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The Amazing Blueberry

Tables

  • Positive Effects on the Skin

    Positive Effects on the Skin

    Activity

    Molecule Effects

    Action on the skin

    Vaso-protective

    Anthocyanins

    • Protect fine capillaries
    • Minimize facial redness

    Antioxidant

    Anthocyanins

    • Scavenge free radicals
    • Prevent premature skin aging
    • Inhibit lipid peroxidation
    • Rehydrate, increase suppleness
    • Prevent the production of elastase

    Iron-chelating

    Quercetin, Myricetin

    • Neutralize free iron
    • Prevent premature skin aging
  • Negative Effects on the Skin

    Negative Effects on the Skin

    Cellular
    component

    Damage caused by free radicals

    Effect on the skin

    Collagen

    Degradation of collagen

    Loss of suppleness and dehydration

    Lipids

    Lipid peroxidation

    Citrin (yellowish) coloration

    Mitochondria

    Loss of capacity to produce energy

    Lack of tonicity

    DNA

    Alteration of DNA

    Premature skin aging and skin cancer

By: Ada Polla Tray
Posted: June 6, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Blueberries have made it into the consumer media and even popular advertising campaigns as a healthful fruit to eat. They are filled with antioxidants and are colorful, round and delicious. The V. myrtillus L. fruit, known as the bilberry, or blueberry, has powerful protective properties that have been known—and utilized—since the Middle Ages, and it has been described in literature since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, blueberries are claimed to be “the most powerful antioxidants of all.”1

However, there still is limited awareness of the potential benefits of blueberries to the skin. Several compounds—in particular, polyphenols, including anthocyanins and resveratrol, and iron chelators, such as quercetin and myricetin—have been isolated from the berries and leaves of the V. myrtillus L. plant and identified as beneficial to the skin. Blueberries exert various therapeutic effects, which essentially can be broken down into three categories: vaso-protective activity, or the protection of cutaneous capillaries; antioxidant activity; and iron-chelating activity for additional antioxidant and anti-aging effects.

Vaso-protective activity

Flushing, rosacea and facial redness are a result of the dilation of fine capillaries located just beneath the epidermis. Although there is no cure for rosacea, there are a number of preventive measures that enable better control of the symptoms and minimize facial redness. Any product that promotes the health of capillaries, delaying their dilation and eventual collapse, can contribute to the management of these symptoms.

Blueberries play a role in alleviating flushing symptoms. They tighten and protect fine capillaries, thanks to anthocyanins,2 and thus are ideal in products that target redness-prone skin. The vaso-protective effects of blueberries began to be described in the 1960s, when the fruit’s capillary resistance and permeability first were analyzed. Since then, further research has confirmed that blueberries increase capillary resistance.3

Antioxidant activity

The fact that antioxidants are essential in maintaining the skin’s youthfulness is now a well-established concept. The key purpose of these substances is to neutralize reactive oxygen species, including free radicals, which are caused primarily by excessive UV exposure.