Stop me if you have heard this “fruits are bad for you because they’re full of sugar”. Well, yes, fruits are full of sugar but they also contain many other goodies. Just look at the lucuma fruit. It’s so cherished, it’s even called “Gold of the Incas”. And with you also got a hint from where this super fruit is coming from: South America.

Lucuma, photo by OtterAM

Now, why is lucuma so special that you’d want it in your skin care? That’s because it’s packed with carotenoids and vitamin B complex among other things and so can aid regenerate cells for your skin. More about that a bit later.

What is lucuma, exactly?

The “Gold of the Incas” is a subtropical fruit growing in the mountainous Andes region, that is Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Lucuma, pronounced loo-koo-ma, is a staple food for people in the valleys of the Andes. It was first discovered by European conquistadors in Ecuador during the 15th Century. Today it remains a popular food throughout South America but it’s still fairly unknown to the rest of the world.

The botanical name of “Incan Gold” is Pouteria lucuma. It’s an evergreen tree that grows up to 20 m tall. If you look at its fruit, you might think it’s a cross between an avocado and a mango. It has green skin like the avocado and vibrant orange flesh like the mango. But when you cut it open, you’d be surprised by its textured in that its dry flesh is similar to the yolk of a hard-boiled egg – creamy but dry, and a little crumbly. That’s why lucuma also goes by the name eggfruit.

When you taste the fruit, you might think it’s a sweet potato topped with maple syrup or caramel. Hence, it’s served fresh or used to spice up dishes. Ice creams, milkshakes, juices, and dulce de leche desserts flavoured with lucuma are very popular.


Lucuma is the typical fruit that people say is bad for you. Although it’s deliciously sweet, it has a low glycaemic index. This means it aids in preventing fluctuations in blood sugar levels when eaten.

It’s also crammed full of minerals iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc as well as vitamin Bs and C. Not to mention that lucuma is bursting with antioxidants such as polyphenols and carotenoids. Lastly, it also contains dietary fibres.

It’s no wonder lucuma is processed into a powder that people then use instead of sugar as a natural sweetener in baked goods, juice, and smoothies. I mean, wouldn’t you also substitute it if you know that one tablespoon of lucuma powder contains 75% less sugar than table sugar?

Compared to known super foods like turmeric, green tea, or broccoli research is still ongoing. But one study found that thanks to its antioxidant content, lucuma may ward off chronic inflammation fight free radicals, and promote skin, eye, and immune health.

Parts used

Lucuma is a pitted fruit, so what’s normally eaten is just the flesh and discard the skin as well as the seed. But the seed also has value, since lucuma seed oil can be derived from it. The lucuma nut oil was found to speed up wound healing and promote skin healing.

The leaves are also useful. They were used to treat worm infections or as a textile dye.

Skin benefits

Although fresh lucuma (or lucmo in Spanish) is difficult to obtain outside South America, it is widely available in a convenient powder form. When you eat it fresh or in powdered form, lucuma can help you combat signs of ageing caused by oxidative stress. This is when free radicals are formed in your body when you’re exposed to pollution or too much sun.

When your body has an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants, it’s in oxidative stress which in the end can speed up the ageing process.

Ward off environmental damage

Packed full of antioxidants such as carotenoids, polyphenols, and vitamin C, lucuma can help protect your skin against damage caused by free radicals.

The carotenoids are said to improve the effectiveness of sunscreens. Research has found that taking beta-carotene as a daily supplement helps to reduce the type of oxidative damage triggered by UV rays, thus actively preventing sunburn.

Encourage cell repair and growth

The flesh of lucuma is a bright yellow-orange. That’s thanks to the carotenoids that get converted into vitamin A in your body or when it hits your skin. Once converted, they encourage cell repair and growth, visibly improve skin tone and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Moreover, lucuma contains vitamin B3 (niacin) and several other B vitamins. These also stimulate cell re-growth. This is important both for wound healing and sagging skin.


The people living in the mountainous Andes region have used lucuma for skin wounds and abrasions for centuries. It’s known for its outstanding anti-inflammatory qualities.

Fade dark spots

Since lucuma contains vitamin C, which is both an anti-oxidant and anti-tyrosinase, using it can both prevent sun damage as well as even out skin tone. Vitamin C messes with the enzyme tyrosinase. This enzyme is needed when your skin makes the pigment melanin.

Lucuma also contains vitamin B3 (niacin). This vitamin targets dark spots on the skin as it can help break down excess melanin.

Where to find lucuma

Unfortunately, lucuma doesn’t travel well, which is why it’s difficult to get as fresh fruit. If that doesn’t deter you, your best bet is to find it in powder form or as lucuma nut oil. Lucuma powder is easily available online and in many health food stores.

Beauty brands have also discovered what lucuma can do and so you can find skin care products formulated with it.

How to enjoy lucuma powder

Lucuma is both deliciously sweet and has an indulgently rich and creamy texture. This combination makes it irresistible in juices, smoothies, shakes, and protein drinks. Or you can add it to your desserts like puddings, cakes, creams, and cookies. The only limit is your creativity.

Feel free to tell me in the comments if you want ideas for face packs.

Keep Your Skin Bouncy With Lucuma

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