CoffeeBerry is an extract harvested from the fruits of the coffee plant. An ample source of antioxidants, it has demonstrated the ability to both protect the skin against UV damage and to repair photoaged skin.


Grade Level of Evidence
A Multiple double-blind, controlled clinical trials.
B 1 double-blind, controlled clinical trial.
C At least 1 controlled or comparative clinical trial.
D Uncontrolled, observational, animal or in-vitro studies only.
Grade Effect Size of Effect Comments


Wrinkle treatment


Reduces fine lines and wrinkles, including crow's feet, apparently by upregulating the production of various collagens and downregulating the expression of collagen-degrading enzymes.


Skin lightening


Improved the amount of redness and brownness in the skin of the majority of participants in one study.


Enhanced barrier function


A CoffeeBerry-based regimen decreased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) more effectively than a comparator regimen in 1 study, suggesting an improved skin barrier.


Smoother skin


A CoffeeBerry-based regimen significantly improved skin roughness after 12 weeks compared to a control regimen, but a split-face study saw similar improvements in skin roughness on the side of the face treated with CoffeeBerry and the vehicle-treated side.




Was 6 to 11-fold more effective than green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E and pomegranate in an antioxidant assay.




Prevents DNA damage and restores the disruption of the skin's integrity caused by sunlight exposure.

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Table of contents:

1. Sources

CoffeeBerry is a proprietary name trademarked by VDF FutureCeuticals, an ingredients supplier.[1] It refers to an extract obtained from the whole fruit of the coffee plant Coffea arabica, which is indigenous to Ethiopia.[2] The fruit is harvested in a sub-ripened stage, when the antioxidant activity is at its peak,[1] crushed and processed specifically for its natural antioxidants.[3]

CoffeeBerry's potential for dermatologic application was first recognized at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.[4]

2. Bioavailability

The compounds of CoffeeBerry can be assumed to become at least partly bioavailable when ingested orally, since daily supplementation of CoffeeBerry capsules for 4 weeks has been observed to significantly increase total antioxidant capacity in human volunteers compared to a control group.[5]

We were not able to find any published data on the skin penetration or topical bioavailability of CoffeeBerry, and have only indirect evidence from the in vivo human studies conducted thus far, which are summarized below.

3. Effects on the skin

3.1 Antioxidant action

Once discarded by coffee growers because of its high perishability,[6] the fruit of Coffea arabica is now known to be suffused with polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid, condensed proanthocyanidins, quinic acid and ferulic acid that are reported to have antioxidant properties.[7][8]

In an oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay, CoffeeBerry formulations were comparable or superior to commercially available products containing antioxidants such as licorice and green tea extracts. In fact, CoffeeBerry outperformed green tea by ~10-fold, vitamin E by ~11-fold, vitamin C by ~8-fold, and pomegranate extract by ~6-fold.[9][3]

A formulation containing 1.5% CoffeeBerry extract has been observed to decrease the amounts of 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8OHdG) in cultures of reconstructed human epidermis,[10] one of the predominant forms of free radical-induced DNA lesions and a critical marker of oxidative stress.[11]

3.2 Photoprotection

The photoprotective effect of CoffeeBerry has been tested in cultures of reconstructed human epidermis. The cultures were left untreated or were topically treated with a formulation containing 1.5% CoffeeBerry an hour before exposure to UVB, and were harvested at 2 and 24 hours after irradiation. Histologic analysis showed that UVB exposure caused a skin disruption of the skin's integrity 2 hours post-irradiation in both treated and untreated cultures, but that a complete restoration of the skin morphology was observed at 24 hours post-irradiation only in the CoffeeBerry-treated cultures. Moreover, cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers and p53 expression were not detected in these cultures, indicating that CoffeeBerry not only restores the integrity of the skin epidermis but also protects against DNA damage caused by exposure to sunlight.[10]

A later study revealed that in the absence of irradiation, treatment of reconstructed human epidermis cultures with CoffeeBerry extract upregulated 4,286 genes after 24 hours, including those involved in inflammation and DNA repair. Among these genes were early growth response (EGR) types 1, 2 and 3, which are transcription factors involved in differentiation, mitogenesis, morphogenesis and biological rhythm control. CoffeeBerry extract modulated fewer (23) genes in UVB-irradiated cultures at the 24 hour mark, but EGR type 1, believed to be a tumour suppressor gene, was also upregulated, suggesting that it might be involved restoring the skin's integrity.[12]

Stiefel Laboratories, the original manufacturer of the RevaléSkin line of products that contains CoffeeBerry, has also published data on their clinical efficacy.

The first clinical trial was a double-blind, proof-of-concept study that sought to establish the efficacy and safety of 3 products: (1) RevaléSkin Day Cream with 1% CoffeeBerry, (2) RevaléSkin Night Cream with 1% CoffeeBerry, and (3) RevaléSkin Facial Cleanser with 0.1% CoffeeBerry. The day cream and night cream were to be used once daily in the morning and evening respectively, while the cleanser was to be used twice daily before the application of the day or night creams. 30 women aged 30 years or older and who had moderate photoaging were enrolled in the study. 20 of these women were randomized to use the CoffeeBerry products on the whole face every day for 6 weeks, and 10 were randomized to apply the CoffeeBerry products on one side of the face and their respective vehicles to the other side over the same period. According to blinded expert evaluation of photographs taken at baseline and at the end of the study, the full-face subjects showed improvements of 16% for fine lines and wrinkles, 18% for roughness and dryness, and 25% for pigmentation. For the split-face subjects, the skin treated with the CoffeeBerry products were judged to be better improved. Both sides of the face were similarly improved in terms of roughness and dryness (10% versus 9%), suggesting that only the improvements in fine lines and wrinkles (24% versus 3%) and skin pigmentation (15% versus 5%) were attributable to CoffeeBerry. Biopsies performed on 4 split-face subjects confirmed the greater improvement on the side of the face treated with the RevaléSkin products compared to the vehicle in terms of global improvement (45% versus 9%), fine lines and wrinkles (39% versus 6%) and pigment (19% versus 3%), as well as the similar changes to skin dryness and roughness (13% on both sides). They also showed an increase in collagen overall, and mild alterations to the compactness of the stratum corneum and in the organizational arrangement of the epidermal layer, that are consistent with clinically improved skin texture and reduced fine lines and wrinkles. Further, in vitro gene expression studies indicated that several collagen genes were upregulated, whereas matrix metalloproteinases 1, 13 and 15 were downregulated in keratinocytes.[3][13][14]

The second clinical trial was also double-blind and took place over 12 weeks. The same products (RevaléSkin Day Cream, RevaléSkin Night Cream and RevaléSkin Facial Cleanser) were compared to a comparator system consisting of a mild cleansing wash and a moisturizing lotion on 50 women aged 30 years and above who had moderately photodamaged skin. After 12 weeks, the investigators found statistically significant improvements in wrinkling, roughness, and global improvement among the subjects using the CoffeeBerry products versus those who were on the comparator regimen. Measurements of skin hydration through corneometry also showed that the RevaléSkin products were significantly more effective at lowering transepidermal water loss (TEWL) throughout the study period.[3][15]

4. Side Effects

3 CoffeeBerry products -- a ground whole powder, a water extract and a water-ethanol extract -- tested negative in bacterial mutagenicity studies and micronucleus tests using murine peripheral cells for genotoxicity. Short-term oral toxicity tests showed that female rats were able to tolerate the whole powder and water extract at doses up to 8800 mg/kg bw/day, while male rats tolerated doses of up to 2100 mg/kg bw/day. Both male and female rats could tolerate gavage administration of the ethanol extract up to 4000 mg/kg bw/day, and the ethanol extract did not produce adverse effects at dietary concentrations of up to 5% when fed in the diet in a 90-day dietary toxicity study.[16]

Likewise, no acute adverse effects were induced in 20 college athletes who ingested 800 mg of CoffeeBerry supplements in prescribed doses (2 x 400 mg per day) for 4 weeks.[5]

Of the 2 clinical trials conducted on CoffeeBerry-based skin care products, the first, which recruited 30 participants, reported a total of 22 adverse events in 13 participants, including acne flare-up (6 participants), redness (4 participants) and peeling (1 participant). All of the adverse events were of mild serverity. The redness and burning were transient, and the peeling resolved with continued product use. Of the 6 cases of acne flare-ups, only 2 were considered related to the use of the CoffeeBerry products, while the remaining 4 were thought to be related to hormonal cycles or other unrelated factors.[13] The second trial involved 50 subjects, 4 of which experienced acne flare-ups. Nevertheless, none of the subjects withdrew from the study and there were no reports of erythema or irritation, indicating acceptable tolerability.[3]

Scientific References

  1. Farris P. Idebenone, green tea, and Coffeeberry extract: new and innovative antioxidants. Dermatol Ther. (2007)
  2. Baumann L, Woolery-Lloyd H, Friedman A. "Natural" ingredients in cosmetic dermatology. J Drugs Dermatol. (2009)
  3. Lupo MP, et. al. CoffeeBerry: A New, Natural Antioxidant in Professional Antiaging Skin Care. Cos Derm. (2007)
  4. Stallings AF, Lupo MP. Practical uses of botanicals in skin care. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. (2009)
  5. Ostojic SM, et. al. The effects of a 4-week coffeeberry supplementation on antioxidant status, endurance, and anaerobic performance in college athletes. Res Sports Med. (2008)
  6. Berson DS. Natural antioxidants. J Drugs Dermatol. (2008)
  7. Baumann L. Coffea arabica and CoffeeBerry Extract. Skin & Allergy News. (2007)
  8. Mullen W, et. al. The antioxidant and chlorogenic acid profiles of whole coffee fruits are influenced by the extraction procedures. J Agric Food Chem. (2011)
  9. Hsia E, et. al. Antioxidative and photoprotective effects of topical formulations containing coffeeberry. J Invest Dermatol. (2008)
  10. Therrien J, et. al. Antioxidant and photoprotective effects of CoffeeBerry® in human epidermis. J Invest Dermatol. (2009)
  11. Valavanidis A, Vlachogianni T, Fiotakis C. 8-hydroxy-2' -deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG): A critical biomarker of oxidative stress and carcinogenesis. J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev. (2009)
  12. Therrien J, et. al. Microarray analysis of CoffeeBerry® extract effects on human epidermis. J Invest Dermatol. (2010)
  13. McDaniel DH. Clinical Safety and Efficacy in Photoaged Skin With CoffeeBerry Extract, a Natural Antioxidant. Cos Derm. (2009)
  14. McDaniel DH. Coffee berry extract skin care system: A randomized clinical trial and gene expression analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. (2008)
  15. Draelos ZD. A double-blind, randomized clinical trial evaluating the dermatologic benefits of coffee berry extract. J Am Acad Dermatol. (2008)
  16. Heimbach JT, et. al. Safety studies on products from whole coffee fruit. Food Chem Toxicol. (2010)