We’re used to seeing cranberries at Thanksgiving next to the roast turkey and sweet potatoes but cranberries in skin care is a bit of a new idea. It may surprise you that these deep, red berries, native to North America, have other hidden talents. They have long been used in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections and as a paste to fight wound infections, but it is only recently that researchers and skin care specialists have started taking note of cranberries’ anti-aging powers.
Cranberries are found in skin care most often in the form of either an extract, where the fruit is crushed and steeped in a carrier liquid, or an oil, where the tiny seeds are cold pressed to obtain a golden yellow liquid. The seeds themselves may also be used in skin care products to provide gentle exfoliation.
Like its close cousin the blueberry, cranberries are high in antioxidants and loaded with polyphenols. When applied topically directly onto the skin, antioxidants are able to combat free radicals that can age the skin prematurely and lead to fine lines, wrinkles and the breakdown of collagen.
In addition to an impressive antioxidant punch, cranberries are also:
- Rich in Vitamin A. Their anti-inflammatory properties make cranberries suitable in treatments for acneic skin. You may also be familiar with vitamin A as the source of my favorite anti-aging ingredient, retinoids .
- High in Vitamin E. Also known as tocopherol, vitamin E is a multi-tasker, working as a potent antioxidant to fight free radicals, protect the skin from UV damage, and strengthen the skin’s barrier system by preventing water loss.
- High in Essential Fatty Acids(EFAs). We already know how important omega 3 and 6 oils are for radiant and elastic skin. EFAs have also been shown to lessen the symptoms associated with eczema. What’s unique about the EFAs found in cranberry seed oil is the natural balance between them: a perfect 1 to 1 ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s. This natural balance allows the oil to absorb more easily into the skin, thus maximizing the benefits of the active ingredients and hydrating like no other oil.