Can Pomegranate Improve The Health of My Skin?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Much of these benefits have to do with polyphenols, the powerful antioxidant- containing nutrients found in other plant-based foods, such as berries and green tea.

Given its nutritional content, it’s possible that pomegranates could improve your health from the inside out. This may include your skin health, but there are some limitations to many of the claims made online.

Benefits of using pomegranate on skin

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Antioxidants such as the vitamin C found in pomegranates work by reducing cellular damage in your body. Other notable compounds include tannins, ellagitannins, and anthocyanins.

While these work best via the foods you eat and drink, topical applications could provide some benefits.

Anti-aging benefits

When applied to the skin of mice, antioxidants helped decrease the incidence of age spots and wrinkles, though they didn’t prevent them entirely. There are currently studies underway on humans.

Such effects are thought to be achieved via increased cell regeneration, which is your skin’s ability to get rid of old skin cells on the surface so it can rejuvenate new ones.

Decreased inflammation
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Reduced free radical damage can also translate to decreased inflammation in the skin. As such, antioxidants may be able to reduce the symptoms of certain inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema.

Antimicrobial benefits

Pomegranate is thought to contain natural antimicrobials from vitamin C, which may help fight bacteria and fungus in your skin. Such benefits may help treat P. acnes bacteria, which may be a precursor to acne breakouts.

UV protection

The antioxidants in pomegranate are also thought to help provide natural protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays, according to some studies. However, such protection isn’t enough to skip out on daily sunscreen.

Natural exfoliation

Regular exfoliation helps to get rid of dead skin cells, which decreases signs of acne and skin aging. It’s thought that these benefits are directly linked to using slightly crushed seeds of the pomegranate fruit.

Can eating pomegranate benefit skin care?

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Eating a variety of plant-based foods is thought to work best for your overall health, including that of your skin.

Pomegranates are just one type of antioxidant-rich food source that can be beneficial. Eating the fruit — in this case, the seeds — is better than drinking processed juices, as the latter can be full of added sugars and other ingredients.

Still, this doesn’t mean that eating multiple pomegranates a day will be your ultimate ticket to good skin. It’s more important to include a variety of antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. These can include pomegranates, but a diet for healthy skin certainly isn’t limited to them.

Unproven claims

While antioxidant-rich foods such as pomegranates can help fight free radicals, there are limitations to the amount of skin benefits these compounds can provide.

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Using pomegranates likely won’t help with the following claims circulated online:

  • Skin cancer prevention. While studies have supported the anticancer potential of pomegranate, there’s no guarantee that using this fruit alone will prevent cancer cells from forming. This is especially true if you don’t adopt other smart skin care practices, such as wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun during the mid-day hours.
  • Increased collagen. Skin naturally loses collagen with age, and poor diet, smoking, and other adverse lifestyle habits can make you lose it even faster. Pomegranates’ antioxidant makeup can help reduce the appearance of skin aging, but studies support vitamin C’s topical role in developing collagen, and not necessarily pomegranate fruit.
  • Glowing skin. Pomegranates won’t give you youthful, glowing skin on their own. Glowing skin is directly related to an overall healthy diet.
  • Clean skin. Some manufacturers who sell pomegranate oil tout their products have the ability to “clean” your skin. The only way to effectively remove dirt and oil from your skin is by properly cleansing it — not by adding products on top of it.
  • Balanced hydration. Anecdotal reports tout pomegranate as beneficial for both oily and dry skin types. It’s thought that the antioxidants can help balance skin hydration levels in all types of skin.

Potential side effects

Using pomegranate is considered generally safe, and no significant adverse reactions have been reported to date. Although not common, it’s possible to develop an allergic reaction to topical pomegranate.

Signs of a reaction may include:

  • itchy skin
  • redness
  • inflammation
  • hives or welts

Those side effects may also occur when using pomegranate essential oil without first diluting it with a carrier oil.

How to use pomegranate on your skin

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The use of pomegranate on your skin can involve ready-to-use oils and extracts, as well as juices and seeds from the actual fruit. Do a skin patch test ahead of time to test for any possible sensitivities.

The seeds

You may be able to create an exfoliating mask out of crushed pomegranate seeds. Make sure that you massage the product into your skin without rubbing it, as this will lead to irritation. You can exfoliate your skin once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells.

Pomegranate skin oil

Pomegranate skin oils are most often used as serums. These are applied after cleansing and toning, but before moisturizing. Massage into your skin twice daily for best results.

Pomegranate essential oil

Essential oils are more potent than extracts, and they must be diluted with carrier oils first. Due to their strength, essential oils like those derived from pomegranate are best used as spot treatments only.

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Pomegranate is also available in capsules and tablets with pomegranate extracts. Rather than applying on the skin topically, these supplements are taken orally. Talk to your doctor before use, and be sure to take the supplements as directed.

Takeaway

Pomegranates can help improve your skin health, but there are limitations to what superfoods like this fruit can do.

It’s more important to focus on an overall healthy diet. This includes pomegranate, but you should also consider other antioxidant-rich sources to balance your diet, including berries, leafy greens, and tea.

If you’re looking at using pomegranate topically, there are numerous skin products that contain these fruit extracts. You may also consider using pomegranate oils and extracts on your own as spot treatments. See a dermatologist if any side effects develop.

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