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Association d'actifs cosmétiques avec la caféine.

With Which Active Ingredients Can Caffeine Be Combined?

"With what other active ingredient can this or that active ingredient be combined?" This is a question that is often asked. Indeed, while some combinations can cause skin damage (redness, tingling...), others can be beneficial. Here is a list of active ingredients with which caffeine can be combined to improve the effect.

Combining Caffeine With Other Active Ingredients To Enhance the Effect

When you combine several active ingredients in a cosmetic formula, you can not only achieve a more comprehensive effect, but also enhance the effect of an active ingredient and benefit from several advantages. Caffeine is no exception.

  • Caffeine and hyaluronic acid: a formula that combines hyaluronic acid and caffeine provides an awake and refreshed look. The addition of hyaluronic acid helps to replenish and reduce dryness lines around the eyes, long-term. Thus, this mixture moisturizes the skin and improves its elasticity. Caffeine, in turn, protects the fine skin under the eyes from free radicals, preventing skin aging.

  • Caffeine and other draining active ingredients: In anti-cellulite or eye care products, combining caffeine with draining active ingredients such as guarana extract (INCI: Paullinia Cupana Seed Extract), holly extract (INCI: Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract), ivy extract (INCI: Hedera Helix Leaf Extract), etc. can lead to improved drainage. In other words, these active ingredients facilitate the elimination of accumulations of free fatty acids after lipolysis. This accumulation in the dermis and epidermis is responsible for the dark coloration around the eyes, promotes decongestion of the eye area and counteracts water retention.

  • Caffeine and its natural derivatives: to complement the impact of caffeine and enhance the lipolytic effect, it can be combined in the same cosmetic formula with plant extracts naturally rich in native caffeine, such as tea extract (INCI: Camelia Sinensis Leaf Extract) with teein, yerba mate extract (INCI: Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract) with matein, guarana extract with guaranine.... This combination will thus promote the hydrolysis of triglycerides accumulated in adipocytes into free oily fatty acids and allow to soften the appearance of cellulite.

  • Caffeine and niacinamide: In addition to its lipolytic and stimulating properties, caffeine is able to reduce and prevent inflammatory reactions and skin redness. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of caffeine can be significantly increased by combining it with other anti-inflammatory agents, such as niacinamide.

  • Caffeine and antioxidants (glucoside of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), vitamin C, ferulic acid): This combination makes it possible to enhance the antioxidant action of a care product, since these molecules both act on free radicals. It is therefore used to protect the skin from the signs of premature aging and brighten the complexion.

  • Caffeine and Retinol: Caffeine is also believed to have an antioxidant effect. Retinol, in turn, provides a firming effect on the skin. This formula allows the skin to benefit from the "anti-aging" potential of these active ingredients. This combination is particularly in demand to tighten the skin and regain a supple and strengthened skin.

Caffeine and Vitamin K, a Combination That Seems Promising for Dark Circles Under the Eyes

A 2015 study evaluated the use of 3% caffeine combined with 1% vitamin K in an emu oil base on the eye area. More specifically, an in vivo trial evaluated the efficacy of this combination of ingredients against wrinkles and dark circles on the right eye area of 11 women over a four-week period. The study was controlled and compared to a placebo consisting of water applied under the left eye.

Caffeine is known to both tighten capillaries and increase overall blood flow in the skin – effects that could improve the appearance of the eye area. It also helps neutralize skin-damaging free radicals that can cause collagen breakdown and lead to wrinkles. Vitamin K, in turn, helps to strengthen capillary walls and reduce the visibility of blood vessels through the thin skin under the eyes.

After four weeks, the skin around the right eye had experienced a reduction in the depth of wrinkles and dark circles in all subjects, and from a subjective point of view, the appearance and elasticity of the skin had improved. Thus, the clinical study indicated that the application of the active formulation had a cumulative effect on hydration, pigmentation and elasticity, improving the appearance of the eye area.

Note: Emu oil is able to pass through the dermis and protect cells from dehydration. This is due to its high levels of unsaturated fatty acids (linolenic acid, oleic acid), which improve the structure and function of cell membranes and the skin's barrier function.

What are the limitations of this study?

However, these results must be considered with caution. In fact, the effect of this formula is far from certain. In fact, the data presented shows a large variability illustrated by long confidence intervals, suggesting that the values are more scattered and there is a large uncertainty in the measurements presented. In addition, the study was conducted on only 11 subjects. Although the results appear encouraging regarding the corrective effect of caffeine on wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes, further research is needed to confirm the effect.


  • SHATALEBI M. A. & al. Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base. Advanced Biomedical Research (2015).


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