You may not have heard about ellagic acid but it’s commonly added to skincare products.
It’s a naturally occurring polyphenol (which basically means it has a lot of the aromatic compound, phenol in it), that can be found in a variety of foods.
What is ellagic acid?
Okay, lets get to the crux of article. What is it?
It’s most potent property is its antioxidant nature and that’s exactly why its used in skincare. It’s known as a natural UV protector and helps to defend the skin by absorbing ultraviolet radiation.
A 2018 study which reviewed clinical studies to evaluate the use of different natural products in treating hyperpigmentation, including ellagic acid, found it showed promise. However, the long term efficacy is still questioned.
What are ellagic acid sources?
It mostly comes from nature and that includes berries and pomegranates.
Ellagic acid can also be found in plants, where it provides defence against bacterial and fungal pathogens.
Is it vegan?
Given that most of its sources come from plants and fruit, it is safe to say most formulation will contain a a version of the acid that is vegan.
What are it’s uses and potential side effects?
Ellagic acid is such a powerful antioxidant it has been studied to understand the extent of its anti-cancer benefits.
In fact this 2014 study found that ellagic acid has multiple pathways and can be used as a dietary agent for preventing and treating many common forms of cancer. So, we know why it’s used in supplements.
The question is can it do the same as a topical skincare ingredient? While we can’t be 100% sure it prevents skin cancer, this 2010 study, showed that it can prevent collagen destruction and inflammatory responses caused by UV‐B.
That is nothing too scoff at.
In terms of side effects, it doesn’t seem to have many. It’s only major misfortune, is that is is easily eliminated from the body, when consumed.
Repair Food Dr Barbara Sturm
- fungal-acne safe
Ishida, K., Sato, Y., Egawa, M., & Takeuchi, K. (1992). U.S. Patent No. 5,141,741. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Hollinger, J. C., Angra, K., & Halder, R. M. (2018). Are Natural Ingredients Effective in the Management of Hyperpigmentation? A Systematic Review. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 11(2), 28–37.
Zhang, H. M., Zhao, L., Li, H., Xu, H., Chen, W. W., & Tao, L. (2014). Research progress on the anticarcinogenic actions and mechanisms of ellagic acid. Cancer biology & medicine, 11(2), 92–100. https://doi.org/10.7497/j.issn.2095-3941.2014.02.004
Bae, J. Y., Choi, J. S., Kang, S. W., Lee, Y. J., Park, J., & Kang, Y. H. (2010). Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV‐B irradiation. Experimental dermatology, 19(8), e182-e190.
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