Ingredient Spotlight on Coffee Oil

Benjamin Franklin may have said that the only certainties in this world are death and taxes, but I can build a strong case to add coffee to that list. Coffee seems unavoidable here in Seattle—the birthplace of Starbucks and countless independent roasters. Has your day really begun without first enjoying a cup of coffee? I know mine hasn’t.

Coffee inhabits an equally ubiquitous space in the realm of beauty. Coffee scrubs remain perennially popular for body care, and it seems like a new caffeine-laden facial product gets launched every year with promises of tightening and toning. I’m skeptical of some of these claims, but emerging research shows real promise for a newer application in skincare: coffee oil.

What is coffee oil?

Much the same way that other non-fragrant plant oils are expressed from olive seeds, sunflower seeds, and avocado pits, coffee oil is extracted from the seeds of coffee plants—the raw, unroasted coffee beans. The resulting oil contains a hefty dose of exceptionally potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Gram for gram, these raw coffee beans are one of the richest plant sources of antioxidants.

What does coffee oil do?

The research on coffee oil is relatively new, but compelling. Coffee oil is an abundant source of a group of polyphenols called chlorogenic acids. These powerful antioxidants fight free radical damage—a primary cause of fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of tone. Coffee oil has also demonstrated an ability to improve skin’s moisture retention. When applied topically, it can help smooth and replenish dull, damaged skin.

As coffee oil’s popularity takes off, I’m excited to see more robust data in on this promising new ingredient. It’s great news for people like me to want to bolster their skin health with antioxidants, but may be sensitive to more conventional ingredients like vitamin C. I look forward to seeing more of it in the future!