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Strawberries are richly endowed with polyphenols, polyphenolic acids, anthocyanins, and flavonoids, along with an array of vitamins and minerals. These bioactive compounds and nutrients exhibit different beneficial properties that can do wonders for your overall health.
The high antioxidant content of these berries makes them especially good for your skin. Studies show that antioxidants change the very nature of how your cells work for the better. They indeed hit the core! (1)
But do strawberries make your skin youthful, impeccable, and shiny? Well, research on the dermatological benefits of this fruit is not extensive, but there seem to be some perks of including them in your regular diet and skin care regimen.
How Strawberries Benefit the Skin
Here are the most important and popular beauty benefits of strawberries and how to make the most of them.
1. Prevent premature aging
Premature aging is characterized by wrinkle formation, sagging of skin, skin discoloration, age spots, and accentuation of fine lines across the forehead. But what exactly causes your skin to age before its time?
The answer is increased oxidative stress due to a variety of factors, including unprotected sun exposure, smoking, poor diet, and pollution, among others. All these things release reactive, harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals within your body that attack healthy tissues and cause cellular damage, even destroying your basic DNA, which can lead to cancer.
Free radicals destroy the healthy fats (liquid peroxidation) and structural protein inside your skin, causing loss of volume and elasticity, which make your skin loose. Saggy skin is more likely to crease, which triggers the early onset of wrinkles and fine lines.
How strawberries help
Strawberries are rich in dietary polyphenols, and their extracts show potent antioxidant properties as studies have shown that strawberry consumption tends to lower the damage done by the increased number of reactive oxygen molecules.
Various studies have been conducted in this regard, and they have found that strawberries increase the enzymes that fight these bad oxygen molecules by stimulating your genes to produce them.
Mitochondria are very tiny factories that reside within most of the cells of your body, and they participate in decreasing oxidative stress. Guess what, strawberries tend to increase the number of mitochondria in cells. (2)
2. Maintain the skin’s integrity
The structural integrity of your skin is maintained by protein fibers that lie deep within your skin (dermis), namely, collagen, elastin, and fibrillin.
These proteins fibers are produced by cells called fibroblast cells, and they remain entangled in a mesh. As long as your fibroblasts cells function effectively to maintain this mesh, your skin remains young and taut.
How strawberries help
Strawberries do not make your skin taut directly, but they protect fibroblast cells from getting damaged and increase their viability. This property of strawberries is attributed to their polyphenolic and flavonoid content.
Studies have shown that when fibroblast cells are subjected to oxidative stress and inflammation followed by incubation with strawberry extracts, they tend to not only recover any damage but also increase in number. (3)
Healthy fibroblasts also mean that your body recovers from wounds and scars more effectively and quickly.
3. Control inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response of your body toward invading pathogens, such as acne-causing bacteria, wounds, and bruises, or could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as rosacea, acne, urticaria, and psoriasis.
Skin inflammation is characterized by reddening of the skin (erythema), pain, itching (pruritus), and in some cases by a stinging or burning sensation.
At the cellular level, certain chemicals such as e-selectins and C-reactive proteins, which are also called inflammatory markers, also tend to increase within the blood.
How strawberries help
C-reactive proteins are quite useful biomarkers of any underlying inflammation, and research has shown that strawberry-based interventions are associated with a decrease in these proteins rather significantly. (4)
It has also been suggested that strawberries can reduce the symptoms of inflammation such as pain by blocking the activity of certain enzymes (Cox-enzymes) that tend to promote it. (5)
Moreover, strawberries can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders by lowering tissue inflammation.
4. Protect from the sun
The sun supports all life on this planet, but much like everything else, it has both a good and a bad side. Frequent, prolonged, and unprotected exposure to the sun can even prove fatal.
The UV part (particularly UVA) of solar radiation may induce an anomalous production of reactive oxygen species, which can interact with the important machinery of your cells and damage them, leading to oxidative stress, causing inflammation, and altering the way your cells work.
These effects can cause skin photoaging, hyperplasia, and sunburn and can damage your DNA, which leads to cancer.
How strawberries help
Strawberries are rich in flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, carotenes, vitamins, and phenolic acids such as gallic acid. These bioactive compounds that are believed to protect your skin from solar damage as shown by research. (6)
Both topical application and dietary intake of strawberries have been associated with decreased susceptibility to sun damage such as sunburns, solar lentigines, and freckles, which can be both painful and aesthetically concerning.
5. Fight bacterial skin infections
Staphylococcus and streptococcus bacterial groups are the most notorious when it comes to skin infections. They can be present on your skin all the time, but they cause infections such as acne when they infect and colonize your hair follicles.
Once their habitat is established, they will feed on the sebum and cellular debris that collect on your skin and grow in number, ultimately leading to a full-blown skin infection.
How strawberries help
Strawberries have been studied for their antibacterial activities, and it has been shown that they exhibit potent inhibition of these two nefarious bacterial groups, among others. (9)
Strawberries also inhibit the growth of bacterial strains that upset the stomach, (10) and a properly functioning gut is key to healthy and clear skin. These properties can be traced back to the phenolic compounds and tannins found in strawberries.
Add to that the antioxidant nature of strawberries, which is a boon for your immune system. Antioxidants not only help your body fight infections better but also curb the harmful activity of free radicals, which induce oxidative damage on healthy cells to trigger a number of ailments.
6. Eliminate mild skin buildup
Your skin might appear the same, but it is a very dynamic organ. There is a constant production of new skin cells way below the surface of your skin and shedding of the old and dead ones at the surface.
Often, this sloughing off is not carried out very neatly, thereby leaving a clump of dead cells behind that attract dirt and infections. This can make your skin dull, discolored, and dirty looking.
How strawberries help
Strawberries owe their mild acidic properties to the ascorbic acid, salicylates, and ellagic acid present in them. This chemical profile makes strawberries a good candidate for exfoliating dead skin cells and any mild skin buildup off your skin.
Strawberries also help restore your skin’s natural pH, which is slightly acidic. Acidic skin deters the growth of infection-causing microbes, whereas alkaline skin promotes it. So, the topical use of strawberries can impart some much-needed acidity to your skin to keep infections such as acne at bay.
Some Anecdotal Beauty Benefits of Strawberries
Aside from the ones mentioned above, other skin-enhancing benefits of strawberries have become extremely popular among general users.
It is important to note that there is no research or scientific data that support these claims, and some might even consider such claims as false. Thus, the following uses of strawberries may not produce guaranteed results, but they are completely safe to try.
1. May lighten and even the skin tone
It is believed that the mild acidic content of strawberries can help even the skin tone by fading mild blemishes. However, these acidic properties are not strong enough to work on deep scarring or severe hyperpigmentation such as melasma.
2. May reduce puffiness of the eyes
Strawberries contain natural compounds known to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects that can help get rid of under-eye puffiness. Plus, the astringent nature of these berries can aid in bringing down the swelling around the eyes without irritating the delicate skin in that area.
3. May help control excessively oily skin
The high vitamin C content of strawberries makes them an excellent ingredient for face masks, especially the ones used for addressing oily skin.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that nourishes, strengthens, and revitalizes the skin. Plus, its acidic properties help mattify greasy skin by removing excess sebum from its surface and pores.
How to Reap the Beauty Benefits of Strawberries
The following are some common ways in which you can reap the benefits of strawberries for beauty enhancement.
1. Include strawberries in your diet
Most of the work that has been done and described above on the dermatological benefits of strawberries are of two types: either they are studies conducted on cell cultures in a controlled and rather simple environment (compared to the complex environment of the human body) or they are trials with models based on the oral intake of strawberries, in the form of supplements or as an addition to the general diet.
So, it can be concluded that consuming strawberries seem to be the most effective way to reap their benefits.
You can eat them raw (of course after washing them thoroughly) or you can add them to your meals such as oatmeal, breakfast cereal, or fruit salads. You can also prepare strawberry shakes or smoothies.
2. Prepare DIY masks
There has been some work on the topical application of strawberries to take advantage of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory chemical profile, but more research is warranted.
Strawberries, nevertheless, seem to be safe for topical usage, and you can prepare DIY masks with them.
Caution: To avoid allergic or sensitivity reactions, conduct a patch test before using strawberries in your masks.
- Most basic remedy: Slice a strawberry in half and gently massage its inner flesh over your face, neck, hands, and other exposed areas of the skin. Let your skin soak in its juice for 10–15 minutes before washing the treated skin with cool water.
- Antiaging face mask: Mash a handful of strawberries to fill half a cup. Add 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of milk cream to it, and mix all the ingredients properly to form a thick paste. Smear this paste all over your face and neck. Let it sit for 20–25 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water, and then pat your skin dry.
- Strawberry scrub: Mash a few ripe strawberries. Put in 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of pure olive oil, and then mix all the ingredients to make a smooth paste. Rub the paste onto your body using gentle pressure and circular motions. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then wash it off. The most convenient time to use this scrub is before taking a bath.
- Puffy eyes: Keep 1–2 big-sized strawberries in the refrigerator for 20–30 minutes. Cut the chilled berries into chunky slices. Lie down or rest your head on your bed rest/chair, and place the slices over your eyes. Let the coolness and antioxidants seep into your skin for 10–15 minutes. Finally, take off the slices and splash your face with cold water to remove any residual juice from your skin.
3. Buy strawberry extracts-based products
Several strawberry extracts-infused skin and hair products can be purchased in beauty stores or online. Some of them are:
- Strawberry glossing shampoo
- Sleeping masks with strawberry extracts
- Hair serums infused with seaberry and strawberry extracts
- Strawberry face scrub
- Facial moisturizers or hydration serums containing strawberry and hyaluronic acid
- Strawberry-based cleaning sheet masks for your face
- Strawberry and CoQ10 based sunscreen
- Strawberry and mint body wash
- Strawberry perfume oils
Can Strawberries Be Applied to Fungal Infections to Treat Them?
Strawberries do possess antifungal potential, but it is mostly known to inhibit the growth of fungi that infect plants. (11)
The antifungal property of strawberries is not strong enough to work against fungi such as candida and aspergillus, which are known to cause infections in humans.
Therefore, using strawberries to treat conditions such as ringworm or dandruff might not prove very effective.
Strawberries can improve your skin through multiple mechanisms: by curbing free radical-induced oxidative stress, inhibiting skin infections, balancing your skin pH, and many others. They are generally safe for all skin types, so you can go ahead and add them to your skin care regimen.
But topical use alone may not provide you all the benefits that this fruit has to offer. It may be wise to include them in your daily diet, along with other nutritious foods that can nourish, repair, and rejuvenate your skin from within.
Bear in mind that no single ingredient can address all your skin problems, so it is important to manage your expectations. The idea is to optimize the healing potential of this nourishing fruit as part of an overall wholesome skin routine and healthy lifestyle.
Always conduct a patch test before trying any new topical remedy to avert any adverse skin reactions later. Also, give the remedy time to work. You can’t expect radical results with just one use. You must use it several times before the results begin to show.
Plus, everyone’s skin is different. One remedy may not have the same effect on everyone; it may work better for some than others. But you can rest assured that the remedies mentioned in this article will not cause any harm.