While there are a number of new, sophisticated lab-created or synthesized peptides and other bio-active cosmetic ingredients, Mother Nature often provides some pretty powerful medicine on her own. A case in point are pomegranates, that hard-as-heck to open and eat, stain your fingers red, jewel-like seed filled deliciously tart treat, is one of the oldest fruits around, originating in the Middle East and steeped in history. Legend holds that Adam and Eve’s indulgence in pomegranate--not apple--resulted in their being cast from the Garden of Eden. Religious beliefs and folklore aside, pomegranate extract has been shown to be highly beneficial to our health and of great benefit in the battle against aging and sun damaged skin, even skin cancer.
As skin ages and exposure to damaging UV rays accumulates, skin cells lose their ability to repair themselves and regenerate. In part, this is due to decreased antioxdiant activity within cells coupled with an increase in very aggressive free radicals that cause damage to skin cell lipids, proteins and DNA, called ‘reactive oxidative species’ or ROS's. (This reminded me of ROUS’s ...Rodent’s of Unusual Size...from The Princess Bride. Not a bad analogy really.) This, along with a host of inflammatory responses, also break down collagen and ultimately leads to cell mutation and death, causing the outwards signs of aging and sun damage that manifest as wrinkles, loss of elasticity, brown spots and skin cancer. We won’t dive too deep into derm speak here, suffice it to say UV rays + age do not add up to healthy, supple skin.
Studies have shown that pomegranate seed oil and extracts from the peel pack the biggest benefits, stimulating keratinocyte proliferation and collagen synthesis while also thickening the epidermis, promoting skin repair and regeneration of the dermis (lower skin layer) and epidermis (upper skin layer). A 2003 South Dakota State University study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that topical application of pomegranate seed oil significantly decreased the incidence of skin cancer in mice that had been exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.
Blissoma, an all natural skin care line by Irie Star, makes good use of high levels of pomegranate extract in their Amend Solar Facial Repair Anti Aging Serum. Using Pomella, a trademarked pomegranate extract that has been scientifically verified to reduce UV ray related cell death and free radicals generated in exposed skin, while reducing collagen breakdown and supporting cell longevity. Quickly absorbed and free of any harsh or irritating ingredients, the serum is easy to layer under a daily moisturizer or make-up, even boosting the effectiveness of sunscreen.
In your search for the ultimate natural beauty routine, keep these red-hued beauties in mind. However, it might be wise to skip the DIY approach here, sparing yourself a sticky, red stained face. Opt instead for a professionally formulated, pomegranate-rich formula to help repair your skin while also preventing future damage.
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Images: Mickey**, Irie Star