Summer time is watermelon time! Fresh, cooling, hydrating and low in fat and calories – it’s the perfect thirst quenching summer food! Watermelon contains about 92% water and is high in many valuable vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, particularly lycopene. In fact, watermelon contains more lycopene than tomatoes, and this is what I want to talk about.
Did you know?
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), botanically a fruit, belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It is native to the Kalahari desert of Africa, but is grown and cultivated in many areas of the world nowadays. The first commercial harvest was documented 5000 years ago in Egypt.
What are lycopene?
Lycopene is a natural antioxidant from the carotenoid family found in many foods, in particularly watermelon and tomatoes, and it’s what gives them their characteristic red and pink colour. Pink grapefruit are another fruit that get their pink hue from lycopenes (unlike white grapefruit). Antioxidants are important because they protect your body from damage caused by compounds known as free radicals. Free radicals are part of normal cell function, such as mitochondrial respiration, but there are also external sources such as from smoking and exposure to pollutants, chemicals and radiation. When free radical levels outnumber antioxidant levels, they can create oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to many ailments and diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease (1,2). Antioxidants, such as lycopene, react with the free radicals to neutralise them before they can damage vital molecules or organs (3). For example, lycopene is the antioxidant most quickly depleted in the skin after sun exposure, due to the oxidative damage of UV radiation. There are several studies that confirm that lycopene appears to offer some protection against skin damage after sun exposure both when consumed as a food or supplement, or applied topically (4,5,6).
Watermelon against sunburn
I guess grandma was right after all! Watermelons are not only good to eat, but next time you feel your skin had a bit too much sun, and you’ve just finished eating your watermelon, place the rind on your skin. It will not only cool and hydrate your skin, but the powerful lycopene contained within will help reduce skin burn. Now you know why!
I’ve formulated a cooling After-Sun Spritzer formula with watermelon extract, which I will post in the coming days. This has been my absolute go-to product this summer. It is completely natural and even my usually skeptical husband is convinced – he’s been the one reaching first for the spray! So do check back!
Make your own: After-Sun Spritzer formulation with watermelon extract!
From my notebook: WATERMELON EXTRACT
INCI: Glycerine, Citrullus Ianatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract
Composition: water, glycerine, watermelon extract, (natural) preservative
Appearance: clear to pale yellow liquid with varying viscosity depending on water content
Usage rate: 1-10%
How to use: add to water phase < 40 deg C
Storage: 10-25 deg C
Shelflife: 12 months
Applications: emulsions, gels, toners
- powerful antioxidant – protects and reduces damage from free radicals (oxidative stress, environmental pollution, UV radiation)
- reduces photoaging and skin redness after sun exposure
- may help reduce hyperpigmentation (age spots)
- softens skin
- improves appearance of aged and stressed skin
If you want to learn how to formulate your own skin care products, sign up for the FREE Masterclass by Formula Botanica*. This is the accredited school that I am studying with.