Late summer and early fall brings a harvest of crisp, freshly-picked apples of all shades and flavors. Whether you make an annual pilgrimage to pick your own in an orchard, buy seasonal varieties from your local farmer’s market, or just buy what’s appealing at the grocery store, incorporating these naturally detoxifying fruits into your diet and your skincare regimen has exciting benefits for your skin and your body. Read on for the Nutritional Aesthetics® overview of apples and their not-to-be-missed internal and topical benefits:

Nutritionally, apples are ideal skin foods for the early fall season. Their high pectin content helps cleanse the digestive system, specifically the liver and gallbladder, and encourage bile production, which supports healthy digestion—an essential for radiant skin. Ayurveda teaches that apples are cooling foods that help the body transition from hot summer to cool fall, while supporting detoxification as well. Phytochemicals in apples help with blood sugar balance and may even reduce allergies, thanks specifically to the phytochemical quercetin that concentrates in the skins of apples (so always, always eat the skin!). Apples are yin foods that bring moisture to the body. They contain the important antioxidant vitamin C, though the C in the apples can quickly degrade if they are stored in heat of light. Instead, keep them in your refrigerator or in a cool, dark place. Remember to buy your apples organic, since they rank among the produce most heavily sprayed by pesticides.

The naturally cooling, drying, and astringent properties of apples make them a great topical addition for many skin combinations. Overall, there are two main components of apples that benefit the skin: malic acid and plant stem cells. Malic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that naturally occurs in apples, may help improve the appearance of uneven texture and blemishes when used conservatively as an isolated ingredient or in whole fruit form. Though malic acid is one of the acid components of apple cider vinegar, we don’t recommend the use of apple cider vinegar in topical skincare. Even diluted, it comes with potential risks of skin irritation, sensitization, inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and even chemical burns.

One of the first plant stem cells used in skincare products (really, the one that started the whole plant stem cell skincare trend) was cultured from the rare Swiss apple (Malus domestica) was one of the first to hit the market and continues to appear on product labels. This particular apple is especially resistant to environmental aggressors and has the ability to regenerate its own tissue. Its addition to skincare products was in the hopes that it would lend its antioxidant and tissue regenerating properties to the skin. Evidence is still not conclusive as to whether or not this extract (or any plant stem cell extracts for that matter) can actually live up to these promises; but we do know that it seems to be as beneficial as any other topically applied botanical extract.

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