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The Effects Caffeine Has On You

Lets face it, coffee is the reason I can manage to be productive at 8am. I always have a cup in my car on the way to work, and I make another cup within 10 minutes of being in the office. But is having an extra cup (or two) bad for you? Of course there are two sides to every story, so let's dig a little deeper.

Coffee is chock full of caffeine, which is why it is so appealing in the morning. Besides the obvious boost it gives you, caffeine does more than you'd think. Skin care companies have started incorporating caffeine into some of their products because of the many positive effects this one ingredient has. I have listed below just a few benefits caffeine has on the skin and body, either applied topically or ingested.

1. Caffeine fights free radicals. Free radicals are the #1 thing we're taught to avoid. They are responsible for premature aging, so why wouldn't we want to? Caffeine has an abundance of anti-oxidants, which actually fight off free radicals. For this reason, caffeine is starting to pop up in anti-aging creams, in conjunction with retinol.

2. Caffeine tightens skin. Continuing the anti-aging topic, caffeine aides in skin tightening too. The caffeine used in topical creams is absorbed by the skin and gives an almost instant tightened appearance. This works wonders for fine lines and wrinkles, and also to help smooth out puffy skin.

3. Helps treat migraines and headaches. When you experience a headache, blood vessels in your brain tend to enlarge, or swell. Coffee contains "vasoconstrictive" properties that are able to shrink those blood vessels, and help relieve the pain associated with headaches.

4. Caffeine helps with dark under eye circles. Dark circles under the eyes are one of the hardest conditions to treat. They are caused by a number of things, including lack of sleep. Coffee is what we drink in the mornings to get that "I definitely got 8 hours of sleep" look. But applying caffeine topically to the eyes help give your tired eyes a boost. How? Caffeine has anti-inflammatory properties which reduces the puffiness and inflammation, and also reduces the accumulation of blood under your eyes which contributes to the dark shadow appearance.

Some additional studies have shown that caffeine reduces the risk of multiple cancers, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

But of course, there are some downsides to having too much caffeine. Some risks associated with a high in-take of caffeine include increased heartbeat, restlessness, dehydration, and heart palpitations. With anything, know your personal limits. Caffeine is a great option for getting an extra kick in your step, but if you are wary about some of the downsides, there are alternatives.

Have an extra minute at home? Here's a DIY coffee mask that you can make yourself with a few simple ingredients found around your kitchen.

What You’ll Need:
1/2 Cup ground organic coffee beans (you can grind your own or buy pre-ground)
1/2 Cup organic, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Cup of unsweetened whole milk (if you aren’t a dairy person, sub for unsweetened almond milk)
1 Tbsp of lemon juice (for dry skin, try olive or almond oil)
1 Tbsp of honey (for extra oily or acne prone skin, use additional lemon juice here instead of honey)

In your bowl, mix the finely ground coffee beans with the cocoa powder. Add in the milk, stir until it creates a paste. For a thicker paste, use less milk. Fold in lemon juice and honey. Apply to skin and let dry (up to 20 minutes). Wash off and store any extras in the fridge for up to 3 days.

For extra exfoliation, apply in circular motions for a quick scrub (1-2 minutes), then allow to dry.
For dark circles, mix the finely ground coffee beans with enough milk or olive oil to form a paste and apply to the under eye area once a day. Allow to dry and rinse off. The caffeine will promote healthy circulation and decrease inflammation that results in dark circles and under eye bags.

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