Beauty Supplements Foster Fruit Fresh Complexions

By Mary Jane Tenerelli, Contributing Editor | September 15, 2007

Move over apples and oranges, ‘superfruits’ like goji, açai and pomegranate are taking center stage.

Taking beauty supplements to foster a fresh, pretty complexion is nothing new. Stated market research firm Datamonitor in a 2004 study, “…the possibility of providing health benefits and external beauty improvements through nutraceutical foods, beverages and supplements is a budding trend, particularly among aging Baby Boomers.” What is new in this burgeoning category is the increasingly central role fruit plays in skin-beautifying nutraceuticals. From açai to mangosteen, beauty supplements are creating delectable complexions by capitalizing on the healthy, perfecting effects of “superfruits.”

Purifying Pomegranate

With health benefits abundant in its seeds, pomegranate has long been a symbol of fertility, bounty and eternal life. It has also been associated with the Greek goddesses Persephone and Hera. Pomegranate has even been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian queens.

Pomegranate is a potent anti-aging ingredient.
Today, pomegranate has become a symbol for beautiful skin. In fact, it is one of the original, and still one of the most popular superfruits found in beauty supplements. Dr. Frederic Brandt, creator of the Dr. Brandt line of skin care products, credits the pomegranate, as well as colleague Dr. Howard Murad for initiating the superfruit revolution in skincare supplements. “I believe it was Dr. Murad’s launch of pomegranate supplements and inclusion into his skincare line that started it. He was the first to bring it into the public eye via his skincare/supplement line,” he said. “That’s when antioxidants were first being viewed as age-fighting ingredients.”

Pomegranate is one of the main ingredients in Dr. Brandt Anti-Oxidant Water Booster, a liquid beauty supplement that’s added, a dropperful at a time, to a glass of water in an effort to fight aging skin. “Pomegranate is very popular at this time because it is a delicious fruit with many beneficial compounds,” Dr. Brandt commented. “It has substances such as polyphenols, which possess powerful antioxidant benefits and anti-viral activity that fight free radicals that damage and age the skin.” Anti-Oxidant Water Booster also contains lo han fruit, which is a member of the squash family that is believed to reduce cravings for sugar. Dr. Brandt continued, “Pomegranates are a great source of potassium and have great healing properties alone. However, when paired with other antioxidants they provide even greater benefits to the skin and total body health.”

A skin protection product utilizing pomegranate was recently added to the Murad line of skincare products. Pomphenol Sun Guard is a beauty supplement touted as being able to intensify sunscreen from the inside-out. Pomegranate extract containing antioxidant rich ellagic acid is included to prevent free-radical damage and preserve skin’s healthy texture and tone. Said Dr. Murad, “Pure pomegranate extract has been scientifically studied and proven to boost the SPF of topical sunscreens.”

Scott-Vincent Borba, founder and creator of Borba Skin Care Products, recently teamed up with Tarte Cosmetics to create a line of nutraceutical lipglosses called Tarte Inside Out. Based on the premise that “the average woman ingests between 2 to 4 pounds of lipgloss in her life,” the new line includes a pomegranate imbued gloss that also boasts lychee fruit for long-term hydration, açai and green tea to reduce epidermal irritation and enhance skin’s clarity and radiance, and grape seed to accelerate production of natural elastin, protect skin against free-radical damage and restore skin clarity.

Açai, Berry Good for the Skin

Rich, purple açai berries are a product of the Amazon rainforest. They make up a large part of the daily diet of the region. In northern Brazil, açaí is traditionally served in hollow gourds with tapioca. Today, açai juice, blends, and pulp powder are no longer limited to the Amazon, but are an important part of the world of nutraceutical beauty products. They’re high in age-defying antioxidants, and are full of anthocyanins, a group of photochemicals known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Açai berries are a central ingredient in N.V. Perricone Super Berry Powder with Açai, a powder stirred into water or juice to make an age-defying, complexion-smoothing elixir. Açai is said to prevent oxidants from damaging connective tissue—ultimately leading to healthier, younger looking skin. Berry extracts are part of a group called “OPCs” or oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). The fruit and bark extracts that make up OPCs are purported to offer a host of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory action and the prevention of wrinkles. Dr. Perricone explained, “The OPCs are important for great skin and good health. OPCs are concentrated in the seeds and outer coatings of many plants—which unfortunately are typically removed before eating. This explains why the best supplemental sources are grape seed extracts, berry extracts, red wine extract, huzhang extract and pine bark extract.” And while pomegranate was the first to rocket to the forefront of superfruit beauty supplement fame, it’s berries that are currently front and center according to Dr. Perricone. He contended, “The next superfruits to escalate in popularity as beauty supplement ingredients include açai berry and blueberry—in fact, they’ve already taken off.”

Said Mr. Borba, “Açai is the most powerful antioxidant known to man today.” Açai can be found in Açai Skin Treatment Gummi Boosters, from the Borba Skin Balance Confections line. The product was designed to help the skin regenerate its natural support system, as it helps remove toxins and improve skin clarity. Açai, along with green tea extract, is meant to aid in strengthening the capillary walls to reduce irritation, and restore the skin’s radiant look and feel.

One berry utilized by the Republic of Tea to promote clear skin is chaste berry. Found in the company’s Get Gorgeous Herb Tea for Clear Skin, chaste berry (or chastetree berry) is noted for its ability to balance hormones, preventing the surges that play havoc with skin. Get Gorgeous is part of the new Be Well line of red teas recently launched by the Republic of Tea.

Mangosteen, To Keep Skin Pristine

Mangosteen is a free radical absorber
Called the “Queen of the Fruits” and so coveted that England’s Queen Victoria once offered a reward to anyone who could bring it to her, mangosteen is a Southeast Asian fruit found in the rainforest. It is similar in size and color to the plum. The fruit recently became available in numbers big enough to support export markets.

Mangosteen has been included in several beauty supplements, including Borba’s drinkable Skin Balance Anti-Aging Clarifying Water. Mangosteen is rich in antioxidants and is added to beauty supplements to absorb the free radicals that age skin. The pulp of the fruit contains xanthones and polysaccharides, which are said to renew and soften skin, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Mr. Borba said mangosteen is a natural collagen builder. “People in the rainforest look like they’ve been eating youth popsicles,” he said. Mr. Borba also said mangosteen is good for the elimination of blackheads and whiteheads, as it actually works to push toxins from the skin.

Goji Berry as a Skin Beautifier

Goji berries have been used for 6000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to boost immune function and improve circulation. They are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Lately, they have become quite popular in beauty supplements. Combining glucosamine, essential fatty acids, cell energizers and goji berry extract, Murad’s Firm and Tone Dietary Supplement Pack is designed to support skin strength by encouraging the appearance of firmer skin and improving the visual texture of stretch marks. Dr. Murad, owner and creator of the Murad skin care line, said the goji berry is one of today’s rising superfruit stars. “Pomegranate, goji berry, noni, these are hot ingredients that have multiple benefits, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” he said.

Cherimoya for a Youthful Change

Cherimoya is a superfruit touted as an antidote to sagging, lusterless skin. Native to South America, cherimoya can be brown, red, green or even black on the outside and sweet and succulent on the inside. Cherimoyas have a multi-faceted, almost pre-historic appearance. The velvety flesh offers a custardy blend of banana, pineapple and strawberry notes. Mark Twain once characterized the cherimoya as “deliciousness itself!”

This fruit is said to be chockfull of antioxidants, and skincare companies like Borba include it in their beauty supplements for the youthful complexion it’s said to engender. Mr. Borba explained, “It’s a natural firming fruit. It allows the skin to fight cellulite and stretch marks.” Borba’s Skin Balance Firming Aqua-less Crystalline contains cherimoya and a bio-vitamin complex intended to support the skin’s natural support system, remove epidermal toxins and improve elasticity. Formulated to work with the body’s chemistry to provide visible skin benefits, this product is characterized as “mobile on-the-go skin care”—it is available in a powder that can be added to water.

The Challenge of Putting Fruit
Into Functional Beauty Foods

Enhancing a beauty supplement with a superfruit extract is not as simple as it might seem. “To get a therapeutic concentration of ingredients from fruits that are usually present in 200 grams of food into a milligram quantity is always challenging,” said Dr. Perricone. Another problem may be the fruit itself. “There can be challenges when the fruit is not available, or it is damaged by weather or pest invasion. Consistency is key, and fruit varies from crop to crop,” he said. 

Stabilizing fruit-infused formulas can also be tricky, according to Mr. Borba. More specifically, he cited “taste” as a potential obstacle. “It [the supplement] has to taste like nothing or taste perfectly delicious,” he said. Dr. Brandt concurred with Mr. Borba, highlighting “stabilization and taste due to break down and loss of potency” as potential trouble spots.

While suffusing beauty pills with fruitful goodness may not always be easy, the demand for the results is certainly growing. Said Dr. Perricone, “It is now widely accepted that what we eat, and the supplements we take, do have a great influence on the appearance and health of our skin.”

The Future for Fruity Beauty

There are a lot of new and innovative opportunities on the horizon for superfruit-fortified beauty supplements. New fruits will be recognized and implemented by nutraceutical companies due to their skin enhancing properties. And new delivery systems will yield quicker results and increased consumer interest.

Dr. Perricone sees “the humble black current” gaining superfruit status and increased inclusion in beauty supplements in the near future. The fruit “is showing remarkable antioxidant properties—even surpassing blueberries and pomegranates,” he said. “The secret lies not so much in the fruit itself but in the scientists’ ability to increase bioavailability of the substance, while enhancing synergy with other substances.”

Mr. Borba sees antioxidant-rich guanabana creating a stir in the beauty supplement world, and points to a interesting new delivery system as well. “We’re taking a trans-dermal approach. Eventually all you will have to do is slap a patch on your body,” he offered. He explained that Borba has been working on this type of delivery system for more than two years and that it will be available to consumers in four to six months.

Dr. Murad says the list of superfruits and superfruit blends will only continue to grow over the next five years, adding, “Consumers are interested in beauty supplementation more and more, and incorporating fruit extracts is most definitely of interest.”