Berry beautiful: How fruit can help transform your skin – inside and out
Peachy keen on a glowing complexion? Here’s how going bananas at the fruit bowl and harnessing the natural power of fruits can help transform your skin.
Eating fruit comes with a host of health benefits — and in summer, we’re spoilt for choice.
But beyond keeping our insides healthy, nutritionist and naturopath Michaela Sparrow says “vitamin and antioxidant-rich fruits are wonderful for skin”.
It’s a sentiment confirmed in numerous studies, including a recent report that noted “higher intakes of select fruits and vegetables with positive skin health”.
Our experts give their thoughts on why fruit has a plum role in skin vitality.
The link between fruit and healthy skin
Consuming fruit to improve skin appearance is all about choosing the ones full of antioxidants and vitamins.
Michaela recommends fruits that contain vitamins C and E, as they can “prevent oxidative stress, which slows down skin damage and ageing”.
“Vitamin C also supports skin collagen production for elasticity, firmness and structure,” The Longevity Remedy nutritionist says.
“While vitamin E supports the skin’s moisture barrier.”
Michaela also suggests looking for fruits that are pink, red or orange because the colour comes from beta-carotene, a source of powerhouse skin ingredient vitamin A.
“Beta-carotene supports skin cell turnover, repair and regeneration and helps prevent DNA damage.”
For skin hydration, most fruits naturally offer a high-water content, with the expert noting some also contain potassium, “which is an electrolyte that regulates fluid balance in the body”.
The good news is that all of these things feature in various combinations in a range of readily available fruits.
Michaela singles out heavy hitters such as berries, pomegranate, citrus fruits, mango, avocado and kiwifruit.
Fruit at face value
Consuming whole fruits has proven skin benefits, but can the same be said when fruit is applied directly to the face?
Dr Prasanthi Purusothaman, a GP and cosmetic doctor, says there are some whole fruits that work well topically.
“Avocado, for instance, has soothing properties and is safe to apply, like in a homemade avocado mask,” Dr Purusothaman says.
“But then there’s other fruits, like lemons for example, that contain active enzymes that can be irritating if applied directly from the fruit or peel.”
Dr Purusothaman says fruit-based skincare products aren’t loaded with pulped fruit, but instead contain an extract that “isolates the skin-benefiting active from the fruit”.
Dermal aesthetician Rhiannon Evers from Lekeyah Skin Rejuvenation Centre further explains that these “fruit extract compounds of antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes and acids” are far more potent than what you would get from a single whole fruit.
These extracts are then carefully combined within a pH balanced formulation.
Hello, fruity skincare product!
Best fruit ingredients for your skin
Here, the experts break down the most common fruity skincare products and what they can do for your face.
A study by Mintel found watermelon has been a fast-rising beauty ingredient.
It’s particularly prevalent in moisturisers, serums and mists.
Dr Purusothaman says as well as vitamins A, C and E, watermelon contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidant lycopene, which gives it its distinct colour.
“Watermelon skincare can be beneficial for sensitive, dry and redness-prone skin,” she says.
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are top tier for skin improvement via diet — and Rhiannon says their inclusion in serums, masks and exfoliants has potential benefits for dull or pigmented skin.
“Berries contain natural alpha-hydroxy acids, which gently exfoliate the skin, promote cell turnover and leave the complexion brighter,” she explains.
“Lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant for skin brightening,” Rhiannon says.
She adds that citrus fruits can also help regulate oil production.
“Lemons and grapefruits have astringent properties that can minimise shine and prevent breakouts.”
Also highlighted in the Mintel report, pineapple is common in masks and exfoliants.
Rhiannon says the fruit contains multi-tasking bromelain, which in different concentrations may reduce inflammation, soothe or slough off dead skin to reveal a smoother, brighter complexion.
Papaya has an exfoliating capacity thanks to its papain and chymopapain enzymes. Look for it in moisturisers and serums that target acne or hyperpigmentation.
Dr Purusothaman says papaya products can also help keratosis pilaris (chicken skin).
Pomegranate’s phytochemical content is useful against dull and ageing skin.
Often included in moisturisers, cleansers and masks, pomegranate’s antioxidant-rich compounds can “stimulate new collagen and elastin fibres to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles”, Rhiannon says.
“Pomegranate also contains citric acid and malic acid to exfoliate and improve skin tone and radiance.”
This is the latest fruit to catch people’s attention.
A 2023 study by Myongji University in South Korea identified the prickly fruit as a skin protectant and healing agent.
“We know Korea is great for innovation in the skincare realm,” Dr Purusothaman says.
“There are promising results in regard to the fruit extract’s ability to help wound healing, stimulate collagen and protect against UVB radiation and subsequent damage.”
More on natural wellness:
- The Australian botanical skincare ingredients you need to know
- The 10 best fruit and vegetables to supercharge your gut health
- Get Nourished: Quick and fruity smoothies for improved libido
- Best fruits and veggies for easing stress
Written by Sharon Hunt.