Pomegranates may not be the first thing you reach for when filling up your canvas tote at the farmer's market, but consider this: The fruit can help you attain younger-looking skin, and it's also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins K and C, potassium, copper, zinc and iron. The fruit -- which is nearing the end of its season (commercial harvest typically runs from October to January) -- can help to prevent premature skin aging and keep our complexions smooth and radiant.
Check out these four beauty benefits of pomegranates:
1. It helps to hydrate dry skin. When compared to green tea, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur tells us that pomegranate juice is actually better at replenishing dry, dull skin. It is also a great plant-derived source of vitamin C, which studies have shown can decrease skin roughness when applied topically. For a topical treatment, dermatologist and author Dr. Debra Jaliman suggests that we apply pomegranate seed oil, as studies have shown it to promote regeneration of epidermis.
2. It combats inflammation from acne breakouts. A pimple forms when bacteria infects the oil glands of the skin. When this occurs, the body sends white blood cells called neutrophils to the site of the pimple; when these neutrophils digest the bacteria, they die mix with the bacteria and other debris in the pimple. This whole process also triggers inflammation, which is what is responsible for zits' red, swollen appearance. "The antioxidants in pomegranates will help to reduce that inflammation," says Dr. Marmur.
3. It protects our bodies against the sun and environment. Overexposure to harmful UV rays and pollution causes oxidative damage to our skin cells, and can increase one's risk of developing wrinkles, age spots, sunburn and even cancer. According to Dr. Marmur, the antioxidants (namely polyphenols) found in pomegranates help to protect our cells from such oxidative stress. Pomegranate-derived products have also been found to play a vital role in repairing DNA damage.
4. It stimulates collagen production. Our skin naturally begins to sag and lose firmness as we grow older. Pomegranates are full of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has shown promising results in reducing collagen breakdown. Dr. Marmur says, "If you think of having a pillow and all the fluffy stuff goes flat, that happens to the skin when you lose collagen and elastin. Pomegranates help to plump up skin and boost your blood supply to get rid of that tired look." By stimulating collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts, Dr. Jaliman says that pomegranates can help to minimize skin wrinkle activity.
Do you use pomegranates in your beauty routine? Tell us your secrets!
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