For many guys, mornings don’t truly begin until they’ve had at least one cup of coffee. Pulling up to our favorite drive-thru coffee shop before heading into work is a part of our morning ritual.

But if you’re an acne sufferer who is willing to do just about anything to make your acne go away, you may have considered giving up your morning cup of joe.

Does coffee cause acne? Here are the facts:

  • The caffeine in coffee can be a double-edged sword for acne sufferers. The right amount can be beneficial to skin, but too much can worsen your breakouts.
  • Dairy, sugar and other extras we add to our coffee can also exacerbate acne.
  • You don’t need to give up coffee completely. However, limiting how much coffee you drink can be good for your skin.

caffeine written on notebook

Coffee and Caffeine

Coffee has long been scrutinized for its potential to cause acne. One of the first things people focus on is the high amount of caffeine in coffee.

Caffeine is known to mimic stress conditions for the body, which in turn increases the body’s production of cortisol (the stress hormone). The increase in cortisol can trigger a boost of sebum (oil) production, which can result in acne breakouts.

Theoretically, caffeine can cause breakouts by increasing a person’s stress levels. However, caffeine in low doses has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood.

In fact, caffeine has some amazing skin benefits in topical form and can help you achieve better-looking skin. The trick is to find men’s skin care products with caffeine that have it in just the right amounts.

The Effects of Dairy and Sugar in Coffee

Some men believe that drinking their coffee black is the only way to drink it, and that adding sugar or milk ruins the beverage. No matter how you feel about this purist-take on coffee, they do have one thing right—drinking it black is better for your skin.

Before you order a Venti Chai Latte from Starbucks, consider the well-documented effects of sugar on the skin. Numerous studies have shown that low sugar consumption can have a significant improvement in acne severity.

Similarly, the milk you put into your coffee may also have an impact on your skin. Although scientists are still searching for answers, there is a link between acne and dairy consumption.

coffee cup with beans on table

The Benefits of Coffee for Skin

As you can see, there is sufficient evidence that coffee can exacerbate acne if you drink too much of it or take it with cream and sugar. However, this doesn’t mean that you should swear off your morning cup of joe entirely.

In fact, coffee is packed with antioxidants and can provide a host of excellent skin benefits. For instance, studies show that the antioxidants in coffee can reduce oxidative stress caused by the sun’s UV rays and help slow down signs of aging.

Coffee as a topical ingredient has also shown promise in the world of skin care. As mentioned, coffee is a major source of antioxidants which can benefit the skin when applied topically. Likewise, the caffeine found in coffee has potent antioxidant qualities and can improve microcirculation in the blood to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The Verdict

Should you give up your morning cup of joe to reduce your acne? Considering the numerous studies on the topic, we say that you don’t need to swear off coffee entirely.

Coffee may not cause acne, but it can worsen it depending on how much you drink and how you take your coffee. To reduce your acne, all it takes is a few simple changes to your coffee routine:

Avoid sugars and milk. A teaspoon of sugar may not worsen acne, but it can add up if your diet is already sugar-heavy.

Limit yourself to no more than four cups a day. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, limit yourself to two or three.

Switch to decaf. Although there is still some caffeine in decaf coffee, it is minimal.

Stick to a regular skin care regimen. A simple skin care regimen for men can help offset the negative effects of drinking coffee.

With these simple changes, you can reap the benefits of coffee for your skin without making your acne worse. If you’re still struggling with acne, you may need a better acne treatment system for men that is formulated specifically for your skin.