The listing “apple fruit extract (Pyrus malus)” is appearing more often in ingredient lists for skin care products in recent years. Although botanists currently use the Latin classification Malus domestica for the apple, by whatever name this fruit is certainly familiar as a source of delicious and healthful food. There are more than 7,500 different types (cultivars) of apples grown throughout the world, each with its own particular color, size and texture. While there are tiny genetic variations that create these differences, all apples share the same wealth of beneficial ingredients which can help improve human health, including the skin.
The old saying, “an apple a day will keep the doctor away,” is simply a way of acknowledging what has long been recognized: A diet that includes apples is good for a healthy life. It is only in recent years, however, that the constituent ingredients of applies have been scientifically analyzed and discoveries made as to why and how extracts from apples can help in skin care products. Both apple pulp and cold-pressed apple seed oil are used in these products, providing vitamins (including vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid), trace elements of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and a particularly high level of sulphur, as well as malic acid. These constituents act as effective emollients to soften and nourish skin and hair, and encourage growth of new, healthy skin cells. Since apple extract also helps natural cell exfoliation, it encourages a healthy rate of skin cell replacement. This can help improve, for example, the symptoms of acne and psoriasis. The extract also inhibits elastase, an enzyme which breaks down elastin and collagen. This maintains a smooth, youthful appearance of the skin.
While apple seeds do contain minute amounts of cyanide, normal use of apple extract products does not cause harm. Individuals with a birch-apple allergy may have a reaction to products containing apple proteins.
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