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Fruit Enzymes and Your Skin

October 27, 2011

This is a guest post by Niland Mortimer about fruit for your skin. 

      

Fruit is one of the best things you can do for your skin. But until recently, research focused on the ways fruit (and vegetables) can affect exterior beauty from within, by providing nutrients that enable the body’s cells – including skin cells – to do their jobs efficiently. In fact, early in 2011 researchers discovered that eating a regular diet of fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids (the substance that makes carrots orange and gives many other fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors) gave study participants an even more golden, sun-kissed look than they could have managed if they spent time basking in the sun outdoors. (See “Eating vegetables gives skin a more healthy glow than the sun, study shows“, Science Daily, Jan. 12, 2011)

That’s good news for fruit and vegetable lovers, but bad news if you just can’t stand to eat fruits or vegetables (or if you have finicky bowels that just can’t handle all that fiber). Is there another way to nourish the skin? Many manufacturers are touting the benefits of fruit enzymes applied topically — to the skin’s surface. Fruit enzymes, we are told, are an all-natural miracle wrinkle smoother and acne eliminator.

There is just one problem with this idea. The science isn’t there to back it up – at least not yet. The human digestive tract is perfectly structured to absorb nutrients from fruits and other foods, and the circulatory system of blood and lymph fluid works well for circulating those nutrients to the body’s cells and whisking away cellular waste products. The skin, on the other hand, is well-suited to keeping stuff out of the body and away from its cells. You can and do absorb some substances through your skin, but it’s not the most efficient route. Doctors and scientific researchers typically apply substances topically to the skin only when they have a special reason to do so, such as wound care, or when they want to apply a substance that you are better off absorbing in tiny amounts and very slowly (such as the nicotine used in nicotine patches). But you don’t need tiny amounts of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables should be the foundation for your entire diet – they are not a toxic drug that you want to be certain not to overdo!

Determined to conduct your own experiments with all natural skin care? Don’t try to deliver nutrients deep into the skin. Instead, stick to exfoliating — helping the skin to shed its old dead cells more efficiently and protecting – keeping moisture in and bacteria and ultraviolet radiation out. Here are a few fruits you may want to try:

  • Papaya: Though papaya is so rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that you would be better advised to use it to nourish the inside of your body rather than slathering it on your exterior, it also contains the enzyme papain, a natural exfoliator that may help loosen dead skin cells, making it easier to brush dead cells off the surface of the skin. This makes it less likely that dead cells will become trapped in hair follicles and cause clogged pores. Many skin care products, such as facial masks and anti-wrinkle creams, now contain papaya, but you can also make your own using ripe papaya from the grocery store. If you are too tempted to eat the ripe papaya (and who wouldn’t be?), you can buy dried papaya powder to add to homemade creams, masks and lotions.
  • Peaches: Some people consider peaches to have an emollient or moisturizing effect, though I haven’t seen clinical research on this. Researchers HAVE found that peaches are chock full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, though, so after you add peach to your homemade mask or lotion, make sure to save some for breakfast.
  • Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits, especially lemons, have antibacterial effects. However, lemon and other citrus fruits can have the side effect of making the skin more photosensitive — more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation – so you’ll want to go easy on the citrus or consider using it only at night. Yes, tangerines and grapefruit do help with weight loss, but you have to EAT them to experience that benefit.

So, my best advice is this: listen to your mother and eat your fruits and vegetables. That’s the best way to deliver the antioxidant benefits of berries, pomegranates, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, peaches, plums, papaya, pineapple, and any other fruit you can think of directly to your skin — and the rest of your body, too.

Niland Mortimer is the Chief Marketing Officer at Isis Biopolymer, a pioneer in skin rejuvenation technology. Isis Biopolymer recently released the Biobliss patch&#153, a noninvasive transdermal patch that reduces wrinkle appearance and fine lines in just one hour. Niland’s background in consumer and technology marketing ranges from overseeing all J&J skin care product global advertising to co-founding a San Francisco based social media marketing firm.

The author is not a medical professional or expert and this blog is not intended to be instructional for medical diagnosis or treatment. It is not intended as medical advice or take the place of a consultation with a physician or competent healthcare professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment of any kind; or serve as an endorsement for any medical practice, prescription, drug, supplement, treatment, physician, pharmaceutical product, or medical device. Every effort has been made by ISIS to provide accurate, complete, and up-to-date information; however, the state of skin care knowledge is constantly changing; thus, the blog may contain errors and/or omissions. Always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider promptly with any skin or healthcare-related questions.

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