Elemental Protection from a Punicalagin-enriched Upycled Pomegranate Peel Extract

Upcycled Punica granatum peel was obtained as a byproduct of mature fruit processing to develop a punicalagin-enriched extract by aqueous extraction and purification.
Upcycled Punica granatum peel was obtained as a byproduct of mature fruit processing to develop a punicalagin-enriched extract by aqueous extraction and purification.

Read the full article in the June digital edition of C&T magazine.

Deleterious consequences of UV radiation are well-established to cause reactive oxygen species-induced (ROS-induced) aging, inflammation and skin barrier disintegration.1 UV filters can prevent the damage incurred by UV radiation, however cannot circumvent the complications associated with other contributors of ROS such as high energy visible (HEV) light, especially blue light, and environmental pollutants including cigarette smoke, ozone, particulate matter and heavy metals.2

HEV blue light can damage the integrity of the skin barrier and elicit inflammation and premature skin aging. Environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke can activate matrix metalloproteinases and further accelerate skin aging1 while heavy metals (Hg, Pb, Ar, Cr and Cd) act by weakening the antioxidant defense of the skin mechanistically like ROS.3 Cadmium is a representative heavy metal for the category of air pollutants and its ubiquitous presence in the air causes accumulation in the hair, skin and mucous membrane.4-6 Such heavy metal ions at higher concentrations can be toxic and can alter the structure of proteins, thereby triggering an immune response.7

In order to protect the skin against the entire solar radiation spectra and environmental pollutants, it is necessary to supplement sunscreens with antioxidants.2 Many botanical extracts are known to potentially prevent ROS-induced skin alterations with antioxidant, anti-stress and tissue repair benefits.8 Apart from the strong antioxidant capabilities of botanical extracts, phytochemicals such as polyphenols are known to bind to heavy metal ions and ameliorate their toxic effects.9

Food waste including seeds and peels are generated in large quantities as a by-product of the fruit processing industry. For example, in the pomegranate processing industry, peel and seed waste constitutes 5-6 tons/1 ton of juice produced. It is crucial to manage such massively generated waste biomass in order to prevent its inadvertent effects on the ecosystem. Literature suggests that pomegranate peel shows higher antioxidant potential and polyphenol content than the edible part of the fruit.10 Also per the literature, punicalagin demonstrates better solubility and bioavailability. Hence, in the current study, pomegranate peel waste was upcycled to extract a value-added cosmetic active – a Punica granatum, punicalagin-enriched peel extract (PGPE)a, tested for anti-matrix metalloproteinase (anti-MMP), anti-blue light and anti-pollution benefits as described here.

Read the full article in the June digital edition of C&T magazine.


  1. Wortzman, M. and Nelson, D.B. (2021). A comprehensive topical antioxidant inhibits oxidative stress induced by blue light exposure and cigarette smoke in human skin tissue. J Cos Derm. 20(4) 1160-1165.
  2. Mann, T., Eggers, K., ... Kolbe, L., et al. (2019). High-energy visible light at ambient doses and intensities induces oxidative stress of skin—Protective effects of the antioxidant and Nrf2 inducer Licochalcone A in vitro and in vivo. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine 36(2) 135-144.
  3. Balali-Mood, M., Naseri, K., Tahergorabi, Z., Khazdair, M. R. and Sadeghi, M. (2021). Toxic mechanisms of five heavy metals: Mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium and arsenic. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 12 643972.
  4. Du, W., Dong, Y., ... Quan, R., et al. (2022, Oct 19). Study on the mechanism of cadmium chloride pollution accelerating skin tissue metabolism disorder, aging and inhibiting hair regeneration. Available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36339210/
  5. Li, J.-Y., Cui, D.-L., ... Xiang, P., et al. (2022, Oct 4). Mechanisms of Cd-induced cytotoxicity in normal human skin keratinocytes: Implication for human health. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9570009/
  6. Martic, I., Jansen-Dürr, P. and Cavinato.(2022, Jul 17). Effects of air pollution on cellular senescence and skin aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9320051/
  7. Duche, D. (2000, May 18). Use of ellagic acid as an anti-pollution cosmetic agent. Available at https://patents.google.com/patent/EP1282395B1/en
  8. Lorrio, S., Rodríguez-Luna, A., ... Juarranz, N., et al. (2020). Protective effect of the aqueous extract of Deschampsia antarctica (EDAFENCE) on skin cells against blue light emitted from digital devices. Intl J Molec Sci. 21(3) 988.
  9. Me¸z˙yn´ska, M., and Brzóska, M.M. (2018). Review of polyphenol-rich products as potential protective and therapeutic factors against cadmium hepatotoxicity. J Appl Toxic. 39(1) 117-145.
  10. Henning, S.M., Zhang, Y., ... Heber, D., et al. (2014). Variability in the antioxidant activity of dietary supplements from pomegranate, milk thistle, green tea, grape seed, goji and acai: Effects of in vitro digestion. Available at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf500106r

a PuniBlock (INCI: Punicum granatum peel extract) is a product of Keva Fragrances, Mumbai

More in Magazine