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How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

What are the benefits of fruit extracts in skincare? The experts explain

Why your favorite fruits might make great skincare ingredients.

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Curology Team
Nov 18, 2022 · 7 min read

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Fruit Extract Skincare
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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  3. > What are the benefits of fruit extracts in skincare? The experts explain

We all know fruit is good for our bodies, but did you know it can be great for your skin, too? When you combine nutrient-dense fruit extracts with research-backed, effective active ingredients, your skin can reap the benefits, from hydration to brightness, smoothing, and more. Certain fruit extracts for the skin contain antioxidants¹ that may help improve your skin for the glow-up of your dreams. (Just a heads up, though: Research on this topic is limited, so keep your eyes peeled for updates!) 

Wondering if eating fruit helps, too? While we totally support getting your vitamins in from fresh fruit (and it’s delicious), the truth is incorporating more fruit into your daily diet is unlikely to directly impact your skin in a significant way. 

Are fruit extracts good for the skin?

While they’re relatively new to the skincare scene, fruit extracts may be beneficial in up-and-coming skincare products. Again, research is limited, but we do know many fruits offer antioxidant properties and vitamins, like vitamin C, that has been proven to help improve tone, texture, and brightness. That said, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is unique, which means exactly how fruit extracts work on the skin may differ from person to person. 

Here are a few that stand out from the rest of what you’ll find at the fruit stand: 

Prickly pear extract

prickly pear fruits field

The seeds of the prickly pear, which grows on cactus, contain oil that’s rich in fatty acids, vitamin E, phenols, antioxidants, and phytosterols. This extract is becoming more common in skincare products for a range of skin types, including dry skin and acne-prone skin. Some of the potential benefits include the following: 

  • Antioxidant:² Prickly pear extract contains antioxidants that may help to shield skin from damage due to sunlight and other environmental stressors. 

  • Antibacterial: This fruit extract may help to fight certain bacteria. In theory, this may help prevent acne breakouts, but more research is needed. 

  • Effective carrier oil: One study found that prickly pear oil improved the delivery of vitamin A,³ the active ingredient in retinol and tretinoin. 

  • Hydrating: Prickly pear extract’s high linoleic acid content⁴ may help hydrate the skin.

Mango extract

mango tropical fruit field

A favorite of many, mango is full of vitamins C, A, and E, beta-carotene, potassium, and polyphenolics.⁵ It’s also non-comedogenic (aka it doesn’t clog pores) and may benefit the skin in the following ways: 

  • Brightening: In theory, the vitamin C and other antioxidants in mango extract may help fight dark spots, signs of aging, and free radical damage.

  • Anti-aging: Mango extract may help soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, although more research is needed.⁶  

Orange peel extract

orange peel on a table

Orange peel extract, which comes from the fruit’s rind, also has a range of potential skincare benefits, thanks to its high concentration of vitamin C, calcium, B vitamins, and zinc. This ingredient may help your skin in the following ways: 

  • Fading hyperpigmentation (PIH): The vitamin C in orange peel extract may help fade dark spots

  • Tightening pores: In theory, the vitamin C in orange peel extract may also enhance the skin’s collagen production, which may help improve the appearance of pores over time. 

  • Anti-inflammatory: One study found that orange peel extract may help to improve inflammation.⁷

Fig extract

fresh ripe figs on a field

When it comes to natural fruit extracts for the skin, fig extract is an antioxidant powerhouse. They are provided by phenolic compounds and antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids. Here are a few reasons you might want to add fig extract to your routine: 

  • Hydration: A study has shown that fig extract can improve the skin’s hydration values and reduce trans-epidermal water loss.⁸ 

  • Fighting hyperpigmentation: The regular application of fig extract may decrease the skin’s melanin, which may reduce the appearance of dark spots

  • Reducing oiliness: Fig extract may contribute to a reduction in skin sebum. 

Apple Extract

bunch of red apples with leaves

You know what they say: An apple a day might keep the (skincare) doctor away. Apple extract’s vitamins and minerals (including vitamins A and C) might be just what your dermatology provider ordered. Here are a few of its potential benefits: 

  • Hydrating: In theory, apple extract’s high water content and vitamin E may boost your skin’s moisture levels. 

  • Protection: Apple extract contains phenolic acid, a compound that may provide skin protective benefits.⁹ 

What are the disadvantages of fruit extracts?

Worried about side effects? Applying fruit extracts to your skin may result in a few potential negative reactions. Of course, this will vary from person to person!  

  • Skin irritation: Fruit extracts may cause minor skin irritations like dryness, redness, and peeling, and these effects can be worse if you have sensitive skin. 

  • Phytophotodermatitis: Phytophotodermatitis is a skin reaction to citrus fruits that happens when the treated skin is exposed to UV rays. It can manifest as redness, swelling, and blistering. 

  • Sunburn: Applied topically, some fruit extracts, like citrus fruit extracts, can increase your risk of sunburn. Avoid applying these ingredients before spending time outdoors.

Extracts we like

If you're in the market to try a skincare that combines fruit extracts with other helpful ingredients, Curology’s dermatology providers compiled a few products  for the lips and face: 

Customized skincare by Curology

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Signing up is easy. Just answer a few questions and snap a few selfies to help us get to know your skin better. If Curology is right for you, one of our in-house dermatology providers will create a personalized Curology formula that targets your specific skin goals. They’re always available to answer any questions you may have.

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FAQs

Are fruit extracts good for the skin?

While they’re relatively new to the skincare scene, fruit extracts may be beneficial in up-and-coming skincare products. Again, research is limited, but we do know many fruits offer antioxidant properties and vitamins, like vitamin C, that has been proven to help improve tone, texture, and brightness.

What are the disadvantages of fruit extracts?

Worried about side effects? Applying fruit extracts to your skin may result in a few potential negative reactions. Of course, this will vary from person to person!  

  • Skin irritation: Fruit extracts may cause minor skin irritations like dryness, redness, and peeling, and these effects can be worse if you have sensitive skin. 

  • Phytophotodermatitis: Phytophotodermatitis is a skin reaction to citrus fruits that happens when the treated skin is exposed to UV rays.

  • Sunburn: Applied topically, some fruit extracts, like citrus fruit extracts, can increase your risk of sunburn.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Sivamani, RK., Maibach, HI. Fruits are rich in antioxidants and ripe for topical therapy. J Dermatolog Treat. (2009).

  2. Koubaa, M., et al. Seed oil extraction from red prickly pear using hexane and supercritical CO2: assessment of phenolic compound composition, antioxidant and antibacterial activities. J. Sci. (2017).

  3. AlZahabi, S., et al., Nanostructured lipid carriers incorporating prickly pear seed oil for the encapsulation of vitamin A. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. (2019).

  4. Al-Naqeb G, Fiori L, Ciolli M, Aprea E. Prickly Pear Seed Oil Extraction, Chemical Characterization and Potential Health Benefits.Molecules. (2021, August 19).

  5. Lauricella, Marianna, et al. Multifaceted Health Benefits of Mangifera indica L. (Mango): The Inestimable Value of Orchards Recently Planted in Sicilian Rural Areas.Nutrients. (2017, May 20).

  6. Song, Jae Hyoung, et al. Protective effect of mango (Mangifera indica L.) against UVB-induced skin aging in hairless mice.Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine: Volume 29, Issue 2. (April 2013).

  7. Gosslau, A., et al., Anti-inflammatory effects of characterized orange peel extracts enriched with bioactive polymethoxyflavones. Food Science and Human Wellness. (2014).

  8. Khan, H., et al. Effects of Cream Containing Ficus carica L. Fruit Extract on Skin Parameters: In vivo Evaluation. Indian J Pharm Sci. (2014).

  9. Boo Y. C. Can Plant Phenolic Compounds Protect the Skin from Airborne Particulate Matter?. Antioxidants. (2019).

Donna McIntyre is a board-certified nurse practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA.

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

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