Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit -- a welcome addition to every barbecue. It's perfectly sweet and hydrating (thanks to its high water content)!
But did you know that watermelon also has a variety of healthful benefits for your skin, including properties that help make skin look younger, firmer, and more vibrant?
It's true! Watermelon fruit extract and watermelon seed extract are excellent skin moisturizers, and they're found in a variety of skincare and cosmetic product formulations - for very good reasons.
One of the major reasons you’ll find watermelon extract in skincare products is the antioxidant properties found in the extract.
There are two types of aging that we all experience: chronological aging, as in “we’re getting older every day.” The other type of aging is called “photoaging,” which has nothing to do with how old we are, but it can make us look a lot older than our actual age.
Photoaging comes mostly from exposing your skin to sunlight - the UV rays, both UV/A and UV/B, produce what are called free radicals. These are molecules with only one atom instead of two, so they’re quite volatile and they can damage the molecules around them.
Another source of photoaging is oxidative stress, which happens when oxygen in the air and in our bodies mix with those unpaired atoms, and cause damage to our skin cells. Sunlight and its harmful UV rays isn’t the only culprit. The pollution in the air, along with smoke, dirt, and other toxins also work to help form free radicals and oxidative stress, causing damage to our skin cells.
The damage can be quite severe, starting at the cell’s membrane and working its way down to the cell’s DNA and mitochondria, which causes the cells to lose proteins like collagen and elastin. The loss of protein causes skin to sag and lose elasticity, firmness, and radiance.
Antioxidants work to fight off those free radicals and oxidative stress, helping your skin rebound from its loss of collagen and elastin, and helping the skin retain its youthful appearance -- no matter your age!
Because watermelon extract is high in vitamin C and E, it is extremely useful as an antioxidant because of those vitamins’ abilities to penetrate the skin due to their small molecular weight.
Studies have shown that antioxidant protection is much higher when the vitamins C and E are used together, rather than vitamin C or E alone.
Our bodies produce some antioxidants on their own, but unfortunately, they can’t produce them fast enough or in enough quantities to make a full impact on those free radicals. That’s why watermelon extract is so important as an ingredient in skincare products. It supplements what our bodies simply can’t produce.
While powerful antioxidant properties are at the top of the watermelon extract’s list, they have many other benefits as well. Watermelon extract is a remarkable moisturizer and is used as a key ingredient in emollients.
Watermelon contains lycopene which is is a potent anti-inflammatory carotenoid (in addition to also being an antioxidant). Watermelon extract has far more lycopene than tomatoes, and is an excellent source of other nutrients.
Containing lycopene is important, but watermelon extract has a high bioavailability of lycopene, which is what makes watermelon extract useful in the anti-inflammatory process. Because the body can quickly gain access to the anti-inflammatory properties of the lycopene in watermelon extract, it is often a key ingredient in many products designed for soothing skin.
Watermelon extract contains minerals potassium, which helps prevent muscle spasms when pain triggers certain nerves. Minerals are used by the skin for many different functions, so nourishing extracts offer many benefits.
Watermelon also has vitamin B6, helping to support the body’s natural nerve pathways. The extract also contains vitamin A to help fight off infections. Vitamin A has also been shown to have an anti-aging effect and red-fleshed watermelon has an abundance of it.
The vitamins found in watermelon extract are also used in cosmetic products for their ability to soften, moisturize, refresh and smooth the skin. The vitamins and minerals work as a stimulant to skin cells to help revitalize and replenish them.
Watermelon extract includes citrulline -- an important amino acid that helps circulation in the body. Citrulline is an amino acid that the body metabolizes into arginine, one of the key amino acids that the body needs for cardiovascular and immune functions. It has also been shown to be a free radical scavenger, boosting its antioxidant properties.
Because of the high water content of watermelon, it works great at hydrating the body and therefore the skin as well. So why not just drink a glass of watermelon juice or eat a slice of watermelon to get the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits it offers?
While its an amazing fruit full of nutrients, when you ingest watermelon, as well as pretty much any product that has antioxidant benefits, you lose a good deal of the beneficial properties. The body metabolizes the watermelon and most of it ends up going to other organs within the body.
Only a very small percentage, usually 1% to 3% ends up making their way to the skin, where it needs to be to work its magic. That’s why it’s great to use it in products as a topical application as well.
Probably the best way to utilize watermelon extract for its health benefits is to do both: eat the fruit and drink the juice for its cardiovascular protection and nourishment, and apply it topically to gain the benefits of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
By using its powerful antioxidant properties, watermelon extract helps your skin look its best. Skin cells damaged by external factors such as UV rays need help to regain their collagen and elastin proteins in order to prevent skin sagging and hyperpigmentation, also known as age spots.
The best way to prevent photoaging is to use sunscreens with effective SPF numbers, 15 or higher, and wear clothing that protects the skin from direct exposure to sunlight. All of the antioxidant properties in the world can’t do what simple prevention can do for the skin.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of products containing watermelon extract can help restore the skin to a more vibrant, firm, and youthful glow. The benefits of watermelon for skin are varied and will help you achieve the goal of looking your best.