Pineapple: The Yellow Berry
The fruit-based skincare trend is not dying any time soon. Last summer it was all about watermelon but this summer pineapple is the new “It Girl” of skincare. You guys know how much we love a good DIY (ahem, yogurt mask!) but pineapple is not that chick! You do not want to just smash pineapple and slap it on your face and we’ll explain why.
Pineapple is the common name of Ananas comosus, a member of the plant family Bromeliaceae. Pineapple isn’t a single fruit but rather a ton of tiny berries fused together. There are more than 100 different varieties of pineapple, but only eight varieties are grown commercially. Pineapple is the leading edible member of the family Bromeliaceae, grown in several tropical and subtropical countries including Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, India, and China. It has been used as a medicinal plant in several native cultures. There have been several studies on the use of bromelain for nasal swelling and inflammation and for removing dead skin from burns. Little research has been done on other uses of bromelain (including cosmetic uses). However, several dermatologists are touting the potential skincare benefits of bromelain enzyme rich pineapple extract.
The vitamins in pinapple include; vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, and folate. Minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, sodium, and magnesium are also found in pineapples. Therefore it is high in AHAs (exfoliate and stimulate the collagen production), enzymes (exfoliation), and antioxidants (fights free radicals). It can be very irritating and drying for all skin types but particularly those with sensitive and/or dry skin. So always patch test any product or DIY (not that we recommend those) you try that contains pineapple and/or pineapple extract. Anyone using products with pineapple and/or pineapple extract should follow-up with a hydrating serum and or moisturizer; preferably one high in hyaluronic acid or polyglutamic acid. As previously mentioned, the star ingredients in pineapple are definitely the Bromelain enzymes.
Bromelain belongs to a group of protein digesting enzymes obtained commercially from the fruit or stem of pineapple. These enzymes are believed to naturally unclog pores, dissolve blackheads, and brighten and soften the skin. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits that could contribute to a reduction in acne-related redness and swelling . The antioxidants (vitamins C & E and beta-carotene) in pineapple can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C also helps with collagen formation, which is a common protein in the body that gives the skin its strength and structure.
While pineapple extract might be high in vitamin C, it should not be considered a vitamin C treatment. Pure ascorbic acid and/or l-ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) has a lower molecular weight allowing it to penetrate to the inner most layer of the skin and functionally change the texture of your skin. Bromelain’s molecular weight is much higher than vitamin C and as such can not penetrate beyond the outermost dead layer of skin cells (i.e. it’s a superficial exfoliator). Over time bromelain enzymes can help lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation but for more stubborn deeply set discoloration you might want to opt for a vitamin C serum instead.
Health Corner: Go Beyond the Surface
One cup of pineapple juice provides 63 percent of an adult's daily needs for manganese, 42 percent of their daily vitamin C, and 10 percent or more of thiamin, vitamin B-6, and folate. Pineapple also contains the following nutrients: potassium (supports blood pressure, cardiovascular health, bone strength, and muscle strength), magnesium (metabolism of food, synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, and the transmission of nerve impulses), copper (helps the body form collagen and absorb iron, and plays a role in energy production), and beta-carotene ( a vitamin a precursor for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health). With high amounts of vitamin C, eating slices of pineapples strengthens the gums, which keeps our teeth healthy and strong. Not only does pineapple whiten teeth, but the enzyme bromelain keeps plaque away and helps fight gingivitis.
Precautions: Some people may experience tenderness or discomfort in the mouth, lips, or tongue after consuming pineapple juice due to the enzyme bromelain. Extremely high exposure to bromelain can cause rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea. Bromelain can also interfere with some medications, including some types of the following drugs: antibiotics, blood thinners, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Too much potassium can also interfere with beta-blockers, a medication prescribed for heart disease. People with a latex allergy are more likely than others to be allergic to pineapple. Anyone with a bee allergy should also avoid pineapple due to bromelain causing a potential allergic reaction.
Commercially Available Clean Beauty Options
Here is a how you can incorporate pineapple rich products into your regular skincare routine.
If you insist on doing a DIY, then give these a try!
Pineapple & Turmeric Mask for Acne Prone Skin: In a food processor or blender, grind a chunk of fresh pineapple until it becomes a smoothie-like consistency. To that, add a pinch of turmeric and stir well. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off. Use 2-3 times a week for best results.
Disclaimer: as a reminder for the 50 millionth time, pineapple and turmeric are two very strong ingredients that could irritate the skin individually and even moreso when combined. PLEASE do a patch test before smearing it all over your face and then complaining about skin damage. Please and thank you!
Coconut & Pineapple Mask for Glowing Skin: In a blender or food processor, add 4 slices of fresh pineapple and 2 tbsp coconut milk. Blend until it forms into a smooth paste. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off and pat dry. Repeat 2-3 times a week for perfect, glowing skin.
The coconut will add a good amount of hydration that will help mitigate the acidity of the pineapple. STILL DO A PATCH TEST!
Pavan, Rajendra et al. “Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review.” Biotechnology research international vol. 2012 (2012): 976203. doi:10.1155/2012/976203
"NexoBrid: concentrate of proteolytic enzymes enriched in bromelain". European Medicines Agency. January 7, 2013.