Berries for Skin: Everything You Need to Know
Most people know that routinely eating a variety of berries is a healthy choice, but what’s even more fascinating is that they provide many of the same benefits when applied to skin.
Ongoing research has firmly established that whether in the form of a concentrated berry serum or other leave-on product, berries for skin can make an impressive difference for many visible concerns. This exciting development inspired us to formulate our EARTH SOURCED Power Berry Serum, an all-skin-types formula with concentrated extracts of 13 berries.
Why Are Berries Good for Skin?
The main reason a wide range of berries, including acai, goji berry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and elderberry are good for skin is because they're chockful of potent antioxidant compounds known as phenolics. These powerful compounds, often referred to as polyphenols, are primarily found in the fruit and seeds of berries. Their job is to help the plants withstand environmental stressors in the wild, and they can do this for your skin, too.
Polyphenols have several sub-categories, each with distinct benefits for your skin. The main types of polyphenols include:
- Flavonoids*, including anthocyanidins (plant pigments that give blackberries and other dark berries their color)
- Lignans, a type of plant fiber found in seaberry, strawberries, and blackberries
- Phenolic acids, such as ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in pomegranates, raspberries, and strawberries
Polyphenols go beyond antioxidant ability to protect the skin from various triggers that cause signs of aging (including wrinkles, dullness, uneven skin tone and loss of elasticity) to appear or worsen. Even more exciting, these phenolic antioxidants help visibly repair environmental damage and revive skin’s natural defenses so it looks fresher and healthier.
*Flavonoids are a sub-group of polyphenols consisting of over 400 compounds. Along with anthocyanidins, other common types include flavonols (like the antioxidant quercetin, found in many berries), isoflavonoids (abundant in soy and raspberrt), and chalcones (found in numerous fruits).
How Do Berries Benefit Your Skin?
Just as there isn’t a best antioxidant for skin, there isn’t a best berry for skin. However, some berries are better than others when it comes to their ability to preserve and improve skin’s healthy, youthful appearance.
Using Indian gooseberry for skin and blueberries for skin top the list due to the stunning research each has. For example, Indian gooseberry (also known as amla) is capable of scavenging multiple types of free radicals before they can make skin look older and dull. Blueberries help offset damaging enzymes in skin triggered by daylight exposure, keeping them from harming skin’s supportive elements. Now that’s what we call a skin superfood!
What about elderberry for skin care? Elderberry helps keep vital lipids (fats) in skin from breaking down and becoming pro-oxidant. Essentially, it helps keep your skin’s oil from generating age-inducing free radicals when the oil is exposed to oxygen. Elderberry also inhibits pro-inflammatory enzymes, stopping what would otherwise be a cascade of damage.
A lot of people wonder about acai berry skin care because it’s often touted as a superfood. This small purple berry is a rich source of the anthocyanidin polyphenols mentioned above. Acai offers many of the same benefits as elderberry, but behaves differently against certain types of free radicals. This is an excellent example of how the synergy between berries provides the greatest benefits for skin.
The bottom line is the more berries you apply to your skin, the better your results will be. That’s the formulary path we took with our EARTH SOURCED Power Berry Serum, which contains a variety of these brilliant ingredients in amounts research has shown are effective for skin.
A quick fun fact: Some fruits with “berry” as part of their name aren’t technically berries based on how plants are categorized. But because the fruits were named before scientists agreed on how to categorize berries, some confusion exists. Berries that are berries in name only include strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. On the other hand, fruits such as bananas, grapes, and watermelons are berries despite not being named as such.
The marketplace sells numerous supplements containing berries. These can be a great adjunct to topical use of berries for total well-being that complements eating antioxidant-packed foods. Just be sure you’re buying a supplement from a reputable brand and that you discuss it with your physician--good advice prior to taking any type of dietary supplement.
References for this information:
Healthcare, May 2018, ePublication
Frontiers in Pharmacology, October 2018, ePublication; and March 2018, ePublication
Current Pharmaceutical Design, Volume 24, Issue 2, 2018, pages 99-105
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, August 2017, pages s125-s128 Toxicological Research, April 2017, pages 149-156
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, February 2016, ePublication; and October 2015, pages 24,673-24,706
Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, March 2014, pages 8-16
Nutrition Journal, January 2010, ePublication
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!