Can coffee cause eczema? Here’s how caffeine affects eczema!

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Can coffee make eczema worse?

Yep. In this article, I’ll show you exactly how coffee affects eczema and how it can cause flare ups.

Caffeine is the most widely consumed mind-altering drug globally. People drink it out of habit, for the taste, to boost their energy, or for creativity.

Over 85% of adults in the U.S. consume caffeine regularly through beverages like coffee or tea. Children also consume a significant amount of caffeine through sodas and energy drinks.

Despite the absence of direct evidence linking coffee as a substance to the exacerbation of eczema, its indirect effects on the skin condition cannot be overlooked…

How does coffee affect eczema?

While coffee itself does not directly cause eczema, its consumption can impact several bodily processes—such as sleep patterns, stress hormone levels, hydration, and potentially expose individuals to allergens and irritants like mycotoxins from mold and pesticide residues.

These factors collectively suggest that while coffee might not be a direct trigger for eczema, its broader implications on health and well-being can create conditions that may indirectly exacerbate or influence the severity of eczema in sensitive individuals.

Here’s 5 ways in which coffee affects eczema:

1. Coffee disrupts sleep, consequently slowing down eczema healing

Caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee, can significantly disrupt sleep patterns.

It works by blocking the action of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep, leading to decreased sleep quality and duration.

Poor sleep can weaken the immune system and has been linked to increased stress and inflammation in the body, which can exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema.

Restful sleep is crucial for managing eczema symptoms effectively.

2. Caffeine’s Interaction with Adenosine

What other direct effects does caffeine have on skin health?

Caffeine’s ability to block adenosine receptors not only affects sleep but also influences the skin’s health.

Adenosine has anti-inflammatory properties, and its blockade can lead to increased inflammation in the body.

This inflammatory response can play a role in triggering eczema flare-ups or worsening existing conditions.

For infants susceptible to eczema, even small amounts of caffeine passed through breast milk may contribute to skin irritation and inflammation, highlighting the importance of moderating coffee intake during breastfeeding.

Drinking coffee increases the production of stress hormones such as cortisol.

High cortisol levels can weaken the immune system, increase inflammation, and impair the skin’s barrier function.

This can lead to dry, irritated skin, making it more susceptible to eczema flare-ups.

In breastfeeding infants, the exposure to increased cortisol levels through breast milk may similarly affect their skin health, suggesting that mothers who consume coffee might inadvertently contribute to their child’s eczema severity.

4. Coffee and Skin Dehydration

Coffee is a diuretic, which means it can lead to increased urination and potentially cause dehydration if adequate water is not consumed to offset the loss.

Proper hydration is vital for maintaining healthy skin, as it supports skin elasticity and barrier function.

When the body is dehydrated, the skin can become more dry and prone to irritation, which can exacerbate eczema symptoms.

Breastfeeding mothers need to be particularly mindful of their hydration levels, as their hydration status can impact milk production and, indirectly, their baby’s skin health.

Coffee and Skin Dehydration

5. Mold in coffee can trigger eczema flare up

Whatever its benefits, why can coffee aggravate eczema?

Beyond the direct effects of caffeine on sleep patterns, stress hormones, and hydration levels…

There is another layer to consider in the relationship between coffee consumption and eczema, particularly concerning the presence of molds in coffee.

Coffee beans, especially those used in decaf coffee, can harbor high levels of molds due to the moist environments they are often stored in.

Caffeine acts as a natural inhibitor of mold growth, which means decaffeinated coffee is more susceptible to mold contamination.

These molds produce mycotoxins, which are toxic compounds known to cause allergic reactions and liver irritation, potentially exacerbating conditions like eczema, especially in individuals with heightened sensitivities.

The impact of mycotoxins on the liver can further complicate matters, as the liver plays a critical role in detoxifying the body and managing inflammation.

An overwhelmed or irritated liver can struggle to effectively manage inflammation, possibly leading to an increased risk of eczema flare-ups.

This concern adds another dimension to the advisability of coffee consumption for breastfeeding mothers, highlighting the importance of choosing high-quality, mold-free coffee options to minimize potential adverse effects on both their health and that of their breastfeeding infant.

Eczema and Coffee Quality

The quality of coffee and its impact on health, particularly for conditions like eczema, is a significant concern, with the use of pesticides in coffee farming coming under scrutiny.

Coffee is among the most heavily traded commodities globally, and to meet demand, some farming practices involve the extensive use of chemical pesticides.

These substances can leave residues on coffee beans, which may contribute to adverse health effects, including potential exacerbation of eczema. Studies and reports have indicated varying levels of pesticide residues in coffee, with non-organic varieties generally presenting higher levels due to conventional farming methods.

According to the Environmental Working Group, certain pesticides commonly used in agriculture have been linked to skin irritation and other health issues, which could theoretically worsen eczema symptoms in sensitive individuals.

Organic coffee, cultivated without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, offers a lower-risk alternative, potentially reducing the exposure to these chemicals. Although direct statistics linking coffee pesticide residues to eczema flares are scarce, the broader health implications of pesticide exposure suggest a cautious approach to selecting coffee, especially for those with skin sensitivities or conditions like eczema.

Opting for organic coffee varieties can be a proactive step towards minimizing potential triggers and managing eczema more effectively.

Can coffee cause eczema in breastfed babies?

When discussing the impact of coffee on eczema in breastfed babies, it’s essential to understand the indirect relationship between a mother’s diet and her baby’s health.

While direct evidence specifically linking coffee consumption by the mother to the development or exacerbation of eczema in breastfed babies is limited, caffeine is a substance that can be passed to the baby through breast milk.

The key concern is not coffee itself but rather how caffeine might affect the baby.

For breastfeeding mothers, the caffeine consumed can be transferred to the baby through breast milk, potentially affecting the infant’s sleep and cause irritability.

If a breastfeeding mother consumes a significant amount of coffee, the resulting slight dehydration could affect the quality of her breast milk, potentially reducing its hydrating benefits for the infant.

This reduction in hydration can make it more challenging to keep the infant’s skin properly moisturized, possibly leading to more frequent or severe eczema outbreaks.

If a breastfeeding mother notices a correlation between her coffee consumption and changes in her baby’s eczema condition, it might be worth making dietary adjustments.

“Avoiding Coffee Cured My Eczema”


In a story shared by Christmas Hutchinson on a website called Medium.com, she told us about how stopping drinking coffee made her skin feel better. Hutchinson, a social coffee drinker by habit, found herself inadvertently quitting coffee due to a change in routine over the Thanksgiving holiday. Without the daily corporate ritual of joining coworkers for coffee, she noticed a significant improvement in her eczema symptoms, particularly the smoothness of the skin on her legs where eczema flares were common.

Initially skeptical, Hutchinson decided to extend her coffee-free period to ten days, during which her skin condition noticeably improved. This period of abstention led her to ponder the potential link between coffee intake and liver function, a connection she recalled from a documentary, suggesting that skin issues could reflect liver health. The theory seemed plausible when, upon resuming coffee consumption, her eczema flared up once again, solidifying her suspicion that coffee might be the culprit behind her skin issues.

So, Christmas decided maybe it was better for her to not drink coffee anymore. She shared her story to show us that sometimes, trying something small, like not drinking coffee, can make a big difference in how we feel.

Quitting coffee for eczema—how to make a caffeine detox?

So, what would happen if you didn’t consume any caffeine for 30 days?

Symptoms not commonly associated with caffeine, like anxiety, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, fluid loss, and digestive issues such as gastritis, can all stem from caffeine intake.

Embarking on a caffeine detox can be a strategic move for individuals dealing with eczema, aiming to mitigate any potential exacerbation linked to coffee consumption.

For those considering this path, adopting a gradual approach to quitting caffeine is advisable to minimize the impact of withdrawal.

  1. Begin by slowly reducing your coffee intake, then transition to alternatives like matcha tea, which contains roughly half the caffeine content of coffee.
  2. The next step involves switching to herbal teas, which offer a minimal to non-existent caffeine level, facilitating a smoother adjustment for the body.

This incremental reduction in caffeine consumption helps avoid the harsher withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, mood swings, and irritability, making the detoxification process more manageable.

To further alleviate withdrawal discomforts, exploring herbal coffee substitutes and incorporating supplements like vitamins B1 and B12 can be beneficial.

Additionally, adaptogens such as ashwagandha or soothing lemon balm tea may assist in moderating the body’s stress response, easing the transition away from caffeine.

For many individuals, particularly those who consume high amounts of caffeine and suffer adverse effects, undertaking a caffeine detox can be a rewarding endeavor.

The potential for improved eczema management and overall health benefits makes the effort to quit caffeine a worthwhile consideration for those affected by this skin condition.

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