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Does Coffee Cause Acne? The Surprising Answer

Does coffee cause acne? This question has been on the minds of coffee lovers and health-conscious individuals alike. With coffee being such a popular drink worldwide, it's natural to wonder about its potential effects on our skin.

This article will examine the scientific evidence behind the relationship between coffee and acne, debunking myths and shedding light on this topic.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Coffee consumption and acne have no direct link, but caffeine can indirectly affect acne through stress and sleep disturbances.

  • Dairy milk, particularly cow's milk, might contribute to acne development in some individuals, making dairy alternatives worth exploring.

  • Blood sugar spikes from added sugars in coffee can exacerbate acne, so consuming coffee without added sugars or using low-glycemic sweeteners is essential.

  • Exposed Skin Care, a comprehensive acne treatment system, can help manage acne effectively while being gentle and improving overall skin texture and tone.

A woman drinking coffee

Coffee and Acne: What's the Connection?

Caffeine: A Double-Edged Sword

One of the main components of coffee is caffeine, a stimulant that can have both positive and negative effects on our bodies.

While caffeine can increase alertness and improve cognitive function, it can also cause unwanted side effects, such as increased heart rate, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. But does caffeine play a role in acne development?

According to a study by the American Academy of Dermatology, there is no direct link between caffeine consumption and acne development. However, caffeine can have indirect effects on acne through the following mechanisms:

  • Stress: Caffeine can increase stress levels by stimulating the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. High cortisol levels have been associated with acne breakouts.

  • Sleep: Caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns, and poor sleep has been linked to acne development.

Dairy: A Potential Culprit

Many coffee drinkers enjoy their cup of joe with milk or cream. Some studies have suggested that dairy products, particularly skim milk, might be associated with acne.

This is likely due to the presence of hormones and growth factors in milk, which can stimulate sebum production and contribute to acne development.

However, it's essential to note that not all studies have found a strong link between dairy and acne, and more research is needed to establish a clear connection.

A woman drinking milk

The Role of Blood Sugar Spikes in Acne

Another aspect to consider when discussing the relationship between drinking coffee and acne is the potential for blood sugar spikes.

Consuming coffee with added sugars or sweeteners can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which may contribute to acne development. Blood sugar spikes can lead to increased production of stress hormones and inflammation, both of which can worsen existing acne.

To minimize the risk of blood sugar-related acne, try enjoying your morning cup of coffee without added sugars or opt for low-glycemic sweeteners like stevia.

Tips for Coffee Drinkers with Acne-Prone Skin

While the evidence does not suggest that coffee directly causes acne, here are some tips for coffee lovers with acne-prone or oily skin to minimize any potential adverse effects:

  • Limit caffeine intake: Keep your daily caffeine intake within the recommended limits (400 mg/day for adults) to minimize potential stress and sleep-related issues.

  • Opt for dairy alternatives: If you suspect dairy might be contributing to your acne, consider trying dairy-free alternatives like almond, soy, or oat milk in your coffee.

  • Monitor your skin's reaction: Keep track of your skin's response to changes in your coffee consumption and make adjustments accordingly.

  • Prioritize a balanced diet and good sleep hygiene: A balanced diet and good sleep hygiene can help keep your skin healthy and minimize the risk of acne breakouts.

Man sleeping deeply

Habitual Caffeine Consumption and Skin Health

Be mindful of your habitual caffeine consumption, as excessive intake can lead to chronic stress and sleep disturbances, which may indirectly impact your skin health.

While enjoying a cup of coffee in moderation is unlikely to cause significant issues for most individuals, paying attention to your body's reaction and adjusting your caffeine intake accordingly is crucial.

If your acne worsens after consuming too much coffee beforehand, consider reducing your caffeine intake or exploring alternatives like decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas.

Drinking tea instead of coffee

Exploring Dairy Alternatives for Your Coffee

As discussed earlier, dairy milk consumption plays a role in some individuals' acne development, with cow's milk being a potential trigger for some. If you suspect that dairy milk might be contributing to your acne or making your existing acne worse, consider trying various dairy-free alternatives in your coffee. Here are some popular options:

  • Almond milk: A popular plant-based milk option, almond milk is low in calories and provides a creamy texture without the potential acne-triggering effects of cow's milk.

  • Soy milk: Soy milk is a high-protein, lactose-free alternative that can add creaminess to your coffee without aggravating acne-prone skin.

  • Oat milk: Oat milk is a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice that provides a rich, smooth texture to your coffee while being gentle on your skin.

By experimenting with different dairy alternatives, you can continue to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee without worrying about its impact on your acne.

The Impact of Coffee on Skin Hydration and Aging

While the direct relationship between coffee and acne may be minimal, it's also worth considering the impact of coffee consumption on other aspects of skin health, such as hydration and aging. Drinking coffee can have some effects on the skin that are important to be aware of, especially for those who consume it regularly.

Skin Hydration

Caffeine, as a natural diuretic, can lead to increased bodily fluid loss. As a result, excessive coffee consumption may contribute to dehydration, negatively impacting skin health. Dehydrated skin can appear dull, flaky, and prone to fine lines and wrinkles. To prevent this, it's crucial to balance your coffee intake with adequate water consumption. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help maintain proper skin hydration, keeping your skin looking healthy and radiant.

Woman moisturizing her face

Antioxidant Benefits and Aging

Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, which can help protect the skin from environmental stressors like UV radiation and pollution. Antioxidants can also help reduce inflammation, possibly contributing to a more youthful appearance by preventing premature skin aging.

Consuming coffee in moderation can provide some potential benefits for overall skin health and anti-aging. It's essential to be mindful of both the potential risks and benefits of coffee consumption on skin health.

By balancing coffee intake with adequate hydration and maintaining a well-rounded skincare routine, you can enjoy your coffee while keeping your skin healthy and youthful.

Exposed Skin Care: A Comprehensive Solution for Managing Acne

While moderating your coffee intake and opting for dairy alternatives can help manage acne, having a well-rounded skincare routine is also essential. Exposed Skin Care is an effective acne treatment system that combines science and nature to tackle acne at its source.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

The benefits of using Exposed Skin Care include:

  • Combination of natural and scientific ingredients: Exposed Skin Care uses a unique blend of natural ingredients, like green tea extract and aloe vera, alongside scientifically proven acne-fighting components such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

  • Gentle on the skin: The Exposed Skin Care system is designed to be gentle, minimizing irritation and redness often associated with other acne treatments.

  • Prevents future breakouts: By targeting the root causes of acne, Exposed Skin Care helps prevent future breakouts and promotes long-term skin health.

  • Improves skin texture and tone: In addition to tackling acne, Exposed Skin Care products work to improve overall skin texture and tone, leaving your skin looking radiant and healthy.

  • Money-back guarantee: Exposed Skin Care offers a 1-year money-back guarantee, allowing you to try their products risk-free and find the best solution for your skin.

By incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your daily routine, you can effectively manage your acne and enjoy healthier, clearer skin.


So, does coffee cause or worsen acne itself? While coffee itself does not directly cause acne, certain factors associated with coffee consumption, such as caffeine's indirect effects on stress and sleep, can contribute to worsening acne.

Additionally, adding sugar to coffee may cause blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance, triggering breakouts and exacerbating existing acne. Dairy milk, particularly cow's milk, can also play a role in acne development for some individuals, making it worthwhile to explore dairy alternatives like almond, soy, or oat milk.

To minimize the potential negative effects of coffee on acne-prone skin, it's essential to consume caffeine in moderation, opt for natural sweeteners or low-glycemic alternatives, and prioritize a balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and nutrients.

Maintaining a consistent skincare routine, including over-the-counter products like Exposed Skin Care, can further help manage acne and improve overall skin health.

By being mindful of these factors and making adjustments as needed, you can continue to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee without worrying about its impact on your skin.


Does coffee cause acne?

Based on the available scientific evidence, there is no direct link between coffee consumption and acne. However, caffeine can indirectly affect acne through heightened stress response and sleep disturbances. Consuming caffeine in moderation and practicing good sleep hygiene is essential to minimize these effects.

Can too much caffeine cause acne breakouts?

Caffeine itself does not directly cause acne breakouts. However, it can increase stress levels and disrupt sleep, contributing to acne development. Managing your caffeine intake and prioritizing sleep to minimize these indirect effects on your skin is crucial.

Is it okay to drink coffee if I have severe acne or-prone skin?

Yes, you can still enjoy coffee if you have acne-prone skin. However, consuming caffeine in moderation, monitoring your skin's reaction to dairy products, and practicing good sleep hygiene are essential to minimize any potential negative effects on your skin.

Are there any alternatives to coffee that won't negatively affect acne?

If you're concerned about the potential effects of coffee on your acne, you can consider switching to alternatives such as herbal tea, decaffeinated coffee, or caffeine-free beverages like chicory root coffee. However, it's crucial to note that the current evidence does not suggest a direct link between coffee and acne.