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Can Coffee Cause Acne?


According to the British Medical Journal, acne can be exacerbated in some patients by fizzy drinks, chocolate, nuts, and coffee.  Most studies have concluded that these foods do not cause acne and in only a few cases made the acne worse, which could have been due to an individual sensitivity to a food or an overlap of the skin condition rosacea.

The best advice that can be substituted for any food product that you believe is exacerbating your condition comes from dermatologist Dr. Doris J. Day in her book, 100 Questions & Answers about Acne, “If you think the chocolate makes you break out, don’t eat the chocolate”.

ABC of Dermatology: Acne and Rosacea.” British Medical Journal

What Are the Health Benefits of Coffee?

Though coffee may exacerbate acne breakouts in sensitive individuals it does have many health benefits. Research has shown thus far that coffee is rich in antioxidants, and may contribute to lowering one’s risk of a number of diseases, including diabetes mellitus, multiple cancer lines, cirrhosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. Coffee has also been found to combat nausea and restore one’s appetite during illness or heavy labor, and the caffeine in coffee can help to treat headaches. Research hasn’t yet conclusively pin-pointed exactly which components in coffee are beneficial but point out that as well as being  rich in antioxidants it contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium.

What Are the Health Risks of Coffee?

Coffee, in excess, like most products consumed has some health risks. Caffeine is a stimulant and in excess will increase heart rate and increase blood pressure and can lead to arrhythmias including premature ventricular contractions, but these are usually mild and self limiting. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee will worsen (or even cause) gastric reflux and heartburn, and in severe cases can contribute to ulcer formation. Of course, anything added to black coffee adds calories and can lead to weight gain.



Buxton, PK. “ABC of Dermatology: Acne and Rosacea.” British Medical Journal 296.1 (1988): 41. Print.

Day M.D., Doris J.. 100 Questions & Answers about Acne . Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2005. Print

Butt, MS, and MT Sultan. “Coffee and Its Consumption: Benefits and Risks.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 51.4 (2011): 363-373. Print.

Ross, G. Webster, Robert D. Abbott, Helen Petrovitch, and David M. Morens. “Association of Coffee and Caffeine Intake With the Risk of Parkinson Disease .” The Journal of the American Medical Association 283.20 (2000): 2674-2679. Print.

“Arch Intern Med — Abstract: Coffee, Cirrhosis, and Transaminase Enzymes, June 12, 2006, Klatsky et al. 166 (11): 1190.” Archives of Internal Medicine, a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by AMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2011.

“Health Benefits of Coffee – WebMD.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2011. <>.

“Migraines, Headaches, and Caffeine.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2011. <>.

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