Remember how your grandma used to say to look no further than the kitchen pantry for things to take care of your skin woes? Your kitchen is full of seemingly humble, but wonderful ingredients to help you take care of your skin and health.
A typical example is the fruit pomegranate. Did you know it’s not only refreshing in grenadines but can also spice up your salad and add flavour to chutneys? They play a big role in the kitchens of the Middle East, India, and the Caucasus.
The pomegranate was also used as a natural remedy for centuries, even millennia. It has also been used as a dye. It makes a yellow dye that’s used for Moroccan leather. And now it’s making a big wave in the beauty industry.
A little bit of background
The juicy, delicious fruit is one of the world’s most ancient fruit. It has a long and rich history. It’s believed that pomegranate has originated in ancient Persia and then made its way to the Mediterranean and then spread to India and China.
Pomegranate is derived from the medieval Latin words “pomum” (apple) and “granatum” (seeded). Funnily enough, depending on where you are or what language you speak it’s also called Chinese apple. Though its scientific name is always punica granata.
The fruit is tough and leather outside, but once split open, it contains many many small edible seeds called arils.
This is the reason why in China it’s a symbol of fertility and you often see them given as wedding gifts. Pomegranates contain hundreds of seeds and that’s what one wishes the couple: that they may be blessed with many offspring.
The peak season for pomegranate varies with your location. You may see it in supermarkets anywhere between September and February in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also grown in the Southern Hemisphere and there the peak season is March to May.
Traditional Asian Medicine
In Ayurveda, pomegranate has extensive uses. It’s used in formulations to help with
- Weight loss
- Lowering blood pressure
- And more
Modern science has shown that it really helps in promoting blood circulation, regulating blood pressure, and improving the immune system. It basically is a functional food. Eating it helps has positive effects on health beyond basic nutrition so that it has earned its moniker as super food or super fruit.
Why is pomegranate used in skin care?
Sometimes, you’ll find pomegranate extract and at other times is pomegranate seed oil as an ingredient. It’s the arils that contain all the goodies such as antioxidants, minerals, and fibre.
Several studies have shown that it can speed up wound healing, and help to repair sun-damaged skin. In short, it can help keep your skin healthy and looking youthful.
Since it contains a lot of antioxidants it protects your skin against premature ageing caused by free radicals. It contains vitamin C and other antioxidants such as anthocyanins, tannins, and ellagitannins.
This powerful cocktail is your ally in neutralising harmful free radicals present within the body and the environment. By mitigating the amount of oxidative stress in your skin, it can reduce the signs of skin ageing caused by sun damage and exposure, such as wrinkles and fine lines.
These 3 types of antioxidants are also known to be anti-inflammatory. Despite all the bad press about inflammation, it’s not always a bad thing. It’s a natural defense mechanism of your body. Inflammation is its way of protecting itself against injury and infection.
It turns bad if your body is constantly stressed out and inflamed. If the inflammation in your skin becomes chronic, it can contribute to anything from premature ageing to chronic diseases such as skin cancer.
If you’re suffering from dry skin, pomegranate products may seem like a heaven send. With its nutrient profile – it contains punicic acid and oleic acid, it can penetrate pomegranate extract can penetrate into your skin. The fatty acids act as penetration enhancers while being creating a slow-drying film.
The abundance of Vitamin C of vitamin C, it has up to 50% of your recommended daily intake, means pomegranate-based products promote smooth and firm skin. Vitamin C is key for collagen and elastin production.
Not only can pomegranate boost the production of the proteins that keep your skin firm and taut, but it can also prevent the breakdown of collagen. The fruit helps in stimulating the cells found in the outer layer of your skin, the so-called keratinocytes. All of which together suggest that it may promote your skin’s ability to regenerate itself.
How to use it?
You can eat it, drink it, or make it into a DYI skin care product. Pomegranate is a great culinary treat. It jazzes up many dishes while delivering a health and beauty boost. If you don’t have the time for some DYI, you can find it in products from toner to creams and SPF.
If you’re up for DYI, why not try a pomegranate face mask? You’ll need
- 1 tablespoon organic honey
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate paste (just blend the arils into a paste)
Mix both ingredients doggier until you’ve got a smooth paste. Apply it to your face and neck (and chest area if you so wished). Let it sit for 30 minutes then rinse off and follow up with your usual routine.
How to pick the right pomegranate
Of course, a fruit tastes best when it’s ripe. It also has the most nutrients both for culinary as well as beauty purposes when ripe. So here are some criteria to help you find a ripe pomegranate
- The rounder the pomegranate is, the less ripe they are. You want to find a pomegranate that is slightly square. That’s because the arils are full of juice and pressing against the wall of the fruit.
- The outer skin, the rind should be in a dark red hue. The darker the colour, the sweeter you can expect the pomegranate to be.
- Look at the little petal-shaped crowns on the top of the fruit. If they’re turned inward, your fruit is ripe
Ok, the next two ways of checking a fruit may not be really recommendable in our times with Covid:
- If you rub the fruit and it feels smooth, it’s suitable for consumption
- If you try to scratch the skin of the pomegranate with your fingernail but are not able to, then put it into your shopping cart
- If the pomegranate is ripe, it’s full of juice and so will feel heavier in your hand
Even if the pomegranate is considered a super food, there are still limitations. That’s why it’s essential to eat a wholesome and balanced diet.
If you want to use it in your skin care, it’s suitable for normal and combination to dry skin. Products containing it can help in repairing, rejuvenating, and replenishing your skin.
Do you want to know more DYI recipes with pomegranate? Let me know in the comments.
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