Last month, my sister-in-law started selling spa products that sometimes contain caffeine. I told her that I didn’t want to buy any products that contained caffeine, even though I was sure they were wonderful and did exactly what they promised. She asked me why. Why no caffeine? Here’s my answer.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a stimulant. It is classified as a “psychoactive drug,” according to Wikipedia. It gives you a boost when you need it, whether morning, noon or night. Many people cannot begin a day without it and, those that can, normally have some other form of it later in the day.
In facial products, caffeine can plumpen the appearance of the skin. This causes wrinkles to decrease, lips to look fuller, and cellulite to visibly decrease. It is a temporary effect, but you should see results as long as you keep using the product.
As a naturally occurring ingredient, it is common to find caffeine in many foods and beverages. This is because plants use caffeine as a natural pesticide. Isn’t that an interesting thought? This natural item is used to kill other creatures, yet we ingest it. The most popular sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, soda/energy drinks, some medicines, and chocolate.
When you decide to quit, or sometimes even reduce your caffeine intake, headaches are likely. I think it’s rational to infer that it (or maybe the vessel in which you receive it) is addictive. Because let me tell you, if I don’t eat an apple today, my body is not going to hurt. I’m not going to have any headaches or daydreams about having that apple. Nope. My day will be just fine. So what does it say that this food or beverage item has such control over us?
What does caffeine do?
Caffeine prevents the onset of drowsiness and stimulates certain portions of the nervous system. It perks you up to start your day and keeps you going when you need a boost. Red Bull would tell you that it gives you wings.
However, it can also (possibly) be a diuretic. When I started trying to reduce the amount of soda I drank, I read an article that told me that for every soda I drank, I needed to drink that same amount of water to balance the diuretic effects. That meant if I drank a can of Coke, I needed to drink that much in water just to be at 0 in terms of water consumption for the day! It got to the point that I quit drinking as much soda because it was exhausting to drink enough water to get my soda and my daily 64 ounces of water.
Caffeine can have positive health effects, though. Wikipedia says, “It can treat and prevent the premature infant breathing disorders bronchopulmonary dysplasia of prematurity and apnea of prematurity. Caffeine citrate is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines. It may confer a modest protective effect against some diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and certain types of cancer. One meta-analysis concluded that cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease and stroke is less likely with 3–5 cups of non-decaffeinated coffee per day but more likely with over 5 cups per day. Some people experience insomnia or sleep disruption if they consume caffeine, especially during the evening hours, but others show little disturbance. Evidence of a risk during pregnancy is equivocal; some authorities recommend that pregnant women limit consumption to the equivalent of two cups of coffee per day or less. ”
On a personal note, I swear that when the barometer changes, my sinuses go crazy. I start getting a headache and I feel a ton of sinus pressure. When this happens, my go-to cure is a warm can of Coke. In my opinion, the caffeine gives my sinuses a pick me up and, no joke, I feel tons better immediately!
How much caffeine is okay?
The Mayo Clinic says, “Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two ‘energy shot’ drinks.”
Also, the Mayo Clinic points out that children should have no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day, and people who are sensitive to caffeine or taking certain medication might also want to reduce their intake. Wikipedia has a more conservative view, suggesting that children 10-12 only have 85 mg a day.
Have you heard about the caffeine bracelet?
No joke, this is a thing. Beyond Nature has released a caffeine bracelet called Perk. A Perk bracelet and 30 patches cost $30, with replacement packs also being $30. The caffeine patches work similarly to nicotine patches, delivering caffeine through your skin. The intent of the bracelet is to provide focus and energy, as opposed to a jolt. If you’d like to read some more about this bracelet and one person’s opinion about her trial, click here to go to the Business Insider’s website.
In my opinion, there is not difinitive proof either way to say whether caffeine is good and helpful, or addictive and detrimental. This is probably because so many factors are dependent upon the individual. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for others. However, for me, I don’t think I need to put it on my face.
Here is a fun little video about people giving up caffeine for a week. I’m so proud of them for not using curse words.
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Have you ever given up caffeine? How did it go? Tell me below in the comments.
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