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The Awesome Skincare Benefits of Elderberry

August 22, 2020

The Awesome Skincare Benefits of Elderberry

You may recognize elderberry as an immunity-boosting superstar. But in addition to keeping your body healthy and strong, the elderberry packs amazing skincare benefits. 

Elderberry is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory making it a powerhouse for fighting free-radical and environmental damage from things like UV rays and pollution. It’s also high in vitamins A, C and E. These all help to decrease the signs of aging like fine lines, dark spots, and sagging skin.

Red on for the skin-loving deets and break down of the skincare benefits of elderberry.

What is Elderberry?

Elderberry is a medicinal plant used throughout history by everyone from Ancient Egyptians to Europeans to Native Americans. Scientifically called Sambucus berries, elderberries, (also known as elderflower) belong to a genus of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae.

Elderberry has been used for everything from treating pain to decreasing inflammation and swelling. These days, you're most likely to see it used to combat a cold or the flu, as it boosts the immune system. 

The History of Elderberry

Elderberry has been used in folk remedies throughout history. In the Middle Ages, it was considered a sacred plant, capable of maintaining and restoring good health and aiding in longevity.  Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the Father of Medicine, described the elderberry plant as his medicine chest. 

All parts of the elderberry plant were considered valuable for their healing properties. The flowers were used topically to tone and soften the skin and lighten freckles or spots. The juice from the berry was made into a salve to aid in wound care and healing.

The Properties of Elderberry

Elderberry has five distinct properties that make it such a powerhouse ingredient in skincare and your overall health in general. The main properties elderberry brings are:

  • Antiviral
  • Diuretic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immunity-boosting
  • Antioxidant-rich=

Nutritional Value of Elderberry



305 kJ (73 kcal)


18.4 g

Dietary fiber

7 g


0.5 g


0.66 g


79.80 g

Vitamin A equivalent

30 μg (4%)

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

0.07 mg (6%)

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

0.06 mg (5%)

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

0.5 mg (3%)

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

0.14 mg (3%)

Vitamin B6

0.23 mg (18%)

Folate (Vitamin B9)

6 μg (2%)

Vitamin C

36 mg (43%)


38 mg (4%)


1.6 mg (12%)


5 mg (1%)


39 mg (6%)


280 mg (6%)

One ounce of elderberries (28 grams) contains 20 calories, 5.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.1 grams of total fat. Other nutrients in elderberries include the following-

  • 1 milligram of vitamin C (17% of the daily value)
  • 168 IU of vitamin A (3% of the daily value)
  • 1 milligram of vitamin B6 (3% of the daily value)
  • 4 milligrams of potassium (2% of the daily value)
  • 4 milligrams of iron (2% of the daily value)

Elderberry in Skincare

There is scientific evidence supporting the skincare benefits of the elderberry. One study found that it helps fight off the effects of aging by improving microcirculation. This is the circulation of the tiniest blood vessels. 

Additionally, elderberries are rich in antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, and anthocyanins. These powerful antioxidants provide protection from the free radicals just waiting to wreak havoc on your skin. Elderberry is also rich in vitamin A, as well as vitamins C and E, all skincare powerhouse ingredients.

What are the skincare benefits of elderberry?

Elderberries are nutrient & antioxidant-rich, making them ideal for use in skincare. Some of the skin-boosting nutrients found in elderberries include bioflavonoids, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, pectin, and tannins. These give the elderberry its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. 

Let’s take a closer look at what this fruit can do:

Elderberry helps protect against UV damage.

The following compounds in elderberry make it a powerful protector when it comes to the sun's harmful UV rays.


Studies performed in cell culture, animals, and humans show that treatment with certain flavonoids can minimize adverse skin reactions caused by UV rays.


Photo-aging is the number one problem caused by too much exposure to the sun. Signs of photo-aging include freckles, liver spots, and uneven skin texture.

Photo-aging usually shows up on the most visible part of your skin; the areas most exposed to UV rays - your hands, neck, arms, and face. The phenolics found in elderberries help protect your skin from the damage caused by photo-aging.


Studies show that anthocyanins have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. This makes them beneficial in guarding your skin against the sun damage contributing to skin aging and cancer.

Elderberry helps fight wrinkles.

Elderberry is rich in bioflavonoids which help prevent wrinkles from developing on your skin. Elderberries are also mildly astringent. These astringent properties cause your skin to tighten, reducing the size and appearance of your pores for a firmer complexion.

Elderberry helps fight acne and breakouts.

The antimicrobial and antifungal compounds in elderberry make it ideal for fighting acne. Elderberries help your skin balance out excess oils. This helps to prevent breakouts and keeps your skin healthy and clear.

These anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties also help reduce swelling and calm the skin. Elderberry is a powerhouse for oily skin types or people prone to breakouts.

Elderberry smooths and softens skin.

Lipids are your skin's natural fats. They play a vital role in your skin’s health. Lipids are crucial for maintaining your skin's protective barrier. This barrier keeps out dirt, impurities, and helps protect your skin from damage.

The three most important lipids for your skin are ceramides, fatty acid, and cholesterol. The structure of the elderberry is very similar to your skin’s own cholesterol. Because of this, elderberries support the healthy function of the lipid layer. A stable, healthy lipid layer means smooth, soft skin. 

Who can benefit from using skincare products with elderberry?

Products with elderberry excel when it comes to fighting acne and aging. But, almost everyone can benefit from incorporating elderberries into their skincare routine. The hefty dose of antioxidants brings benefits no matter what your skin type or skin concern.

However, because it affects the immune system, people with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus should check with their doctor before using elderberry. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also steer clear of the ingredient.

What are the health benefits of elderberry?

The berries and flowers of the elderberry are full of antioxidants and vitamins that boost your immune system. They can also help tame inflammation, lessen stress, and help protect your heart. Experts recommend elderberry to help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms. The following are some of the health benefits of elderberry:

Improves digestive health.

Elderberries like most fruits, are good sources of fiber and can enhance digestion. The fiber in elderberry makes it ideal for treating digestive issues like constipation, upset stomach, gas, and bloating.

Stabilizes blood sugar.

Reports suggest that elderberries can help lower blood sugar levels, aid in the treatment of diabetes. But, studies are limited and we advise you to talk to your doctor first.

Strengthens bones.

The calcium, iron, and potassium in elderberries strengthen bones and increase bone mineral density. Additionally, the anthocyanins in elderberry may even prevent bone loss.

Supports weight loss.

Like we discussed before, elderberries are rich in fiber. Fiber improves satiety and can keep you full longer, aiding in weight loss.

Good for your heart.

Elderberries are rich in potassium and can help regulate blood pressure. They ensure that your blood vessels relax. And a diet rich in potassium reduces strain on the heart. Elderberries also help regulate cholesterol levels and boost circulation. And elderberries contain anthocyanins, which protect blood vessels from oxidative stress. This ultimately improves circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Good for your hair.

Besides their amazing skincare benefits, elderberries are great for your hair as well. Elderberry can treat split ends and encourage hair growth.

Helps vision health.

Rich in vitamins A and B6, elderberries can help prevent vision problems like glaucoma and macular degeneration. The antioxidants in the fruit also help maintain vision health long-term.

Good for your brain.

The anthocyanins in berries (including elderberries) can help treat cognitive impairment and the resultant conditions like Alzheimer’s. Elderberries are also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid critical for brain health. Quercetin reduces the harmful inflammation and activates the mitochondria in your cells. This results in a powerful boost in brain cell health.

Elderberry is a powerhouse when it comes to its many health and skincare benefits. In addition to helping you maintain a strong, healthy body, elderberry keeps your skin healthy, clear, and radiant. To battle breakouts and help decrease the signs of aging, add elderberry into your skincare routine today.