Cucumis sativus (a/k/a cucumber) has antioxidants that slow down skin damage caused by free radicals.
Although the words sound like a spell from Harry Potter’s charm’s class, Cucumis sativus is merely the botanical name for the common cucumber you may have grown in your garden. This delicious fruit (yes, it technically is a fruit) promotes healthy skin, which means that your (or your roommate’s) practice of rubbing cucumber peels on her face before sending them to the compost pile isn’t so crazy after all.
Cucumbers are native to India and have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years. It isn’t clear when cucumbers were first used medicinally, but medicinal uses are mentioned in ancient Greek writings, and the leaves, fruit, and seeds have long been used in traditional medicine in India to treat skin problems. Now, just because our ancestors thought something had beneficial properties doesn’t mean it is true, but in this case, science supports the use of cucumber extract to refresh and protect our skin, which is why we include it in Redmond Clay Cucumber Charcoal Mask.
Skin health depends on a variety of factors—genes, diet, lifestyle (including stress!), contaminants in the air, and of course sun exposure. At the heart of some of these factors are “free radicals”—atoms or molecules with an unpaired electron. Free radicals want to find a partner for their unpaired electron(s) and go around trying to force other molecules and atoms, including those in your skin cells, to share their electrons, damaging or weakening DNA and other parts of the cell in the process.
What combats free radicals?
You’ve probably heard of antioxidants. These are the stable molecules that bind to free radicals, preventing or delaying their efforts to bind to molecules in your cells. Antioxidants are an important line of protection against free radicals. Your skin has a built-in network of antioxidants in a variety of forms, but it is important to replenish them through foods and skin care products that are antioxidant rich. That is where cucumber (Cucumis sativus fruit) extract comes in. Research shows that cucumber has significant “free radical scavenging activity,” meaning that its antioxidants track down and neutralize free radicals that can damage our cells.
Want to read more about antioxidants, free radicals, or cucumbers? Check out these sources:
- Study: Cucumis sativus fruit-potential antioxidant, anti-hyaluronidase, and anti-elastase agent
- Research Article: Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging
- Research Article: Free radicals, antioxidants, and functional foods: Impact on human health
- Article: A guide to antioxidant foods Anti-oxidant rich foods
- Article: History of cucumbers’ entrance into Europe (For those who love history!)