Berries contain some of the most profound nutritional benefits of all whole foods. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries… and cranberries? You betcha, especially for your skin health! Read on to learn how you can use the healing substances such as omega 3, found in cranberries and cranberry seed oil for healthy, age-defying skin.  

The Health Benefits of Cranberry 

The variety of cranberry that we are used to in North America, Vaccinium macrocarpon, was used first by early Native Americans, especially on the East Coast. They picked them wild for food as well as for clothing dye and as medicine. Later on, sailors ate them during long tours at sea to prevent scurvy. Today, growers mainly along the Eastern seaboard grow them in boggy, watersheds [1].  

There is a reason why cranberries were so life-saving for those sailors way back when. Cranberries contain super high amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the immune system, for collagen production and for cellular health in general. Each berry is also high in manganese, vitamin E and vitamin K and contains a healthy amount of fiber [2].

Most people know about cranberry’s healing power in relation to how they can help with urinary tract infections, or UTI’s. This is due to the large amounts of a simple starch substance within it called D-mannose. Ninety percent of all UTI’s are caused by the bacteria E. coli; D-mannose blocks E. coli growth and stops it from invading cells [3]. May studies have concluded that D-mannose in cranberry can be affective for preventing UTIs. One such study was conducted in 2013 and published in the medical journal BJU International. In a trial of over 300 women who had frequent UTI’s, the researchers found that D-mannose worked as well as nitrofurantoin (a common type of antibiotic) for preventing the condition during a 6-month period [4].  

What a lot of folks don’t know, however, is that polyphenols and other substances in cranberries (such as quercetin, epicatechin and ursolic acid) have been shown to be disease-preventative, including against cancer. Consumption of cranberries can protect endothelial cells from oxidative stress and can regulate inflammatory mechanisms, according to a 2013 report [5].

Recent Studies on Cranberries 

Recently, exciting investigations have also discovered that cranberries in general can have a profound effect on the condition known as Metabolic Syndrome (MetS). MetS puts a person at high risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Studies over the last decade have found that cranberry can stabilize fasting blood sugar levels and triglyceride levels. One study found that individuals had higher levels of the fat cell hormone adiponectin, which is associated with strong insulin conversion and lower body fat ratios [6].

Be sure to consult with your natural health practitioner before using cranberries or cranberry supplements as overconsumption may be contra-indicative with some pharmaceutical medications.  

Why Cranberry for Skin?

That is a lot of goodness coming from one little berry. But this doesn’t scratch the surface of what cranberry can do when used as a skin-enhancing topical in the form of cranberry seed oil.    

The cornucopia of healing benefits that can come from cranberry seed oil wasn’t discovered until the early 1990’s when natural health advocate and inventor Bernard Lager found a way to cold-press the oil from the minuscule seeds [7]. Up until then, they had been simply a byproduct of cranberry juice manufacturing. Today cranberry seed oil is used solo or in combination with quality skin combinations all over the world.   

Sliced cranberries showing where cranberry seeds and cranberry seed oil comes from

Fun fact: it takes about 30 pounds of cranberries to produce just half an ounce of cranberry seed oil. This means that all the nutrients that can be found in a berry are in the oil in highly- concentrated amounts. Cranberry seed oil contains many substances that are absolutely essential for dermal health. This includes vitamin C, vitamin E, and a high antioxidant level in general [8]. The most impressive benefit of cranberries for skin, however, is their balanced ratio of healthy essential fatty acids.

The Power of Essential Fatty Acids for Skin

Cranberry seed oil is unique because it has a fairly balanced ratio of about a half a dozen different kinds of omega 3,6, and 9 fatty acids. These include linoleic acid, oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid as well as lesser amounts of palmitic acid, stearic acid and eicosenoic acid. The skin is where essential fatty acid deficiencies can show up the most for many people [9]. The balanced ratio of all of the fatty acids found in cranberry seed oil help to fortify these essential skin nutrients. Cranberry seed oil can moisturize, protect and penetrate without leaving the skin feeling heavy or greasy.  

You may have heard of the first three essential fatty acids mentioned in reference to internal health, but these fatty acids are also vital for the skin as well [10]. Alpha Linolenic acid is an omega 3. It helps skin retain moisture, can lower inflammation, can help with skin elasticity and is a UV protectant. Linoleic acid is an omega 6 fatty acid. It helps keeps moisture in and can help protect the skin from UV rays as well as pollutants. It can also assist in balancing out complexion. Oleic acid is an omega 9 and can help other healing nutrients penetrate deep into the skin. Oleic acid is found in high numbers in olive oil as well and is beneficial for very dry skin.    

Omega 3 for Acne  

Omega 3s are especially beneficial for skin health because they contain high numbers of a substance called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid.  

The skin health benefits of DHA are plentiful. Besides being essential for the brain, heart and nervous system, DHA is a key structural component of skin tissue. It is vital for the maintenance of healthy cell membranes and can penetrate deep into dermal layers provide super antioxidant protection. Several studies, including one conducted in 2012 at California Polytechnical State University in Pomona, California, have found a positive correlation between consumption of fish oil and lower acne outbreaks [11]. Fish oil is known for being very high in omega 3’s.  

“Given that acne is a rare condition in societies with higher consumption of omega-3 (n-3) relative to omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids, supplementation with n-3 may suppress inflammatory cytokine production and thereby reduce acne severity,” the researchers stated in a report published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease.  

Besides all the benefits mentioned above, DHA, in addition to its partner substance EPA, can significantly reduce the signs of premature aging and can also prevent hyperkeratinization [12]. This is when hair follicles are blocked by dead skin cells, which can cause red pumps, or acne, on the face, the upper arms and other locations on the body.

Your Skin Needs Healthy Fats Too!  

Cranberries are a surprisingly abundant source of so many nutrients that are super healthy for the skin, and essential fatty acids are definitely at the top of that list. When used on the face, neck and other parts of the skin where the signs of aging show up the most, the results of cranberry seed oil can be amazing.

If you are considering using cranberry seed oil, make sure it comes from cold-pressed cranberries that are non-GMO and toxin/mycotoxin free. AnnieMak’s Reverse Anti-Aging Serum is a unique, scientifically tested formula made from 100% non-GMO ingredients, including cold-pressed cranberry seed oil. This oil is combined with raspberry seed oil, tremella mushroom oil and many more key ingredients to create a synergetic effect for your skin health that is like no other!