Cranberry - Superfruit For Skincare

Vaccinium macrocarpon. It almost sounds medicinal, doesn't it? Behind this INCI name is a food we know as the large cranberry. Categorized as a superfruit, the cranberry is more than just a pretty red berry with a tangy taste. I recently discovered that it is also available as a skin care ingredient.

The Bird - The Plant

The cranberry name comes from 'craneberry', named so by early European settlers in America who saw the flower, stem and petals as the neck, head, and bill of the crane bird. I thought this sounded a little odd until I went hunting for pictures. I'm sure you agree – there's some resemblance.

Hardy Stuff

The cranberry plant has an efficient means of defense against the elements, and because of this, does well in harsher northern climes such as Finland and the Eastern part of North America – growing all the way from Canada to North Carolina. Cranberries have long been recognized for their multiple uses. The native New Englanders used them for food as well as fabric dye. They were also household medicinal items – used as treatment for blood poisoning as well as in poultices for wounds.

Full of Hearty Stuff

The cranberry is one of a very few fruits that contains both anti-aging polyphenols and antioxidant tocotrienols (Vitamin E). Essential fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6 offer protective and cell regenerative properties. Because they are rich in tannins, cranberries also have great potential for inhibiting bacterial growth. Finally, cranberries offer natural cleansing properties.

An additional reason cranberries have been dubbed superfruit: they seem to have the ability to interfere with the adhesion of some bacteria to some cell types and surfaces. This may be why they function well for the prevention of urinary tract infections and stomach ulcers. They are also recognized for improved oral hygiene.

And on Skin?

Although there is documentation of cranberries having much to offer when taken internally, it's been a bit of a dead end trying to find evidence of what it does when applied topically. There is some in vitro lab testing ongoing for possible antioxidant and bacteria-stopping properties, but apart from some studies focused on how cranberry fights dental infections (where it seems to be doing very well), I have been unable to find any studies on how it does when applied to skin. In short, as of now, no one can document its abilities for skin care. Please do enlighten me by dropping a comment if I have missed something!

All the info I have been able to find leads me to believe that everyone is working under the assumption that 'if it's good when taken internally, it must be good if applied'. Fair enough. I bought it because the idea of using an antioxidant, superfruit as a multifunctional coloring agent appealed to me. I mean, look at this bright pink powder – it's hard to believe this is an all natural powdered fruit that not only colors, but may very well also be good for you.

What Else it May Do

My supplier lists these additional properties
- Astringent
- Great for cleansing irritated, combination, or problem skin
- Added to mineral powder, it functions both as color and as a bacteria inhibitor

How Does it Work?

So far, my suppliers description has been 100% correct. As a coloring agent, it is a bit wonky and requires certain pH and temperature. The color will also have a tendency to fade if the product is not stored in an airless container. As for its possible skin-loving properties, it's a bit too soon to tell.

Upcoming LisaLise Products With Cranberry Extract

I'm still testing and getting to know this product, but so far I have tried it in a combination cleanser/moisturizer for sensitive skin, Eye and Face Serum (emulsion) and a Vitamin-C refreshing facial gel. It behaves all kinds of different ways depending on the product, and I will update as I get to know this ingredient a bit better.