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Surprising Science

“New Coffee”: Sprayable Caffeine Absorbed by the Skin

Caffeine has enjoyed a surprisingly unregulated rise to its status as the drug of choice among many Americans, young and old.

What’s the Latest Development?

A spray bottle which delivers caffeine to the body through the skin is the latest product in the surge of consumables marketing caffeine like a drug you would never want to go without. The product, called Sprayable Energy, is a creation of Harvard undergrad Ben Yu and venture capitalist Deven Soni, and it contains just three ingredients: “caffeine, water, and a compound that helps it be absorbed by our skin (a derivative of the naturally-occurring amino acid tyrosine).” As a result of the sharp rise in caffeinated products, the FDA plans to (finally) investigate the safety of caffeine, especially its effects on children and adolescents. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Caffeine has enjoyed a surprisingly unregulated rise to becoming the drug of choice of many Americans, young and old. In fact, it’s only official approval came in the 1950s as a replacement for the psychoactive chemicals in coca leaves which were then used in carbonated sodas. “In 2005, fewer than 2,000 trips to U.S. emergency departments involved energy drinks. By 2011, that number was over 20,000. Divorcing the drug from the ritual and culture of coffee, uploading it to our blood by the most mechanically efficient routes possible, draws more attention to the fact that caffeine is indeed a drug. We’re using it in the traditional sense of the word.”

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Read it at the Atlantic


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