Converting Spent Coffee Grounds into Bioactive Extracts with Potential Skin Antiaging and Lightening Effects

Helena M. Ribeiro, Margherita Allegro, Joana Marto, Bruno Pedras, Nuno G. Oliveira, Alexandre Paiva, Susana Barreiros, Lídia M. Gonçalves, Pedro Simões

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to valorize spent coffee grounds (SCG) into bioactive extracts for improving skin health. These extracts were obtained by subcritical water extraction (SWE) at 100 bar and temperatures up to 220 °C, in a semicontinuous mode. They were analyzed for phenolic acids, carbohydrates, antioxidant activity (AA) measured by the DPPH assay, ROS-scavenging activity in keratinocyte cells, and elastase and tyrosinase inhibitory activity. SCG extracts collected up to 140 °C had higher phenolic acids content (19.9 mgGA/gdry SCG), higher AA (EC50 of 20.6 μg mL-1), and lower carbohydrate content (38 mgsugars/gdry SCG) than the fraction collected from 140 to 220 °C (5.7 mgGA/gdry SCG, EC50 of 132.2 μg mL-1, and 286 mgsugars/gdry SCG). The extracts were proven to have antiaging and skin lightening effects by inhibiting elastase (99% and 97.9%) and tyrosinase (78.6% and 92.1%) activity. The extracts were incorporated in shear thinning and acidic hydrogels for topical application. Release (70%) and permeation studies (65.3 ± 13.1 μg/cm2) as well as cytotoxicity assays were performed to evaluate the release and permeation of bioactive compounds and the safety of hydrogels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6289-6295
Number of pages7
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2018


  • Antiaging activity
  • Antielastase
  • Antityrosinase
  • Spent coffee grounds
  • Subcritical water
  • Topical formulation

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