Sunscreen is an important part of a healthy skin care routine! Caffeinated sunscreens are on the rise in popularity due to newfound benefits of topically applied caffeine. Caffeine is known for being a mental stimulant, but it also has antioxidant capabilities that make it beneficial to the skin and a good additive for sunscreen.
Importance of Sunscreen
The application of sunscreen is used as a preventative measure to protect against UVA and UVB-induced photodamage. Exposure to sunlight causes sunburns, photoaging, and can ultimately cause skin cancer by damaging DNA. Sunlight exposure that turns the skin red or even just enough to tan causes damage to melanocytes and keratinocytes (skin cells). Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Sunscreens are able to block specific wavelengths of light that are responsible for sunburn and help to prevent against damage to DNA and skin cells. The SPF of a sunscreen is the “sun protection factor” which indicates the effectiveness in blocking UVB rays. It is recommended to use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily.
Benefits of Caffeinated Sunscreen
Some companies have started to include caffeine in their sunscreen formulations, because of some of the benefits of topically applied caffeine.
Caffeine has antioxidant capabilities
Caffeine is known to act as an antioxidant because it has free-radical scavenging abilities. Antioxidants are naturally occurring in plant-based substances. They neutralize molecules called free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress (damage) to cells. Antioxidants help to stabilize free radicals and protect against damage to our DNA, cells, and tissues. The damage from oxidative stress can cause signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines, as well as more serious conditions like cancer. The addition of caffeine to sunscreens may be able to help prevent oxidative stress caused by sun exposure.
Caffeine protects against ultraviolet light damage
Studies have found that caffeine has a sunscreen-like effect and has the ability to reduce UVB damage when it is applied prior to sun exposure. A study performed on mice found that when caffeine was applied before sun exposure the number of molecular sunburn lesions (thymine dimer lesions) was reduced.
Caffeine helps to eliminate sun-damaged cells
The same study from above found that when caffeine was applied topically to mice after UVB sun exposure it helped to eliminate cells that had already been damaged. They found that the application of caffeine helped to stimulate apoptosis, which is controlled cell death of cells that are damaged. Increased apoptosis at a site of sun damage is beneficial, because it eliminates dangerous, mutagenic skin cells that have the potential to go on to become skin cancer.
Caffeinated Sunscreen Products
Some caffeinated sunscreen products are also referred to as antioxidant sunscreens and may have other sources of antioxidants in their formulations.
- Pacifica Brand – The Pacifica Brand can be found in supermarkets like Target or beauty brand stores. Some of their sunscreen formulations contain caffeine including their Mineral Sunscreen Coconut Probiotic. They claim that it is 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free and that it helps to hydrate while protecting the skin.
- PCA Skin Brand – The PCA Skin Perfecting Broad Spectrum sunscreen contains caffeine and also claims to “provide five melanogenesis inhibitors” to prevent skin cancer and hyperpigmentation of the skin.
- Paula’s Choice Skincare Brand – The RESIST Skin Restoring Moisturizer with SPF from Paula’s Choice contains caffeine along with shea butter and licorice. The product claims to be an antioxidant-rich moisturizer that can hydrate and protect the skin to help maintain a younger appearance.
- Replenix Brand – The Replenix brand produces multiple sunscreen products that contain caffeine. The Replenix Antioxidant Sunscreen Moisturizer claims to offer a hydrating sunscreen that can also perform as a makeup primer and help protect against premature aging. Replenix also has creams that contain caffeine that can be applied with sunscreen for added benefits like the Replenix Power of Three Cream that also contains resveratrol and green tea extracts.
For further reading on suns protection and the benefits of caffeine for skin, click on the article links below:
Skingredient: The Buzz About Caffeine
Can Caffeine Improve Your Workout?
The Coffee Conflict: Does Caffeine Improve or Sabotage Your Complexion?
What You Should Know About Sunscreens, Clothing, and Tanning