Pomegranate fruit extract (PFE), from the tree Punica granatum, contains several polyphenols and anthocyanidins (pigment that gives certain fruits their dark red colour), which has been reported to contain higher antioxidant activity than that of red wine and green tea.
The fruit is in high demand by the international food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries for its high antioxidant levels and according to consultancy group Maximixe, expectations are backed up by the trend towards natural beauty from within supplements and cosmetic products.
“There is a significant increase in exports to Hong Kong, and a consolidation of shipments to Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Indonesia and Malaysia,” say analysts.
Pomegranate popularity in cosmetics
Recent studies have suggested that extracts from pomegranate may protect the skin from the detrimental effects of UV exposure, offering interesting dietary approaches to prevent skin wrinkles.
In fact Korean scientists at Hallym University say that ellagic acid from the fruit may prevent the degradation of collagen in human skin cells, which would maintain skin structure and slow the formation of wrinkles.
Studies with hairless mice showed that the polyphenol prevented the thickening of the skin on exposure to UV radiation.
The researchers used human skin cells (keratinocytes) and human fibroblasts, which produce the extracellular matrix and collagen in the skin. The cells were exposed to UV-B radiation and ellagic acid.
Results showed that the polyphenol attenuated the UV-B-induced toxicity of these cells, while also preventing the degradation of collagen that is associated with wrinkle formation.
The results tapped into the growing awareness of the link between diet and health, and by extension physical appearance, means that many consumers are receptive to the concept of 'beauty from within'.