We modern people have all the conveniences and innovations one can think of. We don’t need to forage ingredients and make them into our beauty lotions and potions. Yet, nature is the richest treasure trove for our beauty needs. She inspires the many brands along with their researchers to formulate products that help us achieve our skin goals. Take the raspberry. It can help you get a clear, firm, and even complexion.
The raspberry is one of the fruits that naturally produce salicylic acid, a classic ingredient for fighting breakouts. The other fruits are blueberry, apple, avocado, and strawberry. Perhaps the plant best known to make salicylic acid is the willow tree.
Even if it carries “berry” in its name, the raspberry is technically speaking not a berry but an aggregate fruit. Just like the strawberry. For botanists, a berry is a fruit grown out of the ovary of a single flower. This means that an eggplant, cucumber, or a banana is a berry – but what even carries berry in its name is not.
The fruit that we associate with the raspberry is known as red raspberry. In all, there are more than 200 varieties of raspberries, ranging from black to purple, yellow, and white. Some varieties are more popular in other parts of the world, but the red raspberry is the most common, for eating and also as skin care ingredient. The scientific name of the red raspberry is Rubus idaeus.
The raspberry belongs to the Rosaceae family. This means it’s related to roses, apples, cherries, and almonds. It can be found on both sides of the pond, both in Europe and North America.
It’s grown for fresh consumption as well as to be processed into a variety of foods such as jams, juices, pures, and wine. Interestingly, it’s not only the fruits that have a use. The leaves were extensively used in folk medicine to assist many aspects of health, from supporting digestion to morning sickness. They also have their uses in modern Western science. In more recent times, cold pressed raspberry seed oil is making headlines as a powerful antioxidant agent.
Depending on the raspberry variety, its colour can be white, yellow, red, all the way to black. Each colour variety brings its own unique profile of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Since the red berry is the most common, I’ll only be talking about its nutritional profile and what it can do for you.
The red raspberry is just like the strawberry and the blueberry an excellent source of antioxidants. The antioxidants present include vitamin C and E, beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, ellagic acid, and anthocyanins, the pigments made famous bay acai and blueberries. But wait the list goes on: It also contains
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B9 (Folate)
- Vitamin K
And as already mentioned, it also contains salicylic acid.
The red raspberry leaf is also considered beneficial as it contains many nutrients and minerals including
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
It contains a broad mix of health promoting substances like tannins, polypeptides, and flavonoids. The tannins are natural antioxidants, for example, ellagic acid. Flavonoids in the plants are responsible for
- Producing the yellow, red/blue pigments so that the plant can attract pollinator animals
- Are involved in UV filtration
The raspberry seed oil is a rich source for vitamin E and alpha linoleic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. Alpha linoleic acid is essential because our bodies can’t make it and we have to obtain it through our diet. Eating foods containing alpha linoleic acid is linked to better heart health. Alpha linoleic acid is anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant.
What does it do for your skin?
Eating red raspberries is a great way to get vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and the beneficial anthocyanins into your system. Our bodies purposely produce free radicals to fight bacteria and viruses. It also produces some antioxidants naturally to neutralise the free radicals so that the levels of free radicals don’t get too high.
If the levels of free radicals get to hit, it can trigger a chemical reaction, oxidation that triggers a chain reaction that may damage the cells of your body. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E or anthocyanins can neutralise the free radicals and so prevent these chain reactions.
You can also apply the raspberry directly to your skin and help it reduce the effects of the sun and pollution on your skin. Free radicals are also formed when you’re exposed to the sun or air pollution and this has effects on your skin you don’t want like accelerating the ageing process. Responding to pollution or the sun depletes the vitamin E and C reservoirs in your skin.
Speaking of the sun and premature ageing, The raspberry is rich in ellagic acid. This antioxidant has been shown to help prevent collagen degradation and inflammation following continued exposure to UVB. Other research suggests it has photoprotective effect. Good news, since it means it can help your skin to better deal with molecular damage caused by UV exposure.
Since raspberry contains salicylic acid, rubbing your face with it can help you clear your skin and refine your pores. The vitamin C will help you lift the dark spots left behind by the zits.
Thanks to the tannins, the red raspberry leaf is mildly astringent. These tannins can help stimulate skin regeneration. They can mess with the enzymes in your skin enzymes that lead to discolourations and loss of firmness.
Raspberry seed oil
Raspberry seed oil is an excellent source for vitamin A and E. Both are antioxidants and mop up free radicals that speed up skin ageing. While vitamin A is the classic anti-ageing ingredient since it encourages healthy skin cell regeneration and growth, vitamin E soothes, reduces scars and the appearance of skin damage, and replenishes collagen levels.
A study done in 2000 found that can absorb UVB and UVC sun rays. But since it doesn’t offer much against UVA, you still need SPF. On a side note, UVA makes up to 95% of UV rays.
The raspberry fruit, its leaves, as well as the seed oil are great for your skin. You’ll most often see raspberry fruit extract and the seed oil listed in the ingredients. The leaf, fruit, and seed oil can be used by all skin types.
Regardless if you use the leaves, fruits, or seed oil, it has many super powers for your skin. It can help keep your skin clear, looking younger and feeling healthier.