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Berries in the Spa

By: Laura Carson Miller
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
woman smelling berries

The buzz about berries is everywhere, on radio and television, in newspaper and magazine articles, and in health food and grocery stores. Everyone knows fruits and vegetables are essential to optimum health and well-being, but a deeper understanding of how and why berries can improve our skin and aid in healthy aging is worth a closer look, especially for skin care professionals.

While spa clients are likely aware of the nutritional rewards provided by strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, imparting wisdom about some of the lesser-known varieties of berries serves a dual purpose—learning about how eating these berries promotes good health and offering knowledge on how these tasty fruits support clear, glowing, radiant skin. See Loaded Berries for more information on berries’ bountiful health benfits.

“Eating berries provides the skin with powerful antioxidants to help the skin protect itself from the outside elements,” according to Jeannette Graf, MD, a leading skin science expert and board-certified clinical and research dermatologist. “Berries are one of the top beauty foods with their vibrant colors and nutrient dense phytochemicals.”

New berries on the block

The goji and açai berry have been two of the more popular berries included in supplements and skin-related products during the past few years, and after hearing about their considerable benefits, it’s not hard to see why.

The goji—pronounced go-gee—berry, which is sometimes referred to as a wolfberry, is native to certain remote regions of China, Tibet and Mongolia, and has long been used in Chinese medicine. Rich in antioxidant properties, it has one of the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity, or ORAC, ratings. ORAC ratings are a method of measuring antioxidant activity in any substance, and the higher the ORAC score, the more efficient the food is in wiping out free radicals and slowing the aging process. Goji berries are also chock full of vitamins B and C, as well as polysaccharides, which bolster the immune system.