Valerie Monroe
Photo: Patrik Andersson
Q: Will a towel soaked in coffee or tea work well as a beauty mask ?

A: It can. Caffeine is easily absorbed into the skin, and it's a vasoconstrictor (it closes dilated blood vessels). So a caffeine mask can reduce the red flush that's symptomatic of rosacea as well as the redness caused by sunburn (which I hope you're careful to avoid). A caffeine compress can temporarily shrink the blood vessels under your eyes that can give you dark shadows (I'm talking to you, reader at right), and can also reduce undereye puffiness, says Loretta Ciraldo, MD, director of the Appearance Center in the dermatology department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Keep in mind: Soaking the towel in iced—rather than hot or warm—coffee or tea will increase the mask's effectiveness.

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