients

Images like this are often used to advertise products, but tell us nothing about their true content.

That’s why we’re going to take a close look at some of the interesting facts surrounding tea and coffee in this post. It will let you know what they can do for you and some of the more novel aspects of the ingredients.

We’re going to focus on the following:

  • Interesting Facts
  • Benefits
  • Potential Drawbacks

This will help us all stay focused and ensure we know what we’re looking at at any given time. Let’s get started.
Interesting Facts
Both coffee and tea enjoy the reputations for being among the world’s favorite drinks. So many of us rely on coffee as a way to wake up in the morning that it is hard to overstate the appeal. Tea’s varied flavors make it equally popular.

We often don’t know much about them beyond that though. They’re simple drinks we buy or prepare regularly. That’s a shame given they’re actually fascinating if you take a moment.

For instance:

Coffee “beans” are actually seeds extracted from berries rather than independently grown beans. The name bean is applied to them because other beans are also seeds, but typically share a more recognizable look.

Tea’s different varieties are equally interesting. We here people recommending white, green, or black teas with some regularity, but what do those mean?

The names actually tell you when the leaves were plucked from the tea shrub. White teas are plucked when the shrub is blooming with new leaves and flowers while green tea is made from fully grown leaves. Black tea is made from aged and fermented green tea leaves.

Those are far from the only interesting things about them either. Let’s look at where they come from next.

tea plantation

This is what tea looks like long before it reaches your cup or skincare product.

Origins

While most of us have an idea of where coffee and tea are grown these days, we don’t always know where they came from before the modern era. All plants started somewhere and that affects a lot about the plants as well as the culture surrounding them.

Tea, for instance, is one that many of us already know started. China is its home as much as it is the cultural center of tea drinking in many ways. This is particularly important to remember thanks to England also enjoying a reputation for tea drinking.

Most experts place the tea shrub as developing in southeast China. There people eventually came to cultivate the plant and develop the various preparations we take for granted today.

Interestingly enough:

Black tea is comparatively popular in the West thanks to its comparative long-lasting nature. It stays both usable and fully flavored for far longer. As a result, this is what was traded to Europeans first.

Coffee is a bit harder for people to pin down though. We’re so used to talking about where the best coffee comes from that we’ve forgotten where it started. It wasn’t Columbia or Hawaii.

The coffee plant has been traced back to Africa. Culturally and biologically, coffee has its roots around Ethiopia and Sudan. That’s not where most of us end up thinking about when we think of coffee though.

It feels like a historical joke in some ways, but it is the truth. We can trace coffee back to the general area and Arabic countries for the earliest roots. The end result is the drink we enjoy today.

All of these facts have dealt with the past of coffee and tea rather than the now though. That’s worth looking at too.

The Benefits

Not only great as drinks, coffee and tea are also beneficial for skincare.

Countless little nutrients are available from them as well as potential perks from the compounds in each of the raw ingredients. It is simply a matter of extracting them properly. That’s where professionals come in.

Here’s the thing:

Almost every one of us has heard of one of the major benefits of both coffee and tea for your skin lies in their potential as an antioxidant. The idea is only surprising if one is relatively new to skincare.

This potential as an antioxidant is highly important to skin health. It helps to protect the skin from various signs of aging as well as helping counteract potential lingering low grade damage. There is more to talk about than that though:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Exfoliation
  • Oil Control
  • Anti-bacterial properties

All of these benefits are worth talking about and often end up being overlooked. That’s why we’re going to take a good look at where these benefits come from and what they can do for you.

Anti-inflammatory

Perhaps the best to look at in detail are the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of each compound. These are what help them boost the skin’s healing properties the best. In turn, this is what makes them particularly valuable.

Green tea extract is particularly known for these properties in skincare circles. That’s why you’ll find it on the ingredient list of a variety of products. Both of these properties are thanks to the tannins found in coffee and tea.

Tannins are a collection of compounds that naturally occur within a variety of plant life. These compounds are protective in nature, but that protective nature isn’t exclusive to the plants themselves.

We appear to be able to make use of these tannins both through imbibing or eating them and through application on the skin. Imbibing them is part of where the antioxidant-rich nature of coffee and tea comes from though.

aloe vera

Regardless, tannins have a noticeable anti-inflammatory property whether they’re in coffee, tea, or red wine. These properties allow them to help soothe the skin and reduce overall levels of irritation. This in turn allows the skin to repair itself better.

Want to know the best part?

This same property allows you to get control of inflammation induced redness in the skin as well. In effect, it helps you to smooth out complexion problems. That’s all before we get to the potential anti-bacterial properties as well.

Antibacterial

Antibacterial properties are an important part of skincare products. As much as we share our skin with friendly bacteria, we also have to deal with the constant attempts of less than friendly bacteria to colonize our skin.

Our friendly bacteria tend to do what they can to protect our skin, their home, to ensure they’re healthy too. The downside of all of this is that the interaction of each set of bacteria sometimes causes us problems. Acne, for instance, is typically born of this conflict.

Antibacterial products tends to be a fairly broad spectrum approach that kill most of the bacteria in the area. That allows your skin’s natural healing processes to clean up the area as well as ensure your products work that much better.

Tea and coffee-based products offer this benefit. It makes them particularly well-suited for acne control and healing products. Admittedly, these benefits aren’t necessarily as pronounced as formulated products for the same reason.

Both of the previous benefits ride along with another, though.

Oil Control

Tannins are interesting in that their potential to help is clearly there, but it is paired with a potential for harm as well. They tend to dehydrate the skin if you’re not careful. That’s what a lot of warnings around them lean on.

The truth is this can help work in the favor of some skin types. Topical application can help to reduce the overall amount of oil on the skin. While they can’t reduce the amount your skin secretes, preventing it from building up and clogging your pores is possible.

It gets better:

This benefit is relatively easy to use and typically fairly prevalent in most products utilize tea extracts or coffee extracts. That allows them to help minimize the chance for a dull complexion as well as supporting healthier skin.

It isn’t perfect though. Generally this means needing to make sure you stay on top of properly moisturizing your skin to ensure it doesn’t get too dry. Abusing any of these products could dehydrate your skin if you’re not careful.

oily vs dry skin

Your sebaceous glands do what they can to protect your skin, but sometimes go overboard.

That will in turn cause a surplus of oil that can cause many potential skin problems. So make sure to maintain good moisturizing practices when using products including coffee or tea. The good news is the right preparations can extract yet another benefit.

Exfoliation

Not every ingredient is suitable for exfoliating. Sometimes the chemical properties aren’t quite right or the ingredient isn’t the right level of gritty to do the job properly. In this case, you generally aren’t going to find tea being used as anything other than an anti-inflammatory.

Guess what:

Things are entirely different when it comes to coffee. Those fond of the drink are already aware that there are varying ways to grind the beans to get them to the right consistency. Some of those consistencies are perfect for use in body scrubs.

These products allow the ground coffee to shine by providing more or less comfortable exfoliation. You can also temporarily smooth out rougher areas of the skin too. Think of it as a quick, if temporary fix, for cellulite and similar issues.

Don’t ever use coffee-based exfoliating products on your face though. The grounds are almost never smooth enough to avoid harming the skin. Stick with your body and your should be fine.

Potential Drawbacks

We’ve touched on some of these as we’ve gone, but it is worthwhile to give these their own space. Coffee and tea-based ingredients are incredibly good when targeted well, but like all ingredients they have their downsides.

The predominant downside is the potential for drying out your skin that we touched on above. While this can be good for oil control in some cases, it can also damage and sensitize your skin if you’re not careful.

Similarly, we need to stress that most of these benefits are from when the products are used in proper products. Applying tea or coffee soaked things to your face isn’t going to do your much good. It could hurt your skin if you’re not careful.

You’ll also wanted to be mindful that these benefits are largely from topical use. The antioxidant benefit is one of the few things you can get from drinking coffee and tea. However, this comes with a few caveats.

Many of us like to add sugar or other flavoring agents to our coffee and tea. This can be a problem if you drink too much of either with this ingredients. Ingredients such as creamers, sugars, and dairy products can all aggravate the skin if you take in too much.

Keep this in mind:

Coffee and tea are a healthy addition to most diets. All we need to do is remember that they are best enjoyed in moderation. This is similar to knowing when and how often to use products using coffee and tea as ingredients.

Loving Your Skin and the World

Your skin does a lot for your body. That’s probably why you pamper it so much. Remembering this and being more selective about the ingredients in your skincare products is a way to show you care.

Coffee and tea aren’t the weirdest skincare ingredients out there, but they remain relatively novel. We recognize their names on a product label compared to more complex ingredients with more obscure names.

parcel on map

Skincare ingredients come from around the world to support all sorts of skin types.

Just like our skin, someone cared a lot about those ingredients and spent time figuring them out. They have a long history too. Their histories and what they can do for us are all interesting facts.

Some facts are just more usable than others. Hopefully you’ve learned a few things from this article and you’ll have a greater appreciation for your next cup of coffee or tea. After all, now your know a bit about them and their potential.

It makes it all the more fitting that they can help you live up to your own in so many ways.

 

 

Tips for Controlling Common Skin Conditions

Dr. William’s Pink Pills For Pale People,” “Dr.Scott’s Electric Corsets and Belts, “Dr. Ayer’s Pectoral Plaster,” “Dr. Watson’s Worm Syrup.” It seems like, since time immemorial, there have been people ready to cash in on the belief that “for every problem, there is a solution.” However, attractive as it the phrase may sound, unfortunately it is not always true, and skin conditions are no exception. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make to make them better. Here is some expert advice on how you can handle some common skin conditions under control.

Under-eye bags

Under-Eye Bags
Under-eye bags are the result of fat that gathers in the lower eyelids, and become more prominent with age. According to Curology founder, David Lortscher, gravity, loss of collagen, and genetic factors are all responsible for the these pillow like protrusions, and the bad news is, they cannot be permanently eliminated and masks and eye creams usually don’t help. However, there are ways of minimizing the puffiness.

According to Lortsher, “proper head elevation during sleep, sleep itself, and decreased dietary ingestion of salt and alcohol are simple lifestyle changes that can help.” He adds, “Topical creams can also reduce swelling.” If more intense treatments are an option, the doctor allows that, “Surgical correction or blepharoplasty can lead to a semi-permanent solution. But, remember, with age and volume loss the under-eye bags can reappear.”

Melasma
Melasma is characterized by dark facial pigmentation. It is triggered by sun exposure, hormone treatments and pregnancy and may last for decades. While melasma research is still ongoing, topical treatments, such as the prescription medication Tri-Luma, are looming on the horizon and experts recommend sun avoidance and protection to keep the condition to a minimum.

Dermatologist checking skin

Stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when the tissue below your skin, called the dermis, tears after being stretched by rapid growth or weight gain. Lortscher explains that, “Stretch marks are difficult to treat because they are actually scars,” and, like most scars, may fade with time, but never fully disappear. But there is hope.

Lortscher says cosmetic fractionated layers offer the “best hope at improving the depressed and thinned texture of the skin and topical tretinoin may help to some extent through its collagen stimulating effect.”

Rosacea
Rosacea is the general term used to refer to the appearance of redness of the face, small, acne like bumps and dilated blood vessels. Rosacea affects the capillaries under the skin surface and, “As you might imagine,” Lortscher says, “there is no topical treatment that will remove these little blood vessels.”

Although rosacea is not completely curable, there are several ways to manage it. One way is to avoid triggers such as sun exposure, spicy foods, stress, and hot showers. Redness can also be decreased by using topical products containing metronidazole, tacrolimus, azelaic acid, and glycol acid.

Woman scratching her arm

Eczema
A catch all phrase applied to most skin inflammation, eczema can be caused by almost anything from stress to food allergies. Although not curable, eczema is easily controllable with topical antibiotics, emollients and steroids.

Keratosis Pilaris
About 50% of the population suffers from the genetic acne- like skin condition known as keratosis pillars. KP is usually found on the thighs and upper arms and consists of dry, rough bumps resulting from the accumulation of dead skin cells, and, as Lortscher says, is,”incurable and persistent, even with treatment.”

Thankfully, alpha hydroxy acids are helpful in sloughing off dead skin cells and allowing them to shed, so glycolic and lactic acids can be effective, as can coconut oil, although coconut oil should not be used on the face. More good news: the condition also tends to go away when the sufferer reaches his or her late 20’s or early 30’s.