focus on topical caffeine

Written by on November 8, 2006 in Rosacea Fact Sheets, Rosacea Topicals with 1 Comment

As we are seeing topical products that promote caffeine or caffeine extracts, it is interesting to consider if and how there are any possible benefits for rosacea sufferers. Here are some published articles detailing possible benefits of topical caffeine ;

Evaluation of the efficacy of topical caffeine in the treatment of psoriasis vulgaris. J Dermatolog Treat. 2005;16(4):234-7, Vali A, Asilian A, Khalesi E, Khoddami L, Shahtalebi M, Mohammady M.

BACKGROUND: Psoriasis is a common disease which often requires long-term maintenance therapy. In psoriatic epidermis, the level of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) decreases. It has been reported that beta-blockers exacerbate existing psoriatic plaque and decrease the concentration of intracellular cAMP. Caffeine is a methylxanthine that inhibits phosphodiesterase enzyme and results in a higher concentration of intracellular cAMP.

OBJECTIVE: Evaluation of the efficacy of topical caffeine 10% in the treatment of psoriasis.

CONCLUSION: Based on the results of the trial, topical caffeine is an effective, safe and inexpensive treatment for psoriasis, with a delay in action.

Caffeic acid suppresses UVB radiation-induced expression of interleukin-10 and activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases in mouse. Carcinogenesis. 2006 Sep;27(9):1803-11. Epub 2006 Mar 8, Staniforth V, Chiu LT, Yang NS.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation present in sunlight causes sustained immune suppression, photocarcinogenesis and photoaging in humans. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) plays a critical role in UVB-induced immune suppression by inhibiting cell-mediated immune reactions. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) have been implicated in UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis. Caffeic acid (CA), a phenolic acid present in many dietary plants has been shown to confer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. In this study, we evaluated the protective effects of CA against UVB radiation-induced IL-10 expression and phosphorylation of MAPKs in mouse skin. An in vivo transgenic IL-10 promoter-luciferase-reporter gene based assay revealed that CA inhibits the transcriptional activation of UVB-induced IL-10 promoter. This was further confirmed by significant inhibition of UVB radiation-induced IL-10 mRNA expression and protein production by CA in mouse skin. Contact hypersensitivity assay showed that CA could attenuate the local immune suppression induced by UVB radiation against a hapten, dinitrofluorobenzene. Our results indicated that CA might inhibit IL-10 production by interfering with an early step, prostaglandin E(2) synthesis, in the activation of UVB-induced immune suppressive cytokine cascade. CA also significantly inhibited the UVB-induced activation of MAPK signal transduction pathways, such as extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase, c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and the downstream transcription factors activator protein-1 and nuclear factor-kappa B. The findings of our study suggest that CA may confer significant protection against UVB-induced immune suppression and photocarcinogenesis in vivo and provide the possible underlying molecular basis for its actions. Therefore, CA may have therapeutic potential as a topical protective agent against the deleterious effects of UVB radiation.

Caffeine and caffeine sodium benzoate have a sunscreen effect, enhance UVB-induced apoptosis, and inhibit UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 mice, Carcinogenesis. 2006 Jul 24, Lu YP, Lou YR, Xie JG, Peng QY, Zhou S, Lin Y, Shih WJ, Conney AH.

Topical application of caffeine sodium benzoate immediately after UVB irradiation of SKH-1 mice enhanced UVB-induced apoptosis by a 2- to 3- fold greater extent than occurred after the topical application of an equimolar amount of caffeine. Although topical application of caffeine sodium benzoate or caffeine enhanced UVB-induced apoptosis, both substances were inactive on non-UVB-treated normal skin. Topical application of caffeine sodium benzoate or caffeine (each has UVB absorption properties) 0.5 hr before irradiation with a high dose of UVB decreased UVB-induced thymine dimer formation and sunburn lesions (sunscreen effect). Caffeine sodium benzoate was more active than an equimolar amount of caffeine in exerting a sunscreen effect. In additional studies, caffeine sodium benzoate strongly inhibited the formation of tumors in UVB-pretreated high risk mice and in tumor-bearing mice, and the growth of UVB-induced tumors was also inhibited. Caffeine sodium benzoate and caffeine are the first examples of compounds that have both a sunscreen effect and enhance UVB-induced apoptosis. Our studies suggest that caffeine sodium benzoate and caffeine may be good agents for inhibiting the formation of sunlight-induced skin cancer. (Supported in part by NIH Grants No. CA80759 and CA88961, as well as a State of New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research Grant 05-1976-CCR-EO).

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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1 Reader Comment

  1. andre Harris says:

    grind up a proplus (caffeine tablet) and add some lavender oil then apply to the face. on my patch test i ended up with a white circle in the middle of red on my face

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