It is easy to dismiss something that is 91% water and 6% sugars (source), but watermelon is not just a refreshing treat. It is a source of important antioxidants and it is increasingly recognized as a useful ingredient in anti-aging skincare.
The red pulp contains carotenoids including lycopene, a strong antioxidant that protects the body from damage caused by free radicals. Indeed, all carotenoids are incredibly efficient “quenchers of singlet oxygen and scavengers of other reactive oxygen species (source). Although lycopene has limited bioavailability, researchers showed that eating lycopene enriched food, increased its presence in the skin and reduced acne outbreaks (source).
The white part of the watermelon’s rind contains the amino acid citrulline, which relaxes blood vessels and made headlines when researchers reported it could work in the same way as Viagra. Citrulline is converted by the body to arginine, another amino acid that benefits the circulation system.
There are additional benefits in watermelon from vitamin B6, which actually helps metabolize those aforementioned amino acids. It also promotes the immune system (source).
When it comes to watermelon’s role in skincare, there is an interesting study published in Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine where the researchers isolated two citrullusides from watermelon pulp. The study concluded that they act as free radical scavengers to alleviate UV-induced aging of the skin.
Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research tested watermelon extract for antioxidant effects. Lycopene was extracted from the red pulp of watermelon and incorporated into a skin care formulation.
There’s also plenty of anecdotal evidence. In Korea, watermelon rind has traditionally been used to comfort aggravated skin, reduce redness, calm inflammation, and supposedly speed up the cell turnover process. Watermelon seeds contain ceramides, essential for healthy skin.
Watermelon can be found in Teri Love Supernal Exfoliating Gel Mask & Scrub ($60 in the shop), Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Moisture Cushion Oil-Free Moisturizer ($60 in the shop) and Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster ($68 in the shop).
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