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The BBC's Karen Bowerman
"Coffee has become more than just a social drink"
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Monday, 10 July, 2000, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Caffeine causes a beauty buzz

Caffeine is claimed to reduce cellulite
By BBC consumer affairs correspondent Karen Bowerman

Coffee and caffeine are now essential in our 24-hour society, providing the lift many of us need to keep up with our increasingly hectic lives.

But you don't just have to sit and sip to get a buzz from caffeine. The beauty industry is taking advantage of its uplifting properties to market new products.

Caffeine lipsticks creating a buzz

Just out is a caffeine lipstick, made by the cosmetics company, Hard Candy, and available in three flavours, Latte Lip, Cafe-o-Lip, and Lipachino. Women on the move need only lick their lips for a quick fix.

Caffeine is also found in sprays and facial toners - and in hundreds of face and body creams - which claim to give our bodies a lift, or improve our contours.

Clarins, one company that uses caffeine in some of its products, claims it stimulates the release of fatty deposits in our fat cells, so helping tone our legs and bottoms. It's also apparently, a key ingredient in creams, which help us fight cellulite.

Fighting fatigue

Caffeine also has other benefits. Many doctors agree it helps reduce tiredness.

Other research accumulated by the Coffee Science Information Centre suggests it helps pain killers work quicker, reduces the risk of cancer, and may prevent kidney stones in women.

Dr Kerr: "Unpleasant symptoms"

But doctors investigating caffeine more closely warn it is after all a drug, and that it can be dangerous if taken in large amounts.

Dr David Kerr, a Consultant Physician at Bournemouth Hospital, warns that drinking too much coffee can cause some very unpleasant effects.

"It can cause shaking, sweating, acute anxiety attacks, very similar to a panic attack and people need to be aware that too much caffeine is definitely a bad thing."

He explains that caffeine reduces the blood supply to the brain, which in turn reduces the amount of sugars it receives, which can be particularly serious for diabetics.

Coffee nation

Despite this, many of us are still turning to coffee, whatever time of day.

Coffee shops are appearing on nearly every high street and such is their popularity that by the end of 2001, the number of American style coffee bars in the UK is expected to have doubled.

One of the newest drinks in some of London's trendiest bars is even coffee-related.

It's the vodka espresso, and with three shots of caffeine and vodka in every glass, it's guaranteed to keep people awake well into the night.

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