A symbol of fertility and health in ancient times, the pomegranate is becoming today's symbol of a glowing complexion. Thanks to a wealth of natural oils, sun-protective compounds, and vitamins, researchers are now uncovering this seed-filled fruit's potential to promote radiant skin, says Anne Marie Fine, N.M.D., a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, Ariz., who specializes in holistic skin treatment. "Skin is highly susceptible to stress and environmental damage, especially pollution and UV exposure," explains Fine. (UVA rays penetrate the skin and cause wrinkles, dark spots, and skin cancer; UVB rays cause sunburn.) "Pomegranate is a great antioxidant. It can help prevent hyperpigmentation and wrinkles and promotes elasticity." And while all antioxidants have some skin cancer-fighting abilities, pomegranate trumps most other sources, including grapes, blueberries, and red wine. "Pomegranate extract has higher antioxidant activity than green tea," notes Farrukh Afaq, a researcher in the department of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin, who has led several studies demonstrating pomegranate's anticancer potential.
"Pomegranate extract helps to protect the epidermis, or outer layer of skin," says dermatologist Howard Murad, M.D., creator of the Murad product line and a longtime proponent of the fruit for skincare. "It strengthens your defenses even as it fights existing damage." Pomegranate helps soften, protect, and firm the skin, too. "It's a powerhouse," says Fine. The fruit, it appears, is as effective as it is delicious.
Try this homemade moisturizing and exfoliating scrub, created by Tara Oolie of New York City's Just Calm Down Spa, which uses fresh fruits in many of its signature spa therapies. Blended with oil and sugar, the pulp of crushed pomegranate seeds helps buff away rough spots while the juice contains natural acids that speed cell turnover and restore skin's natural glow.
What you'll need:
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Small mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
In a small mixing bowl, combine pomegranate seeds with 1 tablespoon sugar, and crush ingredients together using the back of a wooden spoon until they're well-combined and no whole seeds remain. Add olive oil and 2 more tablespoons of sugar, and blend all ingredients thoroughly.
Standing in a tub or shower, apply the scrub to any rough spots on your body, working from the feet upward and using a circular motion. Rinse and pat dry, and follow with a light body lotion.