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Does Coffee Really Cause Acne?

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You’ve probably heard chocolate, French fries, and certain other foods can contribute to pimples on the face, but coffee doesn’t often make the list. Although it isn’t a well-known acne trigger, I want to warn you that your favorite morning pick-me-up isn’t doing any favors for your skin.



Extra Stress on Your Body

Coffee makes your adrenal glands hyper-reactive so they release more cortisol, testosterone, and other stress hormones than they normally would. One study found that when facing stress, coffee drinkers actually produced over 200 percent more cortisol than non-coffee drinkers.

And why is this a bad news?

Because elevated cortisol levels are directly linked to the development of acne.

Stress hormones also raise your insulin levels, which leads to excess production of oil, dead skin cells, and increased inflammation. The result is more clogged pores and redness.

Drinking coffee close to a meal interferes with your body’s absorption of essential minerals such as zinc, selenium, and iron that are critical for healthy skin.

Coffee can also disrupt your gut flora, leading to an overgrowth of bad bacteria. This causes low-level inflammation throughout your body, which will increase the redness and swelling of acne.

A Bad Influence on Your Diet

Not only does coffee have negative effects on your body, but it’s also an unhealthy influence on your diet.

By increasing your level of stress hormones, coffee leaves you craving sugary, salty, and high-carbohydrate foods. These are precisely the foods that trigger breakouts.

The way you drink your coffee matters, too. I know those fancy lattes and macchiatos taste great, but they’re also loaded with sugar and dairy, both of which are known acne triggers.

If you struggle with acne, my recommendation would be to reduce your coffee intake to max one cup a day or replace it completely with healthier alternatives such as green tea. Start by cutting out the sugary coffee drinks and replace dairy with almond milk or coconut milk.

Giving up caffeine is not easy and your body might need some time to adjust. If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, try supplementing your diet with the amino acids L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine.

I want to emphasize that neither coffee nor any specific food directly causes breakouts. It is usually a combination of diet, lifestyle and the use of certain skin care products that will lead to the development of acne.

When it comes to clearing up acne it is not a one size fits all approach. Because the causes and triggers of acne are different in every individual it is important to work with a specialist who can guide you through the process and recommend the right solutions for your individual skin type.

Related articles:

How Hormones Affect Acne in Middle-Aged Women

Does Dairy Cause Acne


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© 2016 Nikolett Ivanyi, Envision Acne Center;  For more information go to


Please note that all blog posts and content created by Envision Acne and Skincare Center are not intended to be used as medical advice or as a substitute for it and are designed for your information and educational awareness only. We always recommend that you consult with a medical practitioner regarding any health or skincare issues you have, as they may wish to carry out a full health assessment before recommending you to a licensed aesthetician and acne professional.


I help women clear up their acne without medications and change their life by transforming their skin.

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All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. While we are licensed estheticians we are not physicians, nutritionists or registered dietitians. This is not a substitute for any professional advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Results given in testimonials are from real customers who have used PoreInfusion products, however similar results are not guaranteed. Individual results may vary depending on skin type, sensitivity, age, and skincare history, as well as how the product is applied.

Envision Acne and Skin Care Center is not held liable or accepts any responsibility for any adverse reactions resulting directly or indirectly from the use of our products. 

Contact your medical professional immediately if you suspect you have a medical emergency.


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