Welcome to our series "Buzzy Beauty Ingredient of the Moment," the premise of which is pretty self-explanatory: In each installment, we'll explore an ingredient that's currently trending in the industry, springing up in a variety of different products lining the beauty aisle. We'll consult experts to find out about the science behind it — and why it's having a major moment right now.
Just because temperatures are rising (for both seasonal and climate change reasons, don't @ me) doesn't mean you should stop moisturizing. But switching up your moisturizer for the hotter months doesn't have to be a daunting, capital-P Process. Cue: watermelon. Specifically, watermelon fruit extract.
The pink summertime cookout staple has been popping up in a slew of skin-care products lately, from Glow Recipe's full, beloved line of watermelon-based products to Milk Makeup's Insta-worthy brightening serum stick. But what does it actually do to skin? As someone who loves both face masks and watermelon-related things (eating an entire toddler-sized watermelon by myself in one sitting, Beyoncé lyrics, Jolly Ranchers), I had to find out. So I asked a couple of dermatologists to share their thoughts about the ingredient.
But first, a quick rundown of the claims beauty brands make about watermelon: The words "brightening," "hydrating," "soothing" and "moisturizing" get thrown around a lot. So what is the truth? "Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants, like vitamin A, vitamin C and lycopene. The pulp is loaded with water and is ultra hydrating for dry skin," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Watermelon may be useful for preventing free radical damage from UV light and other environmental exposures, as well as brightening and evening complexions and promoting healthy collagen production."
Dr. Annie Chiu, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist, relates watermelon's recent rise to the general proliferation of Korean beauty products in the U.S. "Watermelon is the latest skin-care craze from Korea; people tend to jump on board because Korean brands like to include cutting-edge ingredients in their products," she says. "It's very hydrating since it's more than 90 percent water and is also rich in citrulline, an amino acid that binds with water and acts as a natural exfoliator."
So overall, she's a fan — for now. Dr. Chiu does note that more research needs to be done on the fruit to see just how beneficial it is in terms of skin care, especially when it comes to lycopene, which reportedly "provides protection against free radicals and oxidative damage."
Watermelon fruit extract has popped up in a variety of different products, but Dr. Chiu advises to go with your personal preference in terms of formula; do you prefer using a mask or a cream? You should absolutely look out for products that have watermelon fragrance in them, though. "Make sure you source your watermelon skin care from a clean source and beware of a product that contains a watermelon smell; fragrance is not what you're looking for, as it's probably synthetic and could contain ingredients that do more harm than good," she cautions.
One reason watermelon extract may be appearing more commonly in the skin-care aisles is that that it pairs well with just about any other topical ingredients and doesn't interfere with the efficacy of them. That also means you can work it into your existing routine pretty seamlessly.
So is watermelon skin-care just another way to suck millennials in with pink-hued products? Eh... maybe. Yes, the subject could certainly use a bit more research, but with the information we know now, the bottom line is that it probably won't hurt.
On that note, we've rounded up 21 watermelon-spiked creams, serums and masks to make your skin-care routine a little more fruity. Click through the gallery below to see 'em all.
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