Bodycare that means business is one of this year’s major trends, with lauded and long-proven skincare actives making the leap from face creams to body butters and serums in a big way.
It’s hardly surprising. We know what ingredients such as vitamin c, retinol and hyaluronic acid can do for our face, reliably returning its glow, bounce and smoothness. So why shouldn’t we treat our limbs with the same care and respect? If the skin you’re in is healthy, it’s hard not feel like a million quid. With regular use, a body lotion rich in, say, niacinamide and potent antioxidants can restore skin density and elasticity all over, turning limbs silken, toned and flaunt-worthy.
The caffeine conundrum
But there is an ingredient in skincare that’s so far been undervalued – or we should say ‘underused’. It’s not that caffeine hasn’t been around in beauty products for ages. In fact, it’s long been a mainstay in de-puffing eye gels and ‘toning’ body creams, and even in ‘hair-thickening’ shampoos.
In recent years, it’s had a bit of a moment for all the wrong reasons, such as coffee scrubs, which although exfoliate well they can not provide any caffeine into the skin, as we will see below.
You see, caffeine has proven lipolytic and circulation-boosting benefits, meaning it helps release excess fat out of fat cells and relieve fluid retention in and below the skin. In theory, this could mean smoother, tighter skin, with less visible cellulite, the latter being largely an issue to do with stagnant fluids and protruding local fat deposits.
But topical caffeine is of no use if it isn’t delivered into the skin properly, and therein lies the problem: it rarely is. Ground coffee may be rich in caffeine, but the compound has no way of penetrating the skin if it’s not extracted from its source and formulated into a lotion designed to defy the skin’s primary function as a barrier to all comers. Secondly, a high concentration of caffeine is required for a product to have any kind of effect. And lastly, it’s a compound that’s vastly more effective when combined with synergistic ingredients found alongside caffeine in its natural sources, such as coffee beans and tea leaves.
How to make caffeine work
For a caffeine cream to pack a smoothing, skin-energising punch, you want high levels of caffeine in a liposomal delivery system – liposomes being tiny lipid bubbles that ferry actives through the different skin layers. You want to see many of the same polyphenols (plant chemicals that protect and fortify our tissues and blood vessels), such as EGCG and chlorogenic acid, that coffee and tea plants boast. And you want added botanical extracts that supercharge the function of caffeine in the skin: look for curcumin (from turmeric), esculin (from horse chestnut) and, most importantly, forskolin (from the Indian coleus plant).
Caffeine & forskolin:
the energiser bunnies of skincare actives
Long used in medicine, forskolin mimics noradrenaline in the body, increasing heart rate and circulation in the same way exercise or jumping in some ice-cold water does. In a caffeine-rich cream, the two power plants complement each other in converting fat into fatty acids, which are released from fat cells and to be metabolised by the body (meaning: converted into useful energy, as opposed to being stored under the skin and looking puffy). Result: fatty deposits shrink, stagnant fluids are drained, and skin looks sleeker.
That’s how you get a topical cream that with continued use really does give you firmer, glowing, more energised skin on your legs – and with less cellulite too. It’s all packed in the Celluence® Legs creams, developed by London’s cellulite specialists, LipoTherapeia.
Celluence® Legs cellulite/leg wellness creams
• £39 for 100ml or £132 for 4x 100ml (6x week recommended course)
• Available direct from LipoTherapeia,
How to use
- Shake well before each use and apply as follows:, up to a total of 12 pumps per day:
- Front of legs & inner thighs, 1-2 pumps per side, once or twice a day
- Back of legs, outer legs & buttocks, 1-2 pumps per side, once or twice a day
- Calves, 1 pump per side, once or twice a day
- Stomach & waist, 1-2 pumps per side, once or twice a day
- Arms, 1 pump per side, once or twice a day
- Upper back “bra area”, 1 pump per side, once or twice a day
- Rub lightly for a maximum of 60 seconds, until all cream is absorbed
- Wait for 5 minutes before getting dressed
- Ideal for use post-exercise, after having a shower
- Do not apply excessive amount of cream. More is not always better. Frequent and continued use is preferred.
- Regular massage on the affected areas is helpful, but not essential
- The technique is very simple: Start with long upward strokes
- Continue with kneading skin (not the muscles) as you would knead dough
- Continue with rolling the skin with your fingers
- Finish with more long upward strokes
- Five to thirty minutes are recommended, daily or 2-3 times a week
- Strong pressure is better but do not overdo it, as you will bruise your skin
- Dry brushing after shower or using a loofah in the shower will enhance cream absorption but can not replace the hand massage and, to avoid skin irritation,
- Should not last more than five minutes and should not be too vigorous
Do not use on the face and sensitive/intimate areas or broken/irritated skin. Wash your hands thoroughly after use and do not touch your eyes after applying. In the event of contact with the eye wash with copious volumes of water.
For maximum freshness and efficacy, use the whole bottle within a month after opening (within six months at the latest)
Do not use before sunbathing. In the unlikely event of irritation discontinue use. You can use after sunbathing, after having a shower.
For sensitive people a patch test is recommended, whereby you apply a small quantity of cream on a small skin surface and wait up to 48 hours before using the cream over larger areas
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