Pomegranates are a mainstay for healthy snacks and dishes.
In any meal, they provide a sweet, yet tart, burst of flavor. But it's not just the flavoring that encourages people to eat them: They also provide a host of benefits, as the seeds and their juices contain several good-for-skin nutrients.*
Now, since these fruits offer so many benefits, it would make sense that one would want them as a supplement, no?* Who wouldn't want to pack all that into a glow-inducing formula?*
Yes, pomegranate extract makes for an excellent supplement option—especially for the skin-care-minded among us.* Allow us to explain.
3 benefits of pomegranate extract for the skin
Perhaps the most important question of deciding to take a new supplement is, What can I expect out of it?
We're going to wager you're not interested in adding something to your routine that doesn't address your specific skin health goals after all.
Well, no matter your specific beauty concerns: You're in luck. The pomegranate fruit (Punica granatum L.) seems to have some pretty robust skin care benefits that almost anyone can get behind.*
Most notably, I might add, the supplement can help support skin for healthy aging.*
See, taking care of skin throughout your life involves supplying it with nutrients and phytonutrients internally that address multiple pathways. This helps your skin perform its best.
Scroll on for the benefits associated with this whole fruit extract:
While "superfoods" are more of a marketing term than anything, this fruit extract is certainly super in its antioxidant abilities.*
See, it's one of the best sources of ellagic acid, a specific type of the antioxidant polyphenol.
Polyphenols are popular antioxidants in the beauty space, typically derived from things like (yes) pomegranate, green tea, and grapes.
The plant-based micronutrient has been shown to protect your body's cells (including skin) from free radicals, which can lead to premature aging in the skin.*
Impressively, a high-quality 100% pomegranate whole fruit extract boasts at least 60% total polyphenols.*
Photoprotection from UV damage*
The terms "photoprotection," "photoaging," and "photodamage" all center around one concept: The sun and too much unprotected UV exposure over time can do a number on your skin—so it's vital that you take appropriate and precautionary measures to support your skin health.
This is where potent antioxidants can come into play.*
"Skin photoaging is a result of the oxidative stress from UV radiation," explains board-certified dermatologist Kautilya Shaurya, M.D. "Your skin naturally produces antioxidants; however, as your skin ages, these antioxidant levels often decrease."
This is precisely why replenishing antioxidant levels—both topically and internally via diet and targeted supplements—can have such a profound effect on overall skin health.*
When consumed, antioxidants can help buffer the skin against photoaging by both absorbing UV rays and helping neutralize UV-induced free radical damage, per research.*
As for a concentrated pomegranate extract, clinical studies have shown that this targeted phytonutrient-rich botanical has the ability to enhance photoprotection in the skin, meaning your skin cells are better equipped to deal with UV rays and their subsequent effects.*
Another—this one, a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial—found that taking pomegranate extract orally could help with common sun-induced pigmentation.*
Cellular detox to combat oxidative stress*
I get it: When I hear the word "detox" in a skin care story, I tend to roll my eyes too. But "cellular detox" (i.e., daily detoxification processes that happen in our body) is a very real and important function of cellular health.
See, when your body isn't able to adequately deal with free radicals in the body, the result is something called oxidative stress.
A prolonged state or accumulation of oxidative stress directly contributes to the skin aging process.
Specifically, it contributes to the loss of collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in fine wrinkles.
Oxidative stress is also involved in reduced skin barrier function, decreased moisture, and increased risk for DNA mutations in our skin cells.
To keep your body's oxidative stress defenses up, your cells need functioning detoxification pathways—antioxidants help this process.
Pomegranate extract attenuates oxidative stress by enhancing antioxidant responses and increasing antioxidant capacity in the body.*
In fact, pomegranate extract has been clinically shown to reduce biomarkers of oxidative stress.*
How to know the correct pomegranate extract dosage.
Unlike other supplements, there is no recommended dosage per the FDA.
"There is no RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) because it's not an essential nutrient. Additionally, there is no clinical consensus at this time. But dose can be informed and should be guided by published clinical science on pomegranate extract," says mindbodygreen's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN.
What does this mean in practice? Well, there is no recommended dosage to land squarely on.
Instead, you should discuss your exact personalized wellness goals with your health care practitioner before deciding on an option.
A dietitian herself, Ferira says, "You should look for supplements containing at least 100 milligrams if it's a stand-alone pomegranate extract, ideally originating from the whole fruit."
Additionally, explains Ferira, "If it's a multi-ingredient product with other skin-supporting and antioxidant-laden bioactives, then the pomegranate extract dosage may be lower than a stand-alone pomegranate extract supplement, where it's doing all the work on its own."*
Essentially, when you are considering dosage on pomegranate extract, be mindful of whether you are taking it on its own—or if it's part of a broader formulation. This can help inform the amount.
What to look for in a supplement with pomegranate
I hear you: Finding a quality supplement, in general, isn't always the easiest. There are just so many on the market that seem to promise the moon and back.
Not to mention, a majority are less than transparent about what actually goes into the formula, you may have sustainability concerns, the brand doesn't offer specifics to back up claims, and so on.
For consumers, this can become quite the headache, fast.
Here's a good list of what to keep your eye on when shopping for a pomegranate extract supplement, according to Ferira:
- Whole fruit extract: Supplements that contain only 100% pomegranate whole fruit extract (Punica granatum L.).
- Potency: Find an option with your relevant dose (at least 100 milligrams).
- Sourcing: Prioritize traceability of the extract. Look to see if the brand explains where the pomegranates come from, a la orchard-to-supplement.
- Botanical ID and profile: Look for one with a verifiable botanical ID or fingerprint that's concentrated in polyphenols. The brand should actually quantify the polyphenol amount.
- Solvent-free extraction: Ensure the brand uses a solvent-free process for the extraction, or how they create the supplement from the pomegranate plant. Water extraction preserves the natural polyphenol profile and is less harsh all around.
- Clean: Look for a pomegranate extract that's non-irradiated, GMO-free, and food allergen-free. This botanical extract should contain no added sugars, acids, colors, preservatives, or flavors.
How does pomegranate extract compare to pomegranate juice?
On a strictly functional (and perhaps obvious) level, one is a drink that may contain preservatives and sugars.
The other is a concentrated dose of the pure extract that is typically taken in capsule form.
Beyond that, the comparisons that we can extrapolate come down to findings in specific studies or clinicals.
Overall, both forms have several skin and health benefits thanks to their antioxidant properties.*
"Historically, pomegranate juice has a larger number of published studies; and while not an extract, the findings are still useful and pertinent, but they just can't be directly extrapolated to pomegranate extract as 1:1," says Ferira. "But there are definitely similarities in that juice and extract studies have demonstrated health support for pomegranate plants for skin health (like UV photoprotection), antioxidant effects, and so on."*
For example, both pomegranate juice and extract improve skin's photodamage resistance and changes to the skin microbiome.*
How you take it is entirely up to you, of course, but we recommend pomegranates in extract, as it's likely an easier, more effective, and sugar-free way to take it daily.*
Potential side effects of pomegranate supplements.
Overall, pomegranate extract is a very safe and well-tolerated supplement, says Ferira.
In fact, according to a comprehensive overview on pomegranate fruit extract published in Advanced Biomedical Research, "many studies have been carried out on the different components derived from pomegranate but no adverse effects have been reported in the examined dosage."*
But, of course, we always recommend consulting with your health care practitioner before starting any supplement routine should you have concerns.
Can I use pomegranate topically?
Now that you've heard all the wonderful things about pomegranate and the skin, you're probably curious to see if you can use it topically.
Well, it makes for a wonderful skin care ingredient as well. (With all those antioxidants, this shouldn't be too much of a surprise!)
"It contains vitamin C as well as other antioxidants such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and tannins," says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D. "Ellagic acid is a polyphenol found in high concentration in pomegranates."
She's not the only one to support the skin care benefits of using the fruit topically.
"Traditionally, pomegranate seed oil compounds have been touted for their anti-aging effects," says board-certified dermatologist Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D. "Pomegranate seed oil has both strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may make it useful in helping decrease signs of aging such as wrinkles and dark spots. And, in one study, a compound with pomegranate seed oil was shown to improve the growth of skin cells and improve skin hydration and elasticity."
Learn more in our full guide to pomegranate seed oil in skin care products.
There's a reason that these superfruits have become a popular diet and skin care addition—and for supplements, too.* If you're looking for your next beauty supplement game-changer, consider this option.*
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.