Summertime is my favourite season. It’s for  sweet, juicy fruits. You see them sitting in a bowl on your kitchen table waiting to be eaten. Fruits are a delight. It’s not without reason that people say “the cherry on top of the cake”. And apples, if eaten one a day keeps the doctor away. Then you have strawberries as symbols of romance. But the plum remains unnoticed, even though it packs a punch.

Did you know these purple-hued fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals but have less sugar than many other fruits? Probably what plums (and prunes) are best known for is that their good for your digestion. But it turns out they are great for your skin too.

A little bit about the fruit

The official scientific name of the plum is Prunus. It’s medium-sized stone fruit, so called, because all its varieties have a stone in the centre of the fruit. There are over 2000 different varieties. You see fruits with dark purple-red skin with yellow flesh inside or green-yellow in colour.

Plums, photo by Julian Ackroyd

Plums belong to the Rosaceae family. This means its siblings are fruits like peaches and apricots but also almonds. The tree grows to about 10-15 metres tall.

Did you know that the plum tree was domesticated in China more than 2,000 years ago? These were the fruits that Confucius praised in his writings. From there they were brought to Japan, Europe, and the USA. Now, they’re cultivated all over the world.

They flower in different months depending on the region. It can be as early as January in Okinawa (Japan) and as late as April in Germany. Hence, when the plum starts to bloom, it symbolises the sun’s comeback after winter.

Characteristics and properties

Depending on the region, the fruit has different characteristics. They can be round or oblong with a crease running down on one side. The fruit is green when young. You can find ripe fruits with yellow or dark red to purple or black skin. The inner flesh ranges from creamy yellow to crimson red. It has a tart to sweet taste. You may find the skin especially tart.

When it’s fresh, you call it a plum, but it can also be dried like raisins, and then you call it a prune. Plums are highly nutritious. It’s rich in fibre and contains many important vitamins and minerals while having less sugar than many other fruits. The dried prunes offer the same long list of health benefits, just with more sugar.

Plums are known as a heart-healthy superfood. They have similar maybe even higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries. Here is a short overview of its nutritional profile.

They offer several types of antioxidants, such as

  • Vitamin C
  • Tocopherols (vitamin E)
  • Carotenoids (that your body converts into vitamin A)
  • Anthocyanins

Vitamin C helps your body build muscle, form blood vessels, recover, and is beneficial for your eyes as well. Speaking of your eyes, carotenoids are great for maintaining healthy eyesight and preventing age-related degeneration.

Plums are a rich source of insoluble dietary fibres. These are prebiotics that serves as a food source for the good probiotics in your gut.

They’re filled with a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals such as

  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin K

These are great to maintain bone health. All in all, plums support your immune, digestive, and reproductive systems, as well as eyesight, and heart, lung, and kidney health.

Plums are great for your skin

As it turns out, the same properties that make plums so healthy for your overall health translate splendidly to skin care. Plums are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that maintain healthy, radiant, and youthful skin.


The very vitamins that are so important for

  • Eye health
  • Immune system
  • Reproductive system
  • Heart, lung, and kidney health

Can be found in plums. That’s the vitamin A, which is considered by many as the holy grail in skin care. It has several roles

  • It can normalise how cells function so that they behave in a younger way (think more youthful skin)
  • Decreases sebum production can so help reduce spots
  • It can also even out skin tone by normalising the enzyme tyrosinase that’s needed in the production of the skin pigment melanin
  • It helps stimulate the fibroblasts that are responsible for producing collagen and elastin so that your skin remains firm and bouncy

Improve your complexion

The vitamin C in plums not only boosts the immune defence of your body. It also helps your body produce collagen. And, it helps lift and reduce dark spots. Vitamin C reduces your skin’s ability to produce melanin. The result is that you get an overall more even skin tone.

Protect your skin from being damaged by the sun and the environment

Antioxidants are important in your diet and your skin care as they can help prevent oxidative stress in your cells. This is what happens when you’re exposed to pollution, sunlight or breath in cigarette smoke.

Then, your body makes free radicals, which cause oxidative stress, which in turn can damage the cells. Translated to your skin, you may see sagging, leathery skin or fine lines.

The antioxidants present in plums can not only ward off free radical damage, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties and can calm down irritated skin.

How to add the fruit to your regimen

Just like green tea or grapes, you can get a lot of benefits by eating or applying plum on your skin.

Plums can be found in all kinds of colours, so you can think of them as an element to add to the “eat your rainbow of colours” diet. You can eat them fresh when it’s the season or as dried prunes.

You can use plums in your kitchen for their sweet and tart flavour. You can enjoy them in your salad or eat them baked.

If you want to add them to your skin care, look for “Prunus domestica” in the ingredient list. You can find all kinds of products, from serums and moisturisers to face packs formulated with plums.

How to select and store

Depending on your region, fresh plums are available from May to October. Select fruits that are blemish-free (pun intended!) and then look plump. Select plums that have an even colour and smell sweet. They should give a little to your touch.

If your plums are slightly soft to the touch put them in the fridge so that they don’t over-ripen. You can keep them for about 2 or 3 days. Slightly hard (not green and rock-hard), plums can be kept at room temperature until they completely ripen.

When you want to eat them, bring them back to room temperature. This brings out their rich aroma.

Closing words

Plums are good for everyone. It supports your overall health many ways. But regarding your skin, having a product with plums is especially beneficial

  • For lines and wrinkles
  • To plump up the skin
  • To revive dull, aged, or lifeless skin
  • To even out skin tone
Save Edible Skin Care: Plum Is The Fountain Of Youth for later

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