Banana face masks are one of the most popular DIY face masks for three main reasons: they’re inexpensive, simple to make, and may actually provide several benefits to your skin. Numerous beauty blogs promise that a banana face mask will deliver a plethora of benefits, such as reviving dull skin, reducing signs of aging, treating acne, decreasing oily skin, moisturizing dry skin, and fading acne scars. But do banana face masks really live up to these claims? Keep reading below to find out!
Top 5 key nutrients in bananas + how they benefit your skin
A DIY banana face mask is claimed to help with multiple skin conditions, such as acne, scarring, dark spots, dry skin, oily skin, and signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles, etc.). It is also said that you can use a banana face mask for glowing skin. To determine if these claims are true, we must evaluate how each of the key nutrients in a banana affects the skin.
- Vitamin B6 calms inflammation
Did you know that it’s a common misconception that bananas are a great source of potassium? A banana’s actual potassium content is not high per typical food serving, typically about 8% of the RDI (recommended daily intake). Rather, the star nutrient is vitamin B6, with a medium-sized banana containing about 33% of the RDI of this vitamin. Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is vital for the body and plays an important role in the metabolism of proteins and fats. Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to cosmetic problems, such as hair loss and skin inflammation. Topical application of vitamin B6 can help to combat these issues. Vitamin B6 is also said to be effective for acne, rough skin, dandruff, and sunburn. Therefore, using a banana face mask for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions may be beneficial.
- Manganese promotes youthful skin
Bananas contain a decent amount of manganese per serving, about 13% of the RDI. Manganese is a trace mineral that doesn’t receive a lot of attention when it comes to skin care, even though it plays an important role in collagen synthesis. Specifically, manganese is required for the production of the amino acid proline, which is essential for collagen formation. Collagen is the protein that maintains skin strength and firmness. It also plays a critical role in wound healing. Thus, a banana face mask may promote anti-aging and healing benefits thanks to manganese.
- Copper plumps + firms skin
When you think about copper, you probably think of the copper used for plumbing, electrical equipment, or even a moscow mule mug, right? Well, did you know that copper is actually very important for maintaining firm, youthful skin? In the skin, copper is involved in the synthesis and stabilization of extracellular matrix skin proteins (i.e. collagen and elastin), and also plays a role in the production of hyaluronic acid. Translation: copper is needed to make important skin components that help the skin remain firm, elastic, and plumped. Since bananas contain a decent amount of copper, you could try applying a banana face mask for wrinkles and anti-aging benefits.
- Vitamin C brightens + combats free radicals
Vitamin C is one of the most popular ingredients in the skin care industry, and for good reason. It is a potent antioxidant that helps the skin combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Vitamin C is also known for its ability to brighten the skin, fade dark spots, and boost collagen production. Ultimately, this means the claims that you can use a banana face mask for glowing skin may be valid.
- Magnesium helps heal acne
Last, but definitely not least, is magnesium. When applied to the skin, magnesium provides anti-inflammatory effects and may also help to treat acne. Blemishes form due to excess sebum and bacteria clogging pores, followed by inflammation and swelling. A banana face mask may help to soothe inflamed blemishes, which can help them heal faster. Therefore, it is often recommended to use a banana face mask for acne.
Banana enzymes revive dull skin
In addition to these top 5 key nutrients, bananas contain amylases and glucosidases, which are two groups of enzymes that break down complex carbs like starch into smaller and more easily absorbed sugars. Like many fruits, the enzymes in bananas are thought to promote mild exfoliation when applied to the skin. Specifically, enzymes work by dissolving keratin, a protein that acts as a glue to keep the dead skin cells that make up the stratum corneum together. By dissolving keratin, these enzymes help to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells, leaving skin looking brighter with a more even tone. Due to the enzymes found in bananas, a banana face mask may be beneficial for acne, acne scars, and dull-looking skin.
What you MUST know before trying a banana face mask
After reading how all of the key nutrients in bananas can benefit your skin, you’re probably ready to head over to Pinterest to find the perfect banana face mask recipe. However, there are a few things you need to know before trying a banana face mask. The first thing you need to know has to do with safety. You should definitely not use a banana face mask if you have a latex allergy. There is a similarity between the proteins in latex and those in banana, which means a banana face mask could cause you to have an allergic reaction.
The next thing you must know before trying a banana face mask is that not all DIY banana face mask recipes are the same, and some could even be harmful to your skin! For example, it is commonly recommended to mix lemon juice into your banana face mask. Lemon juice is claimed to be a natural option for brightening the skin. However, there is no research demonstrating that lemon juice has a positive effect on brightening an uneven skin tone. Plus, lemon juice is highly acidic, with a very low pH that’s quite sensitizing to skin. Lemon juice is also known to cause photosensitivity (reaction causing redness and inflammation on patches of sun-exposed skin) due to the volatile fragrance chemical limonene, which is abundant in lemon juice.
Another popular ingredient in DIY banana face mask recipes is baking soda. Baking soda is claimed to be a “natural deep cleanser and oil remover”. While baking soda is abrasive and will exfoliate the skin, skin care experts consider it to be too harsh. Plus, baking soda has a high pH of 9, which is typically too alkaline for skin to tolerate since the skin’s normal pH is about 4.5 to 5.
DIY banana face mask recipes
A DIY banana face mask can simply involve mashing a medium-sized ripe banana into a smooth paste, then gently applying it to your face and neck. Leave the banana face mask on for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off with cold water. There are also DIY banana face mask recipes that include additional ingredients. However, as we mentioned above, it’s important to avoid adding in ingredients that will do more harm than good, such as lemon juice and baking soda. You can either try just a simple banana face mask with only mashed bananas, or you could add in ingredients like honey, plain yogurt, turmeric, coconut oil, or avocado, which are beneficial to the skin.
Final thoughts on DIY banana face masks
As you can see, bananas contain several key nutrients that may impart skin benefits, such as reducing inflammation, calming acne, brightening the skin, and decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While these key nutrients found in bananas may provide some benefits to your skin, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to get the same benefits of using more concentrated forms of these ingredients. For example, using a vitamin C serum that has been stabilized to deliver a certain percentage of vitamin C to your skin will likely give you faster and better results than relying on the small amount of vitamin C in bananas. Our final thoughts are that while a DIY banana face mask is a natural and cost-effective skin treatment, you are going to see much better results by using an actual skin care product, such as a cream or serum, that is designed to specifically target your skin concerns.
References: Wikipedia “Banana”, Healthline “11 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Bananas”, Healthline “10 Evidence-Based Benefits of Manganese”, Healthline “12 Foods That Contain Natural Digestive Enzymes” Curr Chem Biol 2014 Aug; 8(2): 89–102,