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Do you live by the phrase: "But first, coffee?" You aren't alone. According to research commissioned by the National Coffee Association, 63% of Americans drink coffee daily. But since a lot of us consume our favorite brew on the regular, have you ever wonder what it's doing to your body? Whether it's a morning jump-start, an afternoon pick-me-up, or a post-dinner fix, before you grab your next venti, you might want to think about that…
But it's not all bad news, to be clear. Erica Drewry, CEDRD, RDN, LD, owner of Aligned Nutrition, explains: "Coffee isn't bad for you; just listen to your body and pay attention to how coffee affects you, especially during stressful times in life."
Drewry urges you to stay hydrated and to cut back if coffee begins to take a toll on your sleep. If you're not getting quality shuteye, you shouldn't drink more than a cup or two a day. Like most things in life, it's all about moderation.
So with this in mind, we wanted to know about coffee's effects on one specific body part: our skin, since we're always wondering what to do, eat, and avoid to get good skin here at THE/THIRTY. Here's what we found.
In Norway, a study called the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study explored the connection between coffee and skin cancer. The results? Moderate consumption of filtered coffee might help lower a woman's risk for developing malignant melanoma. This is good news, but you should still wear sunscreen. Additionally, you should proceed with caution and do the other things that can reduce your risk—eat right, stay active, and quit smoking.
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Some studies have looked at coffee's effects on aging. It's known to contain antioxidants, which are said to help protect the skin from sun damage and reduce the effects of aging. And other studies found that when caffeine is used in cosmetics, it might increase the circulation of blood in the skin, stimulate the growth of hair, and prevent the excessive accumulation of fat in cells. Again, you don't want to take this as the solution to anti-aging; you still shouldn't skip the sunscreen and moisturizer.
Caffeine provides a boost that can mean the difference between hitting the gym or skipping it, Drewry shares. Exercise is good for your skin (and your heart, body, mood, etc.). Just make sure you wash the sweat away afterward!
Don't throw away those coffee grounds; instead, repurpose them to exfoliate your skin. According to a non-scientific, slightly messy, but ultimately fun at-home test I did, this does the trick. Take ¼ cup coffee grounds, and mix in ¼ cup brown sugar. Add enough lemon juice to form a paste. Apply the mixture to your skin, but avoid your eyes (because ouch). Wear it while you chill for a few minutes; then rinse well.
I tried this one at home, too, and enjoyed this unique use for coffee grounds. Take finely ground coffee and add, um… coffee, in liquid form. Mix until a paste forms. Place on eyes, and relax. Rinse well.
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If you're a big-time coffee drinker, you probably need to up your hydration game. Drewry agrees that too much coffee can dehydrate you, and notes that staying hydrated is important for skin, among other things.
According to Drewry, coffee can lead to an increase in cortisol production, aka the body's natural response to stress. This in turn can wreak havoc on your skin, causing inflammation. Yet another reason to keep coffee consumption in check.