The Citrus Ingredients Needed for Great Skin

Seven citrus ingredients to include in your skincare routines // Photo credit: Povareshka/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Citrus is a sweet treat for the senses. The scent and taste help to invigorate the mind, body, and soul, and when applied to the skin in the form of products and treatments, citrus boasts anti-aging and skin-saving benefits, such as brightening the skin, tightening the pores, and increasing radiance. “Citrus fruits are popular because these fruits are not only full of free-radical-neutralizing vitamin C but also for decades have been used in skincare products, because they offer effective and immediate benefits such as glowing, toned skin and brightening in case of hyperpigmentation,” says Szilvia Hickman, owner of Szep Elet, exclusive distributor of Ilike Organic Skin Care. “Citrus-based products are beneficial for use as cleansers. Not only is the scent invigorating, but it can also be an all-over effective revitalizing treatment, followed by a moisturizing mask to tone, tighten, and give skin an extra dose of free radical-fighting vitamin C, resulting in a glowing, brighter complexion.” 

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) really is the key to the many benefits citrus provides the skin. Citrus not only adds a refreshing fragrance to formulations and treatments but it also helps to fight free radicals, repairs and rejuvenates the skin, maintains skin’s elasticity, helps with wound healing, builds connective tissue, provides antibacterial and antioxidant support, boosts collagen production, encourages cell turnover, prevents and reduces pigmentation, and helps diminish and prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and stretchmarks. “Citrus fruits are popular ingredients in skincare today due to their natural ability to brighten the appearance of skin with vitamin C, plus the natural exfoliation they provide from alpha hydroxyl,” says Heidi Ackerman, vice president of marketing at Epicuren Discovery. “You also can’t beat the fresh and inviting scent of citrus oils.” 

In addition, the pith and rind of citrus fruits contain a beneficial vitamin— vitamin P, or bioflavonoids, according to Brian Goodwin, international trainer at Eminence Organic Skin Care. “Vitamin P protects capillary strength while allowing the body to absorb and better utilize vitamin C,” he says. “Citrus fruits also have astringent properties, due to their level of naturally occurring citric acid. Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, which offers pore-refining, tightening, and hydrating benefits to the skin.” Here’s a look at the benefits of some of the most common citrus fruits found in skincare today:

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  • Grapefruit helps brighten and rejuvenate the skin and fight off free radicals for anti-aging benefits. 
     
  • Lemon is among the most acidic of the citrus fruits, but it is highly effective in treating hyperpigmentation and brightening the skin. It also helps fight acne. 
     
  • Lime helps treat dark spots and acne and brightens the skin. 
     
  • Mandarin improves skintone and helps prevent sun damage. 
     
  • Orange is among the least acidic citrus fruits, and it’s great for exfoliating and detoxifying skin to achieve a smoother texture. It contains vitamins C and E as well as antioxidants and zinc, which are ideal for acne-prone or oily skin types. 
     
  • Pomelo contains enzymes, which help remove dead skin cells. 
     
  • Tangerine brightens and smooths skin and helps prevent and treat acne
     

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