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Skin Care Benefits of Pomegranates

Skin Care Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranate, a fruit with a hard, reddish outer shell and small red, edible seeds inside, has a long history of use in traditional medicine around the world and appears in many skin care products and dietary supplements. Rich in various beneficial plant compounds, pomegranates exhibit potent antioxidant activity, and substances in the fruit may help protect the skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure, according to researcher Hye Min Park at the Department of Medical Science at the Graduate School of East-West Medical Science at Kyung Hee University Global Campus in South Korea, and colleagues, in a study published in March 2010 in the "International Journal of Dermatology."


Pomegranate contains ellagic acid, a polyphenol that, when applied topically, reduced collagen breakdown and inflammation in human skin cells and in mice exposed to UVB light, according to researcher Ji-Young Bae and colleagues at the Department of Food and Nutrition at Hallym University in Korea in a study published in January 2010 in the journal "Experimental Dermatology." Bae and colleagues concluded that "dietary and pharmacological interventions with berries rich in ellagic acid may be promising treatment strategies interrupting skin wrinkle and inflammation associated with chronic UV exposure leading to photoageing." (See Reference 3)

Other polyphenols in pomegranate, particularly catechins present in extracts of the fruit, also helped protect human skin cells treated with UVB light from photoaging, increasing collagen synthesis, according to the 2010 study by researcher Park and colleagues. (See Reference 2)

Hyperpigmentation and Freckling

Pomegranates are among a list of compounds and plants with antioxidant properties found to benefit hyperpigmentation most, according to Dr. Joesph F. Fowler Jr. and colleagues at the University of Louisville, Division of Dermatology, in Louisville, Kentucky, in a study published in June 2010 in the journal "Drugs and Dermatology." Women consuming pomegranate extract with high levels of ellagic acid---200mg daily---reported a brighter complexion and improvement in freckling and pigmentation, noted researcher Kouichi Kasai at the Research and Development Division at Kikkoman Corp. in Japan, and colleagues, in a study in the March 2006 "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. Ellagic acid works by inhibiting melanin formation by blocking the activity of a melanin-producing enzyme called tyrosinase.


Topical ellagic acid, found in pomegranates, also helped reduce damaging inflammation in the skin of hairless mice exposed to UVB light, according to the January 2010 study by Bae and colleagues. Ellagic acid decreased the production and presence of pro-inflammatory substances called cytokines in the skin, which can appear after UVB light exposure.

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