Beautiful Berries Abound in Skin Care

Berries are especially festive and bright during the holidays. For years, their sweet and tart taste has been one of the most popular flavors for both food and non-food products. Certain berries are classified as “superfruits” because of their health benefits and functionality. Now berries – especially those from Arctic regions – are proving to be more than a seasonal treat or decoration. Demanding growth conditions means that Arctic berries are juicier and more concentrated in actives. Their high content of antioxidants and vitamins has quickly facilitated a move into skin care, in particular in radiance and antiaging formulas.

Finnish skincare brand Lumene can be credited with launching the Arctic berry trend. In 2001, the company patented the concept and launched the first skin care products with Nordic berries. This November, Lumene expanded its Vitamin C+ range with antiaging products targeted to a 25+ consumer. The Age Defying Arctic Cloudberry Nourishing Day Cream for dry skin contains Arctic cloudberry and vitamin C to strengthen, protect and brighten the skin. The product is said to help fight the first signs of aging. Rubus chamaemorus (cloudberry) is an amber-colored berry that resembles a raspberry. It grows wild in bogs and forests, primarily in Northern Finland near the Arctic Circle. The compact berries contain twice as much vitamin C as a whole orange. They are also packed with omega 3 and 6 and vitamins A and E. The berry’s oil is said to strengthen and protect the skin, as well as provide antioxidant benefits. Tea made from cloudberry leaves was apparently used in ancient Scandinavian herbal medicine to cure urinary tract infections.

Another product that contains arctic cloudberry seed oil is Skyn Iceland's Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels.The cooling transdermal gel patches claim to "infuse the eye area with concentrated doses of soothing, firming, draining and anti-wrinkle actives. This six-pack of eye gels is paraben and fragrance-free. Skyn Iceland was created to combat the physiological effects of stress on the skin and draws inspiration from Iceland’s natural resources. All of the products contain a Biospheric complex made of actives from earth, air and water. The earth component includes arctic cloudberry seed oil and red cranberry seed oil.

Vaccinium oxycoccos or Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) is filled with tannic acids that prevent and destroy bacteria. It also contain tocotrienol, a rare form of vitamin E, said to be many times more effective than tocopherol, the more commonly known form of vitamin E. In addition, cranberry has carotenoid, a vitamin A pre-cursor that prevents changes resulting from the aging of the skin.

Swiss-made Alchimie Forever uses Cranberry seed powder in its new Excimer+ Gentle Antioxidant Refining Scrub. The natural exfoliator contains cranberry and jojoba beads to remove dead skin cells and brighten the skin. Papaya enzymes, lychee extract, rosemary and shea butter are also included in the formula. For over 10 years, Doctors Luigi and Barbara Polla have operated the Forever Laser Institut in Geneva, Switzerland, the first fully integrated European medical spa. Their Alchimie Forever range includes face and body care for women and men. It was developed from their experience in dermatology and biomedical research on antioxidants and the aging process.

Cranberry is featured in another new facial exfoliating product, Pangea Organics' Facial Scrub. In this case, the berry is highlighted as being highly antioxidant and nutrient-rich. It is also organic. Adzuki bean, shea butter and other organic actives are included to cleanse, detoxify and regenerate skin cells. Like other Pangea Organics products, the molded fiber box is made from 100% post-consumer paper embedded with organic seeds so that the box can be planted after use.

The antioxidant benefits of cranberry are evident in eye care products as well, as demonstrated by Aromatherapy Associates Renew new Rose Firming Eye Serum. The key ingredients are damask rose water, frankincense, neroli, black tea and cranberry. The product claims to reduce the look of puffiness, protect the skin and smooth the appearance of wrinkles via hydration.

In September, UK spa brand Champneys introduced a new range of antiaging skin care products in its resorts, spas and Web site as well as at Sainsbury’s grocery stores. The Collagen Plus Firm & Protect Day Cream with SPF 15 claims to protect skin against future damage with collagen boosters and skin strengtheners. It contains Arctic cranberry seed oil to protect against environmental damage.

This autumn in France, Darphin launched a super-premium radiance-boosting facial oil. Nectar aux 8 Fleurs Huile Aromatique is an aromatic blend of essences from eight precious flowers. In addition to jasmine, rose, lavender, iris, patchouli, everlasting, neroli and ylang ylang essential oils, it contains Arctic cranberry and date extract as well as vitamins A and E. The thick gel-oil claims to be purer because carbon dioxide was used during the extraction process. This method (used in perfumery) allows the fragrance compounds to be extracted without extensive damage or denaturing. The result is an aromatic, multi-action product to be used under a moisturizer. It claims to soothe, renew radiance, protect, reduce the appearance of fine lines, promote skin elasticity, nourish and firm.

Several brands capitalize on the seasonal associations of cranberries. Jane Iredale’s Sugar & Butter Lip Exfoliator/Plumper Duo is said to keep lips soft and beautiful in dry and windy conditions. The dual-ended lip care product is formulated with cranberry fruit extract. It combines exfoliating, plumping and lip tint in one.

Bliss Snow Wonder introduced a body butter in November that is infused with the fresh fragrance of just-fallen flakes and the antioxidant  power of arctic berry, vitamins A and E, and sodium hyaluronate, said to leave the skin smooth and shimmery.

Bath & Body Works Holiday Traditions Frosted Fun Cranberry was just introduced as a body cream. The sweet blend of cranberry, citrus and warm woods in this cream make the winter scent fresh and festive. It is said to nourish and soften even the driest skin with avocado oil, smoothing fruit enzymes, conditioning calendula and almond oils.

Berry seed oils have another key advantage. According to one ingredient supplier, many are both topical and edible. For example Arctic bilberry, cranberry, lingonberry, cloudberry, raspberry and strawberry seed oils can be used in skin care formulations and oral supplements for lightening skin and nourishing hair. Likewise sea buckthorn seed oil is invigorating and antiaging when applied to skin and taken orally. Moreover, several berry seed oils are available as certified organic actives. With this versatility, these Arctic berries are well-positioned to capitalize on the emerging beauty food trend.

-Nica Lewis, Mintel

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