Not only does coffee keep you awake, it also boosts your energy levels. But even with all these benefits, coffee could have some pretty adverse effects like acne.

Is it true that coffee can cause acne? Yes, coffee can cause acne. And if you already have acne, drinking coffee can make it worse. This is because caffeine causes and worsens stress, and stress can result in acne. Added ingredients such as milk and sugar only contribute to the aggravation of acne.

We will not even get into how it affects your sleep patterns and all that. Today, we look at whether this drink can rob you of the smooth skin you deserve.

What’s in my coffee?

The best way to figure out if something is good for you is to look at its ingredients. Doing this allows you to figure out what effects each component can have. The same goes for coffee. You first have to understand what comprises this drink.

With wine, you deal with about 450 compounds. With chocolate, you have about 250. What is the case with coffee? Well, coffee has up to one thousand compounds.

There is more to this drink than meets the eye. Can you picture one thousand compounds in one cup? What do these comprise?

First, there is caffeine, which stimulates you and gets you in a good mood. Of course, there are side effects that come from using this stimulant in the long term. You find that it actually lowers your energy levels such that you develop somewhat an addiction to it.

You end up needing the caffeine to get to the normal energy levels. But that is a story for another day. If you use caffeine as needed, you will not develop a tolerance for it, and you won’t suffer such an effect.

Antioxidants are also present in coffee, which is another reason people love this drink so much. With people hoping to age with grace, these components have fast become popular. Also, disease-fighting is another reason why people embrace these components.

Additionally, coffee contains lignans, trigonelline, quinides, chlorogenic acid, and diterpenes. You can thus see that you consume quite a lot of ingredients. But what is the effect of this consumption?

Advantages of coffee ingredients

Most people take coffee, knowing that it will have a positive impact on their health. From boosting energy levels to increasing productivity, this drink has an array of benefits. You can probably think of a few reasons why you enjoy this beverage, taste notwithstanding.

Other than improving mood and focus, this drink also works in preventing cognitive decline in aging people.

It also lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps athletes perform better in the field. That’s why many energy drink manufacturers use a lot of caffeine in their drinks. They want consumers to get a boost in their energy levels to keep them coming for more.

But even with all these benefits, this drink has some downsides that you cannot ignore.

Downsides of coffee ingredients

Caffeine can have adverse effects on the body. You need to note that it is a drug. Not only can your body build a tolerance to it, but this can also reduce your normal energy levels.

Also, this stimulant can affect your blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar levels. It is thus best that you consume it with caution. And of course, there is the issue of acne, which we will now cover in detail.

How can coffee cause acne?

Who would have ever thought that coffee could be the reason behind the development of acne? Not many people would think so. However, that is the truth, as proven in many studies. You will be quite shocked to learn how this relationship comes about.

Heightened stress from coffee

If you are prone to acne, you probably know what to do to reduce the chances of a breakout. From changing your pillowcases often to eating a healthy diet, you have heard it all.

How about stress? Do you know that stress is bad for you? Studies show that if you can learn to manage your stress levels, breakouts would be fewer. Unfortunately, while coffee gives you an energy burst, it also contributes to your stress.

How does caffeine make the situation worse? Caffeine is a stimulant that makes the stress even worse than it was. According to a study, taking caffeine doubles your body’s response to stress. As such, you end up having double the stress hormones. You can imagine the effect that these would have on an acne breakout.

You see, the same hormones responsible for dealing with an emergency are also to blame for triggering acne. Thus, the more stress you undergo, the higher the chances you will have a breakout.

Hormones increase insulin production, and this wreaks havoc on your skin in many ways.

For one, this hormone makes your skin produce more oil than is necessary. If you have acne-prone skin, you probably know how bad oil is for you. The more oil you have on the surface, the more likely it is to clog your skin pores. And this leads to breakouts, which can even be painful.

If you are cleaning your face twice a day, this added production can make you increase the cleaning times. And that is another bad thing because too much cleaning also triggers oil production!

Secondly, this hormone leads to the creation of new skin cells. That is yet another thing that can clog your pores and lead to painful breakouts. You thus have to exfoliate more, and this can irritate the skin and cause more problems.

Have you ever had red and swollen acne? If yes, then you know how uncomfortable and painful that can be. Well, insulin is not a friend in this case. This hormone increases inflammation in the body, and this affects acne. The breakout becomes hard to touch, which can be frustrating.

Then there is the issue of cortisol, which works in weakening the immune system. The weaker your system is, the harder it is for you to fight bacteria that breed in the clogged pores. These bacteria survive by feeding off the excess oil in the pores, and as they do so, they inflame the pores.

Your system cannot fight them, and they thus multiply with ease. That is how you end up spreading the breakout.

You can see that even one cup of coffee can make your stress worse and make your acne act up. Studies show that increased stimulation is the most likely cause of increased acne.

You should thus be wary of consuming caffeine when you are under a lot of stress.

The funny thing is that most people take coffee to deal with their high stress levels. If you have work piling up on your desk and need quick relief, what do you get? A cup of coffee! And that only makes things worse.

Insulin resistance

We had earlier mentioned that caffeine affects insulin. That’s why doctors advise diabetic as well as pregnant women to avoid this stimulant. How does it do this?

Consuming caffeine makes it harder for your body to process carbohydrates as it should. You develop a resistance to insulin, which can be dangerous to people with pre-existing conditions. When this resistance takes place, your insulin and blood sugar levels are bound to increase.

Your body will produce more insulin, thinking that there is inadequacy. And as it does so, the effects will start to show. Under heightened stress, we touched on the effects of insulin. These include increased oil production, more skin cell replication, and added inflammation levels.

Should you worry about this? Well, it comes down to your diet and pre-existing health conditions. Pregnant women and diabetics should avoid anything that alters their blood sugar and insulin levels.

Other people should consider their diets. If you are consuming a high-carb diet, then you should worry. But if you are all about low-carb, you should be okay.

Ingredients added to coffee

Coffee in itself will have the effects stated above. But not everyone wants their coffee black with no sugar. There are so many ways to bring out the taste in coffee. And people are always looking for ways to mask the bitterness. What do they use? Milk and sugar!

You will find that people heap teaspoons of sugar and add these to their drinks. And as they do so, they add milk to the concoction, taking in the sweet aroma and downing the contents quite fast.

If you know anything about managing acne, you know that sugar is a big enemy to smooth skin. And let’s not even get started with milk.

Milk is bad for your skin in whichever form you consume it. It does not matter if you have ice cream or cheese. As long as there is dairy in the food, you are in for a lot of trouble.

Some skin experts agree that the best way to clear up your skin in a few weeks is to get rid of dairy products. Reading this must be quite hard. After all, how can you get rid of things that taste so sweet? Can you imagine taking your coffee black?

Plus, what happens when you let go of dairy products? Does that mean you will have to live without those essential minerals and vitamins? How about calcium? Well, it turns out that milk does more harm than good.

For one, it contains IGF-1, which is a hormone that does wonders for calves. For you, it does the opposite. This hormone works in triggering growth, and calves grow quite fast as a result.

But with humans, it only works in making your acne grow, and at a fast pace. If you want to have tons of inflammation, this hormone is the way to go. You would end up dealing with swollen and red acne that is hard to deal with without spreading it.

Secondly, milk increases insulin in the body. We have already covered what this hormone does to your skin.

Sugar is not your friend either as it works in boosting your blood sugar levels. When this happens, inflammation is sure to follow. Sugar also depresses your immune system such that you cannot fight breeding bacteria. Plus, it damages your skin cells owing to glycation.

Thus, anyone hoping to be free of acne should avoid dairy and sugar as much as possible. While black coffee may not appeal to you, it may be your best bet.

Reduced mineral intake

Minerals are essential in your body as they serve several functions. What if you realized that your coffee consumption was robbing you of minerals?

Well, this is a reality. When you take coffee with a meal or soon after having one, mineral absorption reduces. While this may not look like much of an issue, it can make your acne worse.

You see, the acne could be a result of mineral deficiencies. Thus, if your body undergoes more deficiencies, the breakouts will only get worse.

What can you do? The best thing is to avoid taking coffee with or after meals. Where you can, you should avoid the drink altogether. That is the only sure way of dealing with coffee-induced acne.

Coffee can change your gut health

Anything you eat can either work for you or work towards hurting you. In the case of coffee, it is more of the latter. Anyone who has problems with acidity should avoid this drink as it has a very low pH.

As such, it can lead to the growth of the bad kind of bacteria, which alters your gut health. This condition is known as dysbiosis, which makes it hard for your system to absorb food nutrients. It also makes it hard for you to produce B vitamins, which are essential in the uptake of nutrients.

You thus end up with nutritional deficiencies which further trigger breakouts. Additionally, you suffer from reduced digestion, among other effects, including a leaky gut. Persistent inflammation can also take place.

You may think that you can solve all this by using probiotics. While these work great, their effects are reduced when you consume caffeine.

You should thus reduce your caffeine consumption to enable your gut to regain its health.

Mold in your coffee can cause acne

Have you ever heard of mycotoxins? If you have, then you know that these toxins can cause constant fatigue. If coffee beans are not kept in the proper conditions, there is always a chance that mold can grow on them. And this mold paves the way for these toxins.

When you consume contaminated coffee, you are at risk of being tired all the time – constant fatigue.

But it is not only fatigue you should worry about in this case. These toxins can also cause acne in several ways.

For one, they can weaken your immune system. When this happens, you become more vulnerable to bacteria that can cause acne. It thus becomes harder to fight any inflammations, and you end up with pretty bad breakouts.

Secondly, these toxins can act like estrogen. Women know how bad acne can be when they are undergoing any hormonal changes. Be it menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, or other such changes; alterations affect the skin.

It gets even worse given that these toxins play other roles in the body that are unrelated to acne. Other than constant fatigue, they can also cause cancer. The worst thing is that not many people are aware of these toxins. They consume coffee, thinking that it is of good quality.

How can you protect yourself? Avoiding coffee is one way to do this. If you cannot, it would be best to get the best quality coffee from reliable manufacturers. This coffee will cost you a pretty dime.

And while you may avoid these toxins, you will still suffer the other effects related to caffeine. The good thing is that you will be free of one problem. And that is something, is it not?

More reasons to stop drinking coffee

Many people grapple with this question, owing to this drink’s adverse effects. If not for acne, you should consider the following reasons:

One, coffee messes with your cycle. Many people use this drink to stay awake in the morning and be productive during their late night sessions. And it works owing to the blocking of adenosine receptors. However, in the long term, this effect can be harmful to your body.

You end up altering your cycle. You see, when you wake up, your cortisol levels should be high. But if you have been taking coffee for a long time, this will not be the case. Your body builds a tolerance to the caffeine.

Secondly, this increase in cortisol levels makes it harder for you to build muscle. Anyone looking to keep fit and build some muscle should consider this.

And finally, there is the issue of dehydration. Coffee is a mild diuretic which can aid in the loss of water. It can cause aging and wrinkling of the skin at a young age.

Plus, it affects collagen and elasticin production, robbing you of supple skin. While some people think that coffee makes them age gracefully, it could make your skin age faster. That’s another reason why you should quit coffee.

Does switching to decaf help against acne?

Would you ever consider going decaf, and can this have a positive effect on your acne? If you cannot imagine going without coffee, this is a good alternative. It provides you with the antioxidants present in coffee but has much less caffeine.

You can thus look forward to lowered stress levels. However, that is as far as the benefits go. Decaf is still high in acidity and can alter your gut health, resulting in acne.

Also, it is more likely to have mycotoxins as compared to regular coffee. It owes to the use of bad quality beans in the production.

To make matters worse, caffeine protects beans from these toxins. Thus, removing the caffeine makes the beans even more prone to contamination. That is quite a health risk. You should, therefore, go for high-quality coffee if you choose to go decaf.

Note that you will also come across problems such as nutritional deficiencies when using decaf. If you want to reduce caffeine-induced acne, you can try other ways to start your morning. How about water?


Taking coffee might be a great way to start the day, but it is not without its effects. From heightening your stress levels to triggering changes in your gut, it can have many unpleasant effects.

The best way to deal with acne is to quit coffee consumption. Withdrawal symptoms will hit you hard if you try quitting coffee in a short time. Take it one day at a time until you manage to go a day without that boost.

From here, you can tell if the coffee was the only reason to blame. You will likely need to make other changes to your diet and lifestyle to be free of acne.