Who doesn’t love freshly exfoliated skin? Hint: this girl (pointing at myself). While I’m definitely not a fan of dry, itchy skin, most exfoliators are a little too harsh and only make my sensitive skin woes worse. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’ve found myself exfoliating more than usual lately.
Rather than buying an off-the-shelf exfoliator, I like to whip up my own coffee scrub to tackle the flakes. This particular coffee scrub is made from upcycled coffee grounds, so there’s no need to rush out and buy a lot of supplies. And it’s chock full of ingredients that help take care of pesky problems like scars, cellulite, and sun damage.
Coffee Scrub for Scars, Cellulite, and Sun Damage
Coffee is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants [source] that help soothe and heal irritated skin. And even though we recommend used grounds, they still contain enough micronutrients to benefit skin without causing adverse effects.
Here are some other reasons we love using coffee in homemade body scrubs:
Gentle on skin
Unlike a lot of other scrubs, coffee grounds are ever so slightly abrasive (perfect for gently tackling flakes), and used coffee grounds are mild enough to use all over the body.
While some folks say coffee scrubs should never be used on the face, I disagree! Lots of commercial coffee exfoliators say they’re perfectly fine on sensitive facial skin. Just be gentle, make sure it’s super finely ground, and use a light touch. But if you’d prefer to be safe, then skip the face and use this scrub on the body only.
Caffeine stimulates blood flow and tones skin
But it’s not just for revitalizing dry skin; the caffeine in coffee helps stimulate blood flow and prevents excess accumulation of fat cells [source]. By boosting circulation and keeping fat cells at bay, it’s said to improve the appearance of cellulite.
While coffee may not completely get rid of the cellulite, it should at the very least make cellulite less noticeable. Either way, it might be worth a shot if it means getting those winter legs bikini ready.
Antioxidants protect against sun damage
Coffee is loaded with a variety of antioxidants, including chlorogenic, ferulic, caffeic, and n-coumaric acids [source]. Whether ingested or used topically, antioxidants work to neutralize free radical damage caused by the sun. I add vitamin E oil to my scrub to boost the coffee’s natural antioxidant protection, encourage healing, and fade scars.
Coffee Scrub DIY Recipe
In addition to coffee and vitamin E oil, I also like to toss in some sea salt to tackle scaly skin and fight breakouts. Coconut oil softens and hydrates skin. And essential oils repair damaged skin and give the skin a fresh scent.
I love frankincense [source] and neroli [source] essential oils for the skin-boosting benefits, but you can’t go wrong with just about any essential oils you have on hand. Feel free to experiment with different oils until you wind up with a scent you love.
And just a note on coffee grounds: leftover grounds are still chock full of caffeine and antioxidants, which leave skin looking perky and toned, but unused coffee grounds will last longer and contain more caffeine. If you have sensitive skin like I do, just make sure to grind the coffee into a soft, powder-like consistency to prevent further irritation.
Now, if you’re ready, here’s how to make your own coffee scrub!
Coffee Scrub FAQs
How long does homemade coffee scrub last?
This really depends on whether you use fresh or used coffee grounds.
Used grounds are already wet, so they’ll get moldy in a matter of days.
But fresh, unused coffee grounds can last a lot longer. As long as you’re careful not to get any water in your scrub, it should last for a few weeks without the need for refrigeration. To be safe, I recommend making a fresh batch every 2 weeks. But as long as you don’t notice an “off” smell or visible mold, you can try keeping it longer. You can always extend the shelf life by storing leftovers in the refrigerator.
Can a coffee scrub remove blackheads?
Yes, coffee grounds are amazing at removing the built-up oil, dirt, and debris that often cause blackheads.
Does coffee brighten skin?
By boosting circulation and improving skin tone and texture, coffee may make your skin appear brighter, at least for a little while. But it probably won’t whiten skin or remove discoloration.
Can I use decaf coffee for my scrub?
While you won’t get the cellulite-busting benefits of caffeine, decaf coffee will still make a great exfoliant. And if that’s all you have on hand, go for it.
Can I use a coffee scrub every day?
Even gentle scrubs can break down your skin’s natural protective barrier, so I don’t recommend using it every day. It’s best to limit it to 2–3 days a week. And if you notice any redness or irritation, use it less often.
DIY Coffee Scrub for Scars, Cellulite, and Sun Damage
- Small bowl
- Glass jar with lid
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- To use, apply a small amount to damp skin, and lightly massage to remove flakes and improve skin tone and texture.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who practices adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment, and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.196