Fruit Extracts in Skin Care - The Dermatology Review

Fruit Extracts in Skin Care

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10.10.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract
Pyrus malus is the name given to apple-derived ingredients used in skin care products. However, Pyrus malus is a genus and species name for apple that is not in current use. Therefore, according to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, the ingredients with the name ‘Pyrus malus’ are under consideration by the cosmetics industry for new name assignments.

Despite the name inconsistency, apple fruit extract is a beneficial ingredient that can be found in a variety of skin care products due to its rich composition of phytochemicals. For example, apple fruit extract contains several types of flavonoids (i.e., catechins, flavanols, and quercetin). Flavonoids possess antioxidant activity, which helps to protect the skin from free radical damage caused by things like UV exposure, pollution, and other environmental factors. Apple fruit extract also contains pectin, a type of fiber. A study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that apple pectin can promote epidermal growth and improve the skin barrier function.

Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract
Native to China, Actinidia chinensis is a tree that bears edible fruits commonly known as kiwis. Kiwi fruit extract is used in skin care products because it contains high amounts of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that can protect the skin from free radicals, stimulate collagen production, and reduce hyperpigmentation. Kiwi fruit extract also contains a proteolytic enzyme known as actinidin. Actinidin is thought to work on the surface of the skin to dissolve keratin, a protein that acts as a glue to keep skin cells together. By dissolving keratin, this enzyme found in kiwi fruit extract helps to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells, leaving skin looking brighter with a more even tone.

Adansonia Digitata Fruit Extract
Adansonia digitata, the Baobab, is a tree native to Africa that can live up to 1,500 years old. The tree produces an edible fruit that is rich in nutrients and phytochemicals. In fact, the Baobab fruit has six times as much vitamin C as an orange, 50% more calcium than spinach, and is a rich source of antioxidants. Its antioxidant activity is four times that of kiwi or apple pulp. According to dermatologist Dr. Jeanette Jacknin, M.D., skin care companies have found that Baobab fruit extract helps improve skin firmness and strength by boosting the elastic quality of the skin, diminishes the appearance of facial lines, evens out skin tone, and hydrates skin. Therefore, Baobab fruit extract is an excellent ingredient to include in anti-aging skin care products.

Bupleurum Falcatum Root Extract
Bupleurum falcatum, also known as sickle-leaf hare’s ear, is a species of flowering plant in the Apiaceae family. Extracts from the root of this plant have been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years as a “liver tonic”. In regards to skin care, there is little research on whether Bupleurum falcatum root extract can benefit the skin. However, it does contain glycosides and polysaccharides, which are types of sugar molecules that can function as humectants. Humectants are hygroscopic substances that have molecular structures with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups. This structure allows humectants to attract and retain the moisture in the air nearby via absorption, drawing the water vapor into or beneath the surface. Thus, Bupleurum falcatum root extract may be able to moisturize the skin.

Callicarpa Japonica Fruit Extract
Callicarpa japonica, also known as Japanese beautyberry, is a deciduous shrub in the mint family that produces purple drupes. A drupe is a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed. Callicarpa japonica fruit extract contains many beneficial phytochemicals that possess antioxidant activity, such as flavonoids, phytosterols, sesquiterpenes, and triterpenes. When applied to the skin, these antioxidants scavenge free radicals, which helps to prevent oxidative damage that can lead to signs of aging.

Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract
Carica papaya is the scientific name for the papaya plant, which originates in the tropics of the Americas. This plant produces a large, orange berry that has a sweet taste. Raw papaya pulp contains 88% water, 11% carbohydrates, and a variety of phytochemicals, including carotenoids and polyphenols. Papaya is also a significant source of vitamin C. When applied to the skin, the vitamin C in papaya fruit extract provides potent antioxidant activity and can stimulate collagen synthesis.

Papaya fruit extract also has a high concentration of papain, an enzyme that dissolves the protein keratin when applied to the skin. Keratin acts like a glue to hold together the dead skin cells that make up the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin). By dissolving keratin, papain helps to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells, leaving skin looking brighter with a more even tone.

Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract
Citrullus lanatus, also known as watermelon, is a scrambling and trailing vine in the flowering plant family Cucurbitaceae. Watermelon is grown in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide for its large edible fruit, which has sweet, juicy flesh that is usually deep red to pink. Watermelon fruit is 91% water, 6% sugars, and contains carotenoids, most notably lycopene.

Research on lycopene has demonstrated it has powerful antioxidant activity, which can help defend the skin against UV-induced damage. A study conducted by the Department of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that lycopene protects the skin through its ability to decrease inflammation, promote cell renewal, and inhibit DNA damage following UVB injury. Due to its high concentration of lycopene, watermelon fruit extract is an excellent ingredient for anti-aging skin care products.

Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Peel Extract
Citrus aurantifolia, also known as key lime, is a shrubby tree that produces a green, spherical fruit. Lime fruit has a high acidity and a strong aroma. Lime peel extract is often added to skin care products as a fragrance ingredient because it contains the fragrance chemicals bergapten and limonene.

Unfortunately, lime peel extract can sometimes cause phytophotodermatitis upon contact with the skin. Phytophotodermatitis is a chemical reaction that makes the skin extra sensitive to ultraviolet light, resulting in a patchy, uneven appearance to skin. While lime peel extract may have some antioxidant activity, experts believe that its sensitizer potential outweighs any benefits.

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract
Citrus aurantium dulcis fruit extract is another example of an ingredient with naming inconsistency. In skin care products, ‘Citrus aurantium dulcis’ is known as sweet orange. However, most of the published literature and the FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP) refer to the sweet orange as ‘Citrus sinensis’.

Despite the name inconsistency, orange fruit extract is a beneficial ingredient in skin care products. As with other citrus fruits, it provides a significant amount of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that can protect the skin from free radical damage and stimulate collagen production. Orange fruit extract also contains several carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Since dietary carotenoids contribute to skin color, it is thought that topical carotenoids may give the skin a healthy glow. Orange fruit extract may also be used as a fragrance ingredient in skin care products.

Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract
Citrus grandis fruit extract is another example of an ingredient with naming inconsistency. Citrus grandis is generally considered a name for a pomelo, which may also be referred to as Citrus maxima. According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, Citrus paradisi appears to be the more widely accepted nomenclature for grapefruit.

Despite the name inconsistency, grapefruit extract is a beneficial ingredient in skin care products, particularly those indicated for oily skin. Grapefruit is a rich source of the antioxidants vitamin C and lycopene, which have both been proven to protect the skin from UV-induced free radical damage. Additionally, vitamin C is known to stimulate collagen production, as well as reduce hyperpigmentation. Grapefruit extract is also reported to have antiseptic and skin-conditioning properties.

Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract
The lemon, Citrus limon, is a species of small evergreen tree in the flowering plant family Rutaceae. Juice from lemons is used for purposes such as cooking, cleaning, and as a fragrance ingredient. Out of all citrus fruit-derived ingredients, Citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract has the most reported uses in cosmetic products, with a total of 530; more than half of the uses are in leave-on skin care preparations. The concentration range for citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract in cosmetics is 0.0001% to 1.2%.

Citrus limon fruit extract contains a high amount of limonene, a volatile fragrance chemical. Limonene is known to cause dermal irritation and sensitization, and it can cause photosensitivity on exposure to sunlight. Despite its pleasant aroma, Citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract may be an ingredient to avoid if you have sensitive skin.

Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Extract
Citrus reticulata, also known as the mandarin orange or tangerine, is a small citrus tree with fruit resembling other oranges. A 2016 study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Research evaluated the skin anti-aging potential of Citrus reticulata peel extract. The study found that the extract possesses strong antioxidant activity, as well as anti-collagenase and anti-elastase activity. Collagenase and elastase are enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, respectively. Since collagen and elastin are responsible for maintaining skin strength and elasticity, preventing the degradation of these proteins is important. Thus, Citrus reticulata peel extract is an ideal ingredient for anti-aging products.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract
The coconut tree, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the palm tree family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus Cocos. Despite its name, the coconut is botanically considered to be a drupe, not a nut. A drupe is a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed. Various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses.

Cocos nucifera extract is derived from the meat of the coconut and has numerous skin benefits. For instance, it is a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids. Upon topical application, these fatty acids help to replenish the skin’s natural barrier function. A strong, intact barrier helps to prevent water loss, therefore keeping the skin hydrated and soft. Cocos nucifera extract also possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity.

Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract
Originating in China and Korea, the Evodia rutaecarpa tree produces a fruit that has a strong, bitter taste. The fruit has been used in traditional Chinese medicine due to its reported anti-inflammatory activity. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science confirmed that compounds found in Evodia rutaecarpa fruit extract have powerful anti-inflammatory activity when applied topically to human skin. The most biologically active components of Evodia rutaecarpa were identified as the alkaloids rutaecarpine and dehydroevodiamine. Another study found that dehydroevodiamine could decrease melanin content through direct inhibition of tyrosinase activity. This means that Evodia rutaecarpa fruit extract may help to reduce the appearance of age spots and other skin pigmentation conditions.

Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract
Lens esculenta is a bushy annual plant that produces an edible legume known as a lentil. Raw lentils contain 8% water, 63% carbohydrates including 11% dietary fiber, 25% protein, and 1% fat. Lentils are a rich source of numerous essential nutrients, including folate, vitamins B5 and B6, phosphorous, iron, and zinc.

The carbohydrates found in lentil fruit extract are known as oligosaccharides, saccharide polymers made up of a small number of monosaccharides (simple sugars). These oligosaccharides have been shown to reduce the appearance of dilated pores by decreasing sebum (oil) secretion and stimulating the expression of collagen I.

Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Berry Extract
Lycium barbarum is a tree native from southeastern Europe and Asia that produces a bright orange-red berry commonly known as the goji berry. These berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 3,000 years. Today, goji berry extract is incorporated into various supplements and drinks due its purported health benefits such as boosting the immune system and promoting weight loss.

In skin care products, goji berry extract functions as a potent antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage. Additionally, the red flesh and pulp contain carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene (vitamin A). Beta carotene has the ability to increase cell turnover and regeneration in the outer layers of the skin, giving the complexion a healthy glow.

Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract
Malus Domestica fruit cell culture extract is a patented liposomal preparation of apple stem cells created by a company called PhytoCellTec™. The stem cells are derived from the ‘Uttwiler Spätlauber’, a rare Swiss apple variety that have especially long-living tissue stem cells. Additionally, the apple’s specific composition of metabolites leads to excellent storability and longevity properties. The company reports that Malus Domestica fruit cell culture extract has been proven to reverse signs of aging in fibroblasts, help skin cells maintain the capacity to build new tissues, increases lifespan of isolated hair follicles, and provide an anti-wrinkle effect on crow’s feet.

Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract
Musa is a genus of large herbaceous flowering plants that produce edible fruits known as bananas. Musa sapientum is an old scientific name that is no longer used; almost all modern edible seedless bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana.

Although bananas are commonly thought to contain a high amount of potassium, their actual potassium content is relatively low per typical food serving. However, bananas are rich in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and fiber. In skin care products, banana fruit extract may provide antioxidant activity due to its vitamin C content, although its effects are considered to be weak compared to other fruit extracts. Banana fruit extract can also moisturize and soften the skin, as well as function as an astringent.

Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract
The olive, known by the botanical name Olea europaea, meaning “European olive”, is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae. About 90% of all harvested olives are turned into olive oil, a common cooking oil. Most of the skin care benefits gained from olive fruit extract come from its high content of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. Upon topical application, olive fruit extract is absorbed very slowly by the skin, which is ideal for dry skin because it forms a protective barrier that prevents water loss. It also functions as an emollient, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth.

Passiflora Alata (Passion fruit) Fruit Extract
Passiflora alata is a species of flowering plant that produces an edible fruit known as passion fruit. This plant is native to the Amazon, from Peru to eastern Brazil. In Brazil, Passiflora alata is officially recognized as a phytomedicine. Passion fruit extract is known to be rich in flavonoids and can be an important antioxidant, protecting the skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Passion fruit extract is also considered to be an emollient with moisturizing and refreshing properties. The extract has a fruity, tropical scent.

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract
Prunus amygdalus dulcis is the scientific name for the sweet almond. While typically grouped with other tree nuts, an almond is actually a drupe, a fruit with an outer hull encasing a shell with the seed inside.

Sweet almond fruit extract contains many beneficial fats, including 32% monounsaturated oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid), 13% linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid), and 10% saturated fatty acid (mainly as palmitic acid). These healthy fats help to maintain skin hydration by keeping the skin barrier intact. Additionally, a strong skin barrier reduces symptoms such as dryness and itchiness, and leaves the skin healthy and glowing.

Rosa Canina Fruit Extract
Rosa canina, commonly known as the dog rose, is a climbing, wild rose species native to Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia. The flowers are usually pale pink, but can vary between a deep pink and white. Like other roses, Rosa canina produces a red-orange fruit known as a hip. Extracts from hips (i.e. rose hip extract, rose hip oil) are used in a variety of skin care products. They provide a rich supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic and linolenic acids. These fatty acids can improve the skin’s natural barrier function, which in turn helps to keep the skin moisturized and soft.

Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract
Rosa multiflora is a species of rose that is native to eastern Asia, in China, Japan, and Korea. This species produces either white or pink roses. Like other roses, Rosa multiflora produces a fruit known as a hip. Extracts from hips (i.e. rose hip extract, rose hip oil) are used in a variety of skin care products. Part of the anti-aging effect of Rosa multiflora fruit extract is due to its activity as PPAR-α agonist, which inhibits pro-inflammatory gene expression. The anti-aging benefit also comes from its high antioxidant content and its ability to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin where it can improve moisture levels and reduce visible signs of aging.

Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Extract
Vaccinium myrtillus is a species of shrub with edible fruit of blue color, commonly called bilberry, which is similar to the blueberry. Vaccinium myrtillus has been used for nearly 1,000 years in traditional European medicine.

Bilberry fruit extract is known for its high concentration of tannins and anthocyanins, as well as other bioflavonoids antioxidants such as resveratrol and quercetin, which help protect the skin from free radical damage. According to the Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary, clinical studies have found that bilberry fruit extract can protect collagen against degradation. Much of this action is attributed to its anthocyanin content. After topical application, bilberry fruit extract has been associated with skin brightening and conditioning effects.

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