Type green coffee into your search engine and you are faced with a staggering range of articles waxing lyrical about this ingredients slimming benefits!  Apparently it boosts your metabolism from within giving you more energy and increased digestive performance. Sounds amazing but what I want to know is what is it going to do to my face and is green coffee really that much different to black coffee?

Let’s start with the beans.

Grab a cup of your favourite skincare

Botanically the species of green coffee that we are interested in is  Coffea  Arabica  (a genus that contains over 90 species) . The ‘green’ bit refers to the immature coffee beans that have been un-roasted and processed cold so that they retain their waxy outer layer.  Because the beans are not exposed to the tough roasting conditions they retain a higher percentage of volatile components including the well known alkaloid theophylline (the one that gives green tea its benefits) and the wrinkle stopping amino acid GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) which would have otherwise been degraded completely.

So, suddenly our green coffee is sounding quite appealing. But just how good is it for our SKIN and will rubbing it on make me thin?

Skin wise these green coffee beans do pack quite a healthy skin punch with ingredients that promise to give us better circulation, less wrinkles and a faster skin metabolism but probably not much in terms of fat reduction!

 Sounds promising just so long as it can get through the skins barrier, so can it?

Well, there has been a fair bit of clinical research done on theophylline as it is used as a treatment for apnea of prematurity (a condition where premmy infants stop breathing  for short periods of time).  However, But while research on transdermal delivery for premmies showed some great results, premature babies do not have an epidermis so it is easier to get ingredients into the bloodstream. To get some more meaningful data we need to look at reports such as the one submitted to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology back in August 1990 (published in 1992), this article from Informaworld plus this one in Science Links Japan which does show that dermal penetration of theophylline is possible when tested ‘in vitro’ (skin cells in a laboratory setting rather than on a live person). 

As far as the other key active GABA goes, this has also been widely studied as it is one of the key chemicals involved in controlling muscle contractions.  We all know that too many frowns lead to wrinkles and by 2004 GABA  ussured in a new era for the cosmaceutical market when it became the darling of the ‘no-needle’ facelift set thanks to the launch of Dr. Brandt’s crease release rapid wrinkle reducer.   However, while GABA has been proven to definitely work on the nervous system, it has proved difficult to prove that it gets it through the skin and into the right place in order to turn off the frown!

Well that is about it on the headline ‘cosmaceutical’ front but that is not the whole story for this fabulous ingredient.  Green coffee also contains a wide range of fatty acids and esters to moisturise and help repair the skin barrier including the skin-friendly Linoleic,  oleic and arahidic acids which also act as emollients to modify the skin feel of your formulation.  Then there are the antioxidant polyphenols which  are again present in much higher levels thanks to the lack of roasting – the key ones being Chlorogenic Acid which has been shown to be up to ten times  more potent than green tea at boosting skin health and Ferulic Acid- another potent free-radical buster that is being widely adopted by skincare brands.   All in all, there is a fair bit of good in those green coffee beans and for that reason we think they are worth a look!

PS: NO, you can’t just tip your next cup of coffee over your face 😉

Green Coffee is available from New Directions in Australia and around the world and is currently being sported by many top brands including Priori skincare and Steifel laboratories Revealskin.

Have fun, play safe and stay beautiful!