Pineapple is a tropical fruit that’s loaded with health benefits.
It’s rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water but low in calories, making it an ideal snack.
Due to the fruit’s nutritional and antioxidant content, some people have also tried eating it or applying it to their skin to boost their skin health.
This article reviews the benefits of eating pineapple for your skin, as well as the benefits and downsides of applying pineapple directly to your skin.
Eating pineapple for skin health
Pineapple contains a powerful enzyme called bromelain, which is responsible for many of the fruit’s health benefits.
It’s also one of the main reasons pineapple is claimed to be good for your skin. Studies have shown that bromelain has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
One study in 8 people with pityriasis lichenoides chronica (PLC), a chronic skin disease that causes small, scaling, raised spots on the skin, noted that supplementing with bromelain daily for 3 months reversed the condition without causing any side effects.
Pineapple’s vitamin C content may also promote skin health. One cup of pineapple contains 88% of the daily value for vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
Vitamin C has several properties that may benefit your skin health:
- Promotes collagen production. It encourages the production of collagen, a protein matrix that gives your skin its structure while maintaining its plasticity.
- Has antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help prevent damage to skin cells caused by free radicals. These are unstable compounds that can be harmful when present at high levels.
- Aids wound healing. It may help promote wound healing by supporting the production of new skin cells.
That said, you’d likely need to eat a large amount of pineapple alone to notice a difference in your skin. Instead, try including pineapple as just one component of a healthy and balanced diet.
Summary: Pineapple is rich in bromelain and vitamin C, which may help promote skin health. To reap these benefits, include pineapple as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Benefits of applying pineapple topically
Some people use pineapple topically by applying the fresh fruit directly to their skin or making homemade face masks or serums.
More commonly though, people purchase skin care products that contain pineapple extracts or bromelain.
Some evidence suggests that bromelain may be beneficial when applied to the skin.
One test-tube study indicated that a bromelain face wash could inhibit some acne-causing bacteria.
Furthermore, a 12-week study of 11 people who used pineapple extract cream twice daily noted that it significantly reduced skin irritation, melasma (sunspots), and oil production on the skin compared with a placebo.
That said, this does not apply to fresh pineapple, as the pineapple extract cream used in the study was specifically formulated to be applied to and absorbed into the skin.
Summary: While pineapple-derived skin care products may benefit skin health, fresh pineapple may not have the same effects.
Downsides of applying fresh pineapple to the skin
Bromelain is a strong enzyme and a fairly common cause of skin irritation, such as a slightly swollen tongue or redness around the mouth after eating pineapple.
Most of the studies on the efficacy of pineapple or bromelain have used concentrated pineapple extracts — not fresh pineapple. These extracts deliver much higher doses of bromelain to the skin.
It’s unlikely that applying fresh pineapple to your skin will provide any noteworthy benefits.
The bromelain dose would likely be too low to provide skin benefits but enough to cause skin irritation. Fresh pineapple also wouldn’t be easily absorbed into the skin.
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Alternatively, try using skin care products made with pineapple extracts or bromelain.
These products are formulated to be absorbed into the skin for maximum benefit, and they’ll contain more effective doses of bromelain — usually in an irritation-free formula.
Summary: Applying pineapple directly to the skin is becoming increasingly popular, but it may not be effective due to a low dose of bromelain and poor skin absorption. Plus, it may cause skin irritation.
The bottom line
Pineapple is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and the enzyme bromelain — all of which may improve your skin health.
However, applying it directly to your skin may not exert noticeable benefits and may cause skin irritation.
If you want to experience the benefits of topical pineapple, try specially formulated skin care products made with bromelain or pineapple extract rather than applying fresh pineapple to your skin.