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There’s something incredibly soothing about slowly sipping a piping hot cup full of deliciousness.  Apparently most millennials, the age group 19-34 year olds fall into, would agree with me.

According to Bloomberg, millennials now account for 44% of U.S. coffee demand.  It isn’t just in the U.S. either, the coffee craze is hitting China and India with full force as well.  So what does that morning cup of joe have to do with breakouts?


Caffeine may give you that extra pep in your step, but it also helps create stress releasing hormones, such as cortisol.  Don’t forget about the goodies added to coffee to enhance the flavor.

  • Elevated cortisol levels may contribute to acne.
  • Dairy products such as creamer promote outbreaks.
  • Sugar added to coffee can spike insulin and lead to acne.

As of yet, there hasn't been an official study showing the link between caffeine and acne.   Yet, a number of people have seen improvement in their breakouts after giving up caffeine.   There have been cases where within a week after giving up coffee new pimples stopped emerging.

Besides coffee, what other drinks contain caffeine?

  • Caffeine is also found in sodas (mainly cola).
  • Energy drinks are packed with caffeine.
  • Black tea and green tea are caffeinated.
  • Especially potent are drinks that have guarana in them.

Did you know caffeine lurks in food too?  There are 12 milligrams of caffeine in one ounce of dark chocolate.  Only eat 1 ounce of 80% cacao or higher a day, if at all.  Unfortunately, since caffeine can be addictive, giving it up can feel like misery.

Here are some side effects you can expect to kick in 24 hours after your last caffeinated drink:

  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle pain.


With caffeine off the table you may be wondering, what about decaf drinks?  Decaf still contains caffeine, although in smaller amounts.  Just like regular coffee, decaf also has acids that impact blood sugar and cortisol levels.

Although decaf green tea contains caffeine, those who have switched from coffee to green tea have noticed a clearing of acne.

What makes green tea so potent?

  • Green tea is packed with antioxidants that keep inflammation in check.
  • Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is great at shutting down cytokines and prostaglandins, the chemicals that contribute to acne.

EGCG is 137 times greater in matcha green tea than in the green tea you find in most grocery stores.  Although matcha green tea packs a mean EGCG punch, the caffeine content is also much higher.   Avoid matcha green tea if caffeine triggers your acne.

I prefer to stick to non-caffeinated herbal teas.  Not only do they help keep my skin clear, but they also help relax me.  I think that’s something we all need, whether we have breakouts or not.

Whether we like it or not, what we put in our bodies has a direct impact on the condition of our skin.

"Our skin is the living billboard that advertises whether we've chosen to nurture, honor and love our bodies."



There’s no shame in easing off of caffeine.  Follow this simple guide to help smooth the transition:

  • Days 1-3 – Reduce your caffeine intake by half.
  • Days 3-5 – Allow yourself no more than 2 cups of black tea.
  • Days 6-8 – Drink green tea.  Have no more than 2 cups on days 6-7.  Only drink one cup on day 8.
  • Day 10 – Drink 2-3 cups of herbal tea daily.  Chamomile is great for reducing inflammation.  You can even pop the tea bag in the fridge after steeping your tea.  Let it cool, then apply it on an inflamed pimple to bring the swelling down.    Now that’s a two for one deal you can’t beat!

 Make sure you check out my "3 Step Acne Fighting" cheat sheet for more tips!


Join the Conversation

My favorite part of doing these posts is engaging in the conversation they start. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this:

Would you trade your caffeine fix for clearer skin? 


Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is provided as an information resource only.  It is not to be used or relied upon for any treatment or diagnostic purposes.  This information is not intended to be patient education.  It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.   This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition, such as if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a mental condition.  Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.


*  *  *


Marvin G Perez, “Coffee-Loving Millennials Push Demand to a Record,” October 30, 2016,

Thomas Heath, “Look how much coffee millennials are drinking,” October 31, 2016, caffeine-free-journal.html

Dr. Sara Gottfried, M.D., The Hormone Reset Diet, 2015, pgs. 128, 135

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