Antioxidants In Mango For Skin Health

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Antioxidants: what are they?

In our cells, billions upon billions of chemical reactions occur every second, and many of these reactions release highly destructive molecules as a by-product, called reactive oxygen species (ROS). Antioxidants come to the rescue, they neutralise ROS to stop their ability to cause damage. Amazingly, our bodies carry out most of the fight against ROS on their own, through antioxidant mechanisms, but at times it can be difficult to maintain. 

Sometimes the antioxidant capabilities of our cells become insufficient to deal with all the ROS, resulting in an imbalance. This imbalance leaves cells in a state called oxidative stress. However, by harnessing antioxidants naturally occurring in food, the body can help reduce oxidative stress. The most well-known antioxidants in food include vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene.1

Importance of antioxidants for skin health

Antioxidants are especially important when it comes to healthy skin. Our skin, being the body's first defence from the outside world, is vulnerable to vicious ROS producers such as air pollution and UV light. Without the help of antioxidants to counteract ROS, our skin cells risk entering a prolonged state of oxidative stress, damaging crucial lipids, proteins and other cellular components.2

One often overlooked impact of oxidative stress on the skin is its detrimental effect on the microbiome, leading to symptoms such as: 

  • Accelerated ageing (visible and invisible)
  • Increased cancer risk
  • Development of skin diseases such as acne vulgaris, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis3

Though, these concerns can be mitigated, through careful consideration of what we eat and apply to our skin. 

Antioxidants in mango

Discovering that a most loved food can help the skin glow is always exciting! So, let's dive into the tasty tropical fruit, the mango, and its antioxidant capabilities. 

The key antioxidants in mangos for healthier skin are:

  • Vitamin C
  • β-carotene
  • Polyphenols

Each of these antioxidants has its own unique benefits. 

Vitamin C

Everyone has heard about vitamin C, the hallowed vitamin of citrus fruits. But, did you know that just 1 cup of Ataulfo mangoes can provide close to your recommended daily intake of vitamin C?3 Naturally, our bodies cannot produce vitamin C, so we need it in our diet.4 

The benefits of Vitamin C as an antioxidant lie in its ability to protect against UV-induced cell damage. When exposed to UV light, the proteins necessary to transport vitamin C are increased preparing for the fight against ROS. This does not mean vitamin C acts as a sunscreen but rather prevents sun-induced skin ageing and skin cancers.5

What makes this nutrient so vital to skin health is the additional benefits it provides on top of fighting ROS. You have probably heard of scurvy, the well-known sailor's disease caused by a lack of vitamin C. Well, the symptoms characterising scurvy (bleeding gums, tooth loss, joint pain) are a direct result of reduced collagen production.6

Therefore, optimal consumption and application of vitamin C supports, maintains and enhances collagen levels in skin cells. Collagen is an essential protein that maintains the integrity of the skin layers, enhancing elasticity, hydration and texture. Vitamin C also improves wound healing and reduces scarring through its controlling influence on collagen. 

Another important benefit is the ability of vitamin C to inhibit melanin production, reducing hyperpigmentation and its related disorders like melasma as well as melanomas (a type of skin cancer.6,8 


Another key antioxidant in mangos is β-carotene. It is the coloured plant pigment that gives fruit and vegetables their rich yellow-orange hue - the deeper the colour, the more β-carotene it has! So, vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash β-carotene - even spinach is rich in this nutrient, it’s only that the green chlorophyll pigment overpowers the yellow-orangeness.

β-carotene, when processed by the body, is converted to vitamin A (or retinol), as it is most commonly known in the skincare industry. This is another essential nutrient that we can only obtain through dietary intake9, and the amazing thing about β-carotene, is that the body only converts as much as it needs, as opposed to having vitamin A supplements which could lead to toxic excess. Excessive beta carotene may be harmful to those who smoke.9,10

The antioxidant effect of β-carotene is particularly helpful to protect against collagen breakdown in response to UV radiation and it may also enhance protection against sunburn.11 Additionally, this nutrient has excellent roles in improving the general texture of the skin and also provides additional benefits such as increased cell turnover, helping exfoliate dead skin cells whilst regulating the proliferation of new cells.

By increasing the strength of the skin barrier, β-carotene improves hydration and skin elasticity, and reduces inflammation, an important aspect when it comes to treating acne and hyperpigmentation and reduces sebum.


Polyphenols are extremely common among the plant population, though it does not mean that their benefits are not worth highlighting. These compounds are the ultimate all-rounders when it comes to skin health, providing strong anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergic and anti-cancer characteristics. As antioxidants, they not only eliminate ROS but also prevent their excessive production as well as stimulate and protect other antioxidants. 


Mangiferin is a class of polyphenolic compounds mainly found in the mango tree. Unlike the other nutrients we’ve looked at, it is not found in the flesh of the fruit, but rather in other areas like the seeds, peel and kernel, as well as other components of the mango tree.12 Like other polyphenols, it has powerful antioxidant properties, especially in wound healing and protecting against UV-induced ageing. 

Additional properties of mangiferin include preventing collagen and elastin degradation and reducing wrinkling and water loss.15 Furthermore, this nutrient is well known to have prominent anti-inflammatory abilities, which can help treat various forms of dermatitis including atopic dermatitis.14 It can also modulate excessive melanin production to help treat conditions like melasma and it promotes cancer cell death.13

Incorporating mango into skincare

There is plenty of juicy antioxidant goodness in mangos, so here are some ideas to incorporate it into your healthcare routine and diet for healthier skin. 

Dietary consumption

Mango is an excellent addition to a balanced diet, with many ways to add to your diet. My personal favourites are:

  • Tossed into a lovely side salad or salsa
  • Incorporated into smoothies
  • Topped with some luscious Greek yoghurt
  • Or simply on its own

Due to the high sugar content of mango, it is recommended to limit your intake, keeping in mind that one serving approximately 2 slices = 5cm.16 On the other hand, dried mango and other dried fruit should be limited to 40g a day.17

As mangiferin is found in parts of the mango other than the flesh, you could also try to incorporate these mango parts (skin, seed etc). Here are some options to try.

Mango seeds, though it may not seem like it, are edible. Here are some ways they can be added to your diet:

  • Simmer in sauces 
  • Infuse into drinks
  • Grind it to a flour - to fulfil your baking desires

Generally, it is best to consume mango seeds from unripe mangos as they are softer - those from ripe mango are much harder with a more bitter taste. 

Additionally, the mango skin can be easily added to your smoothies or even made into chips by baking or using either a dehydrator or air fryer. 

Regarding supplements, it is generally recommended to obtain nutrients from your diet, as supplements have a greater toxic risk, and limited benefit if nutrients are obtained from the diet.

Topical application

Mangos are also a good item to include in your topical skincare routine. Mangos can be mixed into a DIY face mask, or the inside of the peel can be rubbed directly onto the skin as more of an acid treatment (though the acids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun).18

Many cosmetic products also use mango-derived ingredients. Be sure to look out for the aforementioned compounds in commercial products depending on your skin concern. In particular, look for mango seed oil or butter with its broad nutritious profile. 

Also, when trying new topical DIY and commercial products, it is always a good idea to patch test, to make sure you'll respond well to the product. 

Finally, no matter what route you take to ensure healthy skin, always use adequate sun protection (SPF30 or more).

Extra tips

  • The benefits of vitamin C are enhanced when combined with vitamin E (also a powerful antioxidant), so try to incorporate either in oil form or through various sources that include wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds and much more. Mango also has some vitamin E
  • Beta carotene can only be absorbed in the presence of fat, so make sure to add some healthy fats to your meals with mangos19
  • A combination of dietary nutritious intake with topical formulations is the most effective way to achieve antioxidant protection and healthier skin


Mango can serve as an excellent source of antioxidant for healthier skin:

  • Vitamin C
  • β-carotene
  • Mangiferin

These compounds produce numerous benefits for skin health many of which are beyond their antioxidant capabilities:

  • Anti-ageing
  • Wound healing
  • Moisture retention
  • Prevention and treatment of skin diseases

The nutritious benefits of mangos in skincare work most effectively when incorporated both in your diet and topically.


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  5. Inc ETM. Eat This Much. [cited 2023 Nov 28]. Ataulfo Mango Nutrition. Available from:,139616/
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  11. Hemila H. The effect of B-carotene on the mortality of male smokers is modified by smoking and by vitamins C and E: evidence against a uniform effect of nutrient. J Nutr Sci. 2020: 9.
  12. Baswan SM, Klosner AE, Weir C, Salter-Venzon D, Gellenbeck KW, Leverett J, et al. Role of ingestible carotenoids in skin protection: A review of clinical evidence. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2023 Nov 30];37(6):490–504. Available from:
  13. Imran M, Arshad MS, Butt MS, Kwon JH, Arshad MU, Sultan MT. Mangiferin: a natural miracle bioactive compound against lifestyle related disorders. Lipids in Health and Disease [Internet]. 2017 May 2 [cited 2023 Dec 1];16(1):84. Available from:
  14. Zaid NAM, Sekar M, Bonam SR, Gan SH, Lum PT, Begum MY, et al. <p>Promising Natural Products in New Drug Design, Development, and Therapy for Skin Disorders: An Overview of Scientific Evidence and Understanding Their Mechanism of Action</p>. DDDT [Internet]. 2022 Jan 6 [cited 2023 Dec 1];16:23–66. Available from:
  15. Das P, Mounika P, Yellurkar ML, Prasanna VS, Sarkar S, Velayutham R, et al. Keratinocytes: An Enigmatic Factor in Atopic Dermatitis. Cells [Internet]. 2022 May 19 [cited 2023 Dec 1];11(10):1683. Available from:
  16. Hering A, Stefanowicz-Hajduk J, Dziomba S, Halasa R, Krzemieniecki R, Sappati S, et al. Mangiferin Affects Melanin Synthesis by an Influence on Tyrosinase: Inhibition, Mechanism of Acd 2023 Dec 1];12(5):1016. Available from: tion and Molecular Docking Studies. Antioxidants (Basel) [Internet]. 2023 Apr 28 [cite
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  19. Linus Pauling Institute [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2023 Dec 1]. Carotenoids. Available from: Β-Karoten, Skóry P, Arct J, Mieloch M. β-carotene in skin care. 2016 Jan 1; Available from:

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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