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Legend has it that many years ago, a doctor discovered that a certain group of people lived for one hundred years and longer. He found that those people were living next to wells where goji berries grew, and learned that as the berries ripened, they fell off their plant and into the water. The people would the drink the water, and lived to a very ripe old age...
Well, while that story may only be legend, the goji berry, also known as the wolfberry plant, has been used for over 2,000 years in a variety of traditional Chinese medicines. In fact, in the oldest known book on Chinese herbs from around 250 BC, there was information about the goji berry.
The plant produces a bright orange-reddish berry that contains small yellow seeds. It is the fruit of the Lycium barbarum species, a woody shrub that is in the same family as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, nightshade and tobacco. The plant is drought-resistant and grows well in full sunlight.
Goji berries offer many benefits for the body, from prolonging life to strengthening the body. It’s called a “super fruit” due to its high nutritional value, and is an excellent source of vitamin C.
In fact some studies claim that the berries have more than 500 times the amount of vitamin C in oranges. It has earned the nickname “the anti-aging fruit,” although there is little to no actual research to back up claims of increased mortality. It does have some impressize skin benefits, though.
While some are extolling the potential of goji berries as beneficial in treating tumor growth, balancing blood sugar, lowering blood pressure and as a adjunct in cancer prevention, there is no question that goji berries are beneficial to the skin. Many skin care products contain goji berry oil and extract, and for good reason.
In addition to providing a generous boost to the immune system, goji berries (both its seed oil and its fruit extract) are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin E. But they’re also an excellent antioxidant, which is critical to help rejuvenate skin and mitigate the aging process and its impact on the skin.
The berries are non-irritating and help to hydrate the skin. Containing a high amount of vitamin C, which is reported to help with firming and tightening the skin, it also helps to protect the skin from environmental irritants.
But for those who want to tap into goji berries’ anti-aging potential, there is research that found this fruit to be an important element for helping to maintain youthful, radiant skin. That’s why so many skin care formulations incorporate goji berry oil and extract into their products.
So what’s inside this “anti-aging” fruit?
Everyone knows about the benefits of vitamin C, and the goji berry delivers a high amount of this important vitamin. It’s been shown to firm and tighten the skin, while helping to protect it from all the stresses of the environment. One of the key benefits is its ability to reduce the appearance of age spots on the skin.
The goji berry is packed with minerals, including 11 of the key 22 essential dietary trace minerals, which include calcium, potassium, zinc, iron and selenium. While each mineral performs its own actions, together they all help to firm, tighten up, and plump the skin’s appearance. From a tactile point of view, they even help to make skin feel softer to the touch.
To help smooth the skin’s appearance, goji berries contain amino acids, which also helps to improve the skin’s tone and color. Amino acids are non-irritating, and provide improved hydration of the skin. By keeping it moisturized, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Studies have shown that the polysaccharides in goji berries can significantly boost white cell function, helping the body build immunity to degenerative conditions.
The berry gives the skin a healthy glow through an abundance of naturally occurring carotenoids, which are flavonoids including beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and others. These are all act within the body as antioxidants, protecting cells from free radicals that help destroy cellular membranes and DNA within the cell. Carotenoids are particularly beneficial to the body in its fight against cancer.
While there are other components within goji berries, the final showcase ingredient is bioactive polysaccharides, which have substantial antioxidant properties and help firm and tighten skin, while providing extra hydration. In addition to protecting against free radicals, they also help the body defend itself from illness and pollutants by boosting the body’s immune system.
Now, let's look at how these components help benefit you when used in skincare.
One of the biggest benefits of the components of goji berries is its powerful antioxidant ability. This is what helps in the anti-aging process, protecting skin cells from damage due to free radicals and to oxidative stress.
Some studies have shown that goji berry extract boosted the DNA synthesis in various skin cells, offering protection against aging caused by DNA damage from free radicals. It appears that free radicals attack the collagen, which is what helps give skin its elasticity.
The extensive amount of antioxidants in goji berry oil and extract is what helps to protect skin from free radicals, as antioxidants have been shown through numerous studies to slow or even stop the oxidation of other molecules.
Another benefit of the goji berry extract is its impact on the melanin content within the skin, which is involved in skin coloration. It helps to minimize the look of skin-hyperpigmentation as well as uneven skin tone, which is an effect of aging.
An additional benefit is helping to reduce the appearance of age spots, which tend to occur on skin as part of the aging process. They appear as brown, tan or black in appearance, and generally appear on the face, back and hands, as well as other areas of the body.
Age spots are often a result of the overproduction of melanin, which is helped by applying goji berry oil and extract to the skin’s surface. The benefits are derived from goji berry’s high concentration of vitamin C, which has also been shown to help firm and tone the skin.
While many people use the goji berry oil and extract in a variety of skin care products to help protect skin cells from free radicals, many use it to heal damaged skin. Sunlight and UV radiation is the biggest cause of skin damage, and the topical application of goji berry helps to repair the damage caused by UV light. The goji berry has a high level of beta-carotenes, which work to repair and protect skin.
Thanks to recent scientific studies and the use of topical application of goji berry by millions of people, goji berry extract and oils are now found in many high-quality skin care products.
When it comes to purchasing products with goji berry oil and extracts, quality is the key. Products that have high quality, nourishing ingredients that also provide lasting hydration to the skin are ones to look for.
The goji berry extract provides the antioxidant properties that are an integral part of the product’s ingredients, particularly in anti-aging creams and serums. The goji berry seed oil provides antioxidants as well as lightweight moisture, rating a 0-1 on the comodegenic scale (meaning it won't clog pores). The oil's high linoleic content makes it ideal for people with acne and oil-prone skin.
Once you begin to see the benefits of goji berries on skin you’ll want to use the products as part of your regular routine.