Summer is here. Seriously. The days are gloriously long and the sun is bright. We spend more time outdoors, splashing around in the sea or pool. For the less lucky ones, it may mean working with air-con. Sun, heat, and air conditioner sound like the deadly combo that makes your skin act up. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Just think of the summer staple, the watermelon.

I’m currently eating a slice of watermelon to beat the summer heat and quench my thirst. Guess what? It has zillions of benefits inside and out. Your probably not going to be surprised to know that watermelon has long been used in Asian skin care for it was known to reduce redness and inflammation as well as repair the skin. In recent years beauty brands have embraced the fruit, making all kinds of products with watermelon.

A little bit of background

Like the name suggests, the watermelon is cultivated for its high water content. It’s grown and then stored so that people had a food and water source in the dry season.

Watermelon, photo by Rameez Sadikot

The scientific name of the watermelon is Citrullus lanatus. It’s part of the Cucurbitaceae family, so it’s related to plants like cucumber and pumpkin.

What makes the watermelon so sweet

Every part of the watermelon, not only the pulp but also the rind and the seeds. If you’re eating a watermelon, don’t throw out the rind since it can calm down your skin after too much sun.

In honour of its name, watermelon is made of 92% water. It’s an excellent source of antioxidants including carotenoids and antioxidant vitamins as well as a range of vitamin Bs. It also contains minerals such as magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc.

The pulp

That’s what we typically think of when we think of the watermelon. Eat (and of course you can also apply) the pulp for skin longevity.

As an excellent source of antioxidants, you can tackle ageing caused by environmental stressors. As you know, there are 2 kinds of ageing. The first one is what we all experience. It’s chronological ageing, getting older bit by bit day after day.

The second one is by being exposed to the sun or pollution. Photoageing is when you’re exposed to the sun. When UVA and UVB rays hit your skin, free radicals are formed. These compounds are unstable and can trigger a chain reaction that ultimately can cause damage to your cells. If you’re exposed to pollution and cigarette smoke can also trigger the formation of free radicals and cause oxidative stress that can lead to damage at cell level. It can be quite severe, disrupting the cell’s membrane and going all the way down to the cell’s DNA and mitochondria.

Antioxidants are your reliable helpers as they float around in your body and scavenge the free radicals. In doing so they can halt the chain reaction that leads to damage at the cell level. But it’s just the start.

Watermelon contains lycopene. This compound is a bright red carotenoid found in tomatoes, carrots, goji, and watermelon. Not only is lycopene an antioxidant, it’s also known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Vitamin C present in watermelon helps to keep your skin firm for longer. It stimulates collagen formation and so improves fine lines. It’s also vital for wound healing.

In summer, it’s hotter right? The heat tends to make you sweat more and with it more oil and higher rate of skin cell production. This is the infamous trio: Mix sweat, oil, and dead skin cells and in the best case, your skin just looks a dull but in the worst case you get breakouts. Watermelon contains malic and citric acid. Both help to slough off dead skin cells. Especially malic acid is great in that it won’t make your skin feel tight and it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin types.

The rind

If you love the taste of watermelon, it would be a genuine pity to not use the rind after eating the pulp. The green outer shell – the rind can help you soothe irritated and angry areas.

I still remember how my granny used watermelon rind to comfort rashes, insect bites, and sunburns. We ate the pulp and used the rinds – rubbed the insides on our skin to reduce redness and inflammation. It gave instant relief and also sped up cell turnover.

My grandma would also use the rind (the whites) and place it on her eyes, just like cucumber slices.

So, you got 3 ways to use the rind. Firstly and probably the easiest way is to cut off the pulp to expose the white rind. Then rub the white rind everywhere you want. The second way is slice the rind into thin pieces so that you can place them on your face, eyes, or other areas. Thirdly, after eating or removing the pulp, cut the rind into small pieces and pop it into a blender to make a paste. For an added cooling effect, you can pour the paste into an ice tray and freeze it. When you need it, take one watermelon rind cube out and rub it where needed.

The seeds

Just as valuable are the seeds. They contain like other seeds protein, fatty acids, and ceramics. These help seal in moisture in and plump up your skin. If you don’t like them in the pulp, all the more reason to take them out and make something tasty that also helps your skin.

After taking out the seeds, let them dry, then roast them in a pan. You can store the roasted watermelon seed in an airtight container. Whenever you feel peckish, you got a skin-enhancing snack. You can also sprinkle the roasted seeds and spruce up your salad.

How long until you see an effect

It going to be a matter of seconds. For immediate soothing effect after an insect bite, you may notice quite immediately that your skin is less irritated. If you’re looking for firmer and more youthful complexion, you have to be consistent and use your watermelon product daily for at least 30. That’s because your skin cells turn over at an average rate of 30 days.

Who can and should use water-melon infused products

Since watermelon is basically water (92% to be precise), it safe for all skin types and everyone can use it. It’s anti-inflammatory and when you place it in the fridge, it’s refreshing, which we all need in the summer to alleviate stressed skin.

Calming, Cooling, Soothing Watermelon

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