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Coffee & Health

Does Coffee Cause Acne?

Coffee and bad skin

Confusing right?

You enjoy coffee and the effects it brings. But you have concerns about its effects on your skin. You receive contradictory information on its benefits and harm to your health.

Your search for answers, but no one seems to answer you on whether coffee causes acne? What is the relation between skin problems and coffee? What should you do when you get an acne breakout?

Does Coffee Cause Acne?

There are other alternatives you can drink as a beverage. You can settle for decaf or another caffeine drink.

Most of the other beverages like tea or an energy drink do contain caffeine. Decaf still contains some elements of caffeine, so it is not entirely clear.

This article will aim to tackle your concerns. You will get clarity on the association between acne and coffee. Let’s get right into it.

Acne is a skin condition that is caused by dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria jamming in the hair follicles. It’s often associated with blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.


Many myths have been associated with acne. For instance:

  • It is a teens’ problem– People of all ages can get acne, but it frequents teens
  • Stress causes acne – Although it makes it worse, it doesn’t lead to acne
  • Popping the pimples is good. – This will not only lead to infections, but it can also cause scarring and inflammation.
  • It will disappear– Without treatment, acne will only get worse.
  • Dirt and acne– Scrubbing your skin with all manner of cleaners will not treat acne. Acne is not a hygiene problem, but rather a skin condition that can be treated.

Most of the time, pimples and acne are used interchangeably. But, pimples are symptoms of having acne. Let’s highlight the difference between the two.

What are pimples? As a teen, pimples are a sign of maturity. At this point, your skin pores start to produce more oil. Skin oil is healthy for the skin, but sometimes it gets mixed with dirt. This is a haven for pimples to show up. It dignifies bacteria infestation on the skin.

Acne is also known as Acne Vulgaris is a condition when multiple breakouts emerge on the skin. You will experience frequent breakouts of pimples, which are pus-filled across the skin. There are effective ways to deal with this condition, as we shall learn later in this article.

What causes Acne Vulgaris

There have been many factors that are associated with acne. The combination of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells are the main causes. When the body generates more oil faster than it can excrete, it results in clogging of the hair follicles. This often happens during puberty or is caused by hormonal changes.

There are two kinds of acne, the inflamed and non-inflamed types. Inflamed acne leads to pus-filled pimples that are full and ripe. The inflamed type leads to whiteheads and blackheads.

Blackheads appear when oil and dead skin cells choke the skin pores from inside. The top area of the pore remains open. This is what leads to black spots on your skin.

Whiteheads present similar characteristics. However, with this type, the top of the pore closes. This results in a small protrusion from the skin.

Acne often crops up where the skin generates more oil. This is around the forehead, chest, shoulders, and back.

Acne Vulgaris symptoms

You have learned what acne is. The various types and understood what causes acne. Now you need to know what to look out for in acne.

Most of the time, symptoms vary in intensity.

  • The mild kind. Where you have minimal blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Moderate acne. The blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples are more concentrated.
  • Severe acne. The pimples are painfully round and full. They are widespread and more solid.

Foods that trigger acne breakouts

Some certain habits and lifestyles trigger acne breakouts. This includes the following:

  • Hormones- Hormonal changes during puberty and midlife can lead to breakouts.
  • Diet – What you eat matters to your health and skincare. Certain foods rich in carbohydrates may worsen acne.
  • Stress worsens acne
  • Certain drugs will trigger acne.

Does coffee cause acne

Scientific evidence links coffee to health benefits as well as skin problems. Eventually, people with acne tend to shy away from consuming coffee.

Coffee affects people with acne differently. But, drinking coffee in moderation may not have severe consequences.

Coffee and hormonal imbalance

Consumption of coffee affects the adrenal glands. These glands are each located on top of each kidney. They produce two hormones, namely epinephrine, and cortisol. Let’s delve into each of these and their relation to coffee.


This hormone is responsible for adrenaline. These causes increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and faster respiration. Studies identified increased stress levels resulting from the consumption of coffee. The results were consistent during the day and in the evening.

Adrenaline is characterized by increased blood pressure and fast heart rate. Caffeine works on the nervous system, leading to your body feeling more energetic. Caffeine consumption may lead to increased heartbeat and jitters. However, this depends on the amount of caffeine consumed.

A report by Brown University established caffeine leads to excitement in the brain. This sends signals to the adrenal glands, which release adrenaline.


This is a hormone that acts like an intruder sensor that monitors your stress levels. Located at the adrenal glands, it controls your moods, emotions, and fears.

When the body experiences stress out of fear or threat to its well-being, it releases cortisol. This hormone regulates inflammation and blood pressure. It boosts your energy so that your body can handle stress.

Consumption of coffee increases the secretion of cortisol. This study identified coffee and mental stress as key components to the release of cortisol. When you are under stress and result in coffee, then your body will have higher cortisol levels.

Higher cortisol and adrenaline cause the skin to produce more oil, and this is a great environment for acne. Other notable effects of elevated hormone production of the adrenal glands include:

  • Weight problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Elevated heart rate

Coffee also affects your sleep patterns, which ends up affecting your cortisol levels. It is advisable to avoid taking coffee before going to bed.

Caffeine and Insulin Sensitivity

The research was conducted and established that caffeine leads to decreasing sensitivity in insulin. There have been two assumptions why caffeine is associated with reduced insulin sensitivity. It results from the blockage of adenosine (a chemical in our cells that signals sleep). Or the release of catecholamines (Hormones released during stress by adrenal glands). This leads to stimulation of extra glucose uptake.

This leads to the production of skin oil, which leads to a high likelihood of severe acne.

Is milk bad for Acne

Adding some milk or cream to your coffee may not be a great idea for your skin. It could trigger acne or make it worse.

A study done on teens found an association between milk and acne. The participants were diagnosed with acne. The consumers of milk exhibited higher levels of acne. This could be because of hormones in milk that trigger acne.

The evidence was not conclusive, but it proved there is a strong relation between milk and acne. Teenagers were more susceptible than adults. Skimmed milk contains more propensity to trigger acne.

Sugar and acne connection

Sugar and acne often don’t form a great pair. Research shows elevated insulin production resulting from high sugar consumption.

Adding a chocolate doughnut or scone will make acne much worse. People who have been diagnosed with acne should not only reduce their coffee consumption, but limit sugar in their coffee.

How to drink coffee with acne

Do not get scared if you enjoy coffee and have acne. You can try doing this before giving up on coffee:

  • Reduce the consumption of coffee. Settle for alternatives with lower caffeine levels like decaf, tea, or energy drinks.
  • Cut on the sugar. Ideally, settling for little or no sugar is better.
  • Reduce or cut You can opt for other alternatives like creamer.
  • Stay away from the pastries

There may be some ways to enjoy coffee without making acne worse, including:

  • Some people are more sensitive to caffeine’s effects and may need to reduce their consumption.
  • Cutting back on sugar: Adding little to no sugar to coffee can achieve this. As can cutting back or eliminating sugary sodas from the diet. You can also opt for sweeteners like stevia.
  • Reducing low fat or skimmed milk: People can do this by trying a dairy alternative creamer or

Does coffee cause acne

Coffee contains antioxidants that are great for your skin. Most people with acne still consume coffee, but in moderation. However, drinking coffee with sugar or milk will lead to worsening your acne.

This article should answer your concerns about your acne and coffee. You are now empowered to go enjoy coffee while still being diagnosed with acne.

Coffee is not so bad after all. The problem is regulating coffee intake, minimizing milk and sugar.


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