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So many fruits have had their day in the sun as the "it" ingredient in skincare products. Pineapples are beloved for their natural enzymes, apple extract is known for boosting skin hydration and evening texture and tone, and people can’t get enough of the antioxidant-rich properties of blueberries.
Now there’s another fruit people are going bananas over (pun intended): banana extract. Wondering why the yellow fruit is seeing a surge? "As people seek more natural ingredients, banana and other fruit extracts are being considered for their natural skin healing properties," explains board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick.
Meet the Expert
- Rebecca Marcus, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in Dallas. She is the founder of Maei MD.
- Marisa Garshick, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell-New York Presbyterian Medical Center.
Read on for everything you need to know about banana extract for skin, including what it is and what it does, straight from Garshick and board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, MD.
Type of Ingredient: Antioxidant
Main Benefits: As an antioxidant, it protects the skin from free radicals. Plus, it’s hydrating, mildly exfoliates, and is anti-inflammatory.
Who Should Use It: It’s safe for all skin types.
How often can you use it: Banana extract can be used daily.
Works well with: Other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.
Don’t use with: In general, it is safe to use with other ingredients.
What Is Banana Extract?
"Banana peel extract and banana leaf extract are solutions that are prepared from parts of the banana by creating an extract using alcohol," explains Marcus. So where can you find the "it" ingredient? "It can often be found in serums or moisturizing products to add antioxidant and nourishing benefits," Garshick says.
Benefits of Banana Extract for Skin
- Works as an antioxidant: "By serving as an antioxidant, [banana extract] helps to protect the skin from free radical damage and oxidative stressors," Garshick says. "It is known that free radical damage can contribute to signs of skin aging, so protecting the skin may help to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots.
- Moisturizes: "Banana extract may have hydrating properties, although this is not well supported by scientific data yet," Marcus says.
- Gently exfoliates: Lifting dead skin cells doesn’t always have to be harsh. "[Banana extract] may also work as a mild exfoliant and can be considered soothing on the skin," says Garshick.
Though banana extract does have perks for the skin, more research is needed on how the fruit affects our complexions. "Banana extract is not well supported by the scientific literature as a skincare active," Marcus says. "However, banana extract is thought to have some antioxidant activity, as well as the potential to serve as a hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and perhaps even anti-wrinkle ingredient."
Side Effects of Banana Extract
Obviously, it’s best to steer clear of this ingredient if you have a known allergy to bananas. And "as with many ingredients, there is always a risk of sensitivity or irritation," Garshick says. "So if you have sensitive skin, it may be best to do a patch test before using a new product."
How to Use It
The beauty of banana extract is that it's safe for daily use for all skin types, according to Garshick, who advises applying it to the skin via serums or moisturizers formulated with the ingredient. Among her go-to products is the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum ($71), which "combines vitamin C, banana powder-inspired pigments with hyaluronic acid, and polyhydroxy acids which help to even skin tone and texture,” she says. “It can be used daily.”
She also recommends TonyMoly's Banana Lip Balm ($10). “Helping to address dryness, this banana-containing lip product also contains ceramides to support the skin barrier and coconut oil to moisturize the lips,” Garshick says. “I love that it is easy to take on the go."
Vacation's Super Spritz SPF50 Face Mist ($24) also pairs banana with coconut, this time to nourish and hydrate the skin in the face of sun exposure. The anti-oxidant-rich formulation also includes aloe, cucumber, green tea, and vitamin E—alongside chemical sunscreen ingredients—resulting in a spritz that refreshes and protects the skin.