Blackberries For Skin Health

  • Irenosen Addeh Master of Science (MSc), Public Health, University of Debrecen, Hungary
  • Ellen Rogers MSc in Advanced Biological Sciences, University of Exeter

Introduction

Blackberries are a popular berry fruit in the southern United States and other places of the world. They are a well-known fruit in the Rosaceae family, specifically in the Rubus subgenus.1 These perennial plants are native to continents like Asia, Europe, and North, and South America, but they are now available worldwide thanks to the expansion of North American agriculture.2

In 2017, the value of blackberry production in the U.S. reached $31.1 million, showing an increase from the previous year.2 According to studies, blackberries contain several healthy nutrients vital for good skin. Indeed, they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can do wonders for the health. So, incorporating this everyday fruit into your diet is a wise choice for overall well-being.3

Blackberries have dark, tasty fruits and thorny bushes. A single blackberry is composed of 20 to 50 tiny seeds (called drupelets), which are all full of juicy, dark purplish-black stuff. These berries form in groups like cranberries, and grow on bushes everywhere except Antarctica. Even though they're not exactly berries in plant terms, people call them berries because they contain similar good stuff as other berries. 

Types of blackberries

Several types of blackberries exist worldwide, such as:

  1. Boysenberries: big, reddish-purple blackberries that have existed since the 1920s
  2. Loganberries: large, dark red, and tart berries that were created in the 19th century
  3. Marionberries: large, round, and tasty blackberries
  4. Youngberries: these are similar to loganberries but possess their own unique flavour

Nutritional components of blackberries

Blackberries contain vitamins like vitamin C, E, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and manganese. Though they're not high in calories, they're rich in fibre, which helps you feel fuller for a longer. Further, blackberries contain a lot of antioxidants - including anthocyanins, the plant pigment that gives fruits their deep colours. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, one cup (144 grams) of raw blackberries contains:

  • Calories: 62
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fats: less than a gram
  • Carbohydrates: 14 grams
  • Fibre: 8 grams
  • Sugar: 7 grams

The benefits of blackberries for your skin health

1. Anti-ageing

Blackberries offer several anti-ageing benefits to the skin. The antioxidants in blackberries help smooth the skin, whilst vitamins A and C protect against harmful UV rays, preventing signs of ageing.4 Anthocyanins demonstrate efficacy in protecting the skin from UV damage, making blackberries a valuable component in sun protection.

This protects your skin from environmental damage and prevents premature aging.5 Furthermore, the vitamin C in blackberries is vital for collagen creation, helping maintain skin elasticity and reducing wrinkles and fine lines.1 As such, regularly eating blackberries can enhance skin health and contribute to a radiant complexion. 

2. Hydrates your skin

If you suffer from dry skin, blackberries could be incredibly beneficial. Blackberries contain 85% water and are an excellent source for keeping the skin hydrated.3 This fruit provides a generous amount of water to the body, along with a good dose of fibre, contributing to youthful-looking skin. Internal skin hydration reduces the likelihood of pimples and other problems, while also naturally enhancing dry skin and providing moisture.

Blackberries are also loaded with vitamin E and other antioxidants, meaning that they can help significantly strengthen the skin's natural barrier. These antioxidants also help maintain the skin's elasticity, ensuring it remains firm and supple.6 This helps the skin hold on to its moisture, staying hydrated and looking plump and lively.

3. Skin cleansing and acne control

Blackberries have several qualities that make them good skin cleansers. For one, their acidic nature makes them a natural cleanser, effectively removing impurities and excess oil from the skin. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of blackberries help regulate oil production, reducing acne. Regular use can prevent breakouts and keep your complexion clear.7,8 Research has recently shown how the ellagic acid in blackberries can help manage acne caused by bacterial infections.2 As such, using a cleanser with blackberry ingredients or creating a natural cleanser from blackberries can be great for your skin.

4. Skin repair and healing

Blackberries are rich in vitamin C, providing 35% of your daily recommended intake in a 100-gram serving. Since our bodies can't make vitamin C, it's important to get it from our diet. Vitamin C helps with making proteins, like collagen, and neurotransmitters, which have vital roles in our nervous system.

Blackberries also help your skin by growing new cells and healing damaged skin faster. Vitamin C plays a key role in protein synthesis, and is crucial for producing collagen (which helps maintain skin elasticity) and wound healing.

5. Natural exfoliation

Blackberries, with their tiny seeds and acidic nature, act as a natural exfoliant which can be used to gently remove dead skin cells whilst their anti-inflammatory compounds soothe any irritation. Blackberry exfoliants also reduce redness and inflammation, making them beneficial for sensitive skin. These berries even contribute to a brighter and more even skin tone by diminishing dark spots.

6. Reducing redness and inflammation 

Blackberries, with their anti-inflammatory properties, are effective in relieving irritated skin, and reducing inflammation and redness, making them particularly beneficial for sensitive skin types.9

The presence of quercetin in blackberries adds to their anti-inflammatory qualities, actively soothing the skin, and diminishing redness and irritation.10 So whether you're dealing with inflammation or sensitivity, blackberries offer a natural solution for a calm and comfortable complexion.

7. Radiant skin tone 

Blackberries contribute to a brighter and more even skin tone, addressing dark spots and enhancing the complexion. A single cup of fresh blackberries contains 30.2 milligrams of vitamin C, which helps diminish dark spots and promote a brighter skin tone. Vitamin C inhibits the production of melanin, responsible for dark spots and uneven skin tone. Regular use of blackberries contributes to a radiant and glowing complexion. Simultaneously, the vitamin K in blackberries works to foster an even skin tone, reducing redness and discolouration.

8. Skin rejuvenation

Blackberry oil, rich in vitamins A, C, and K, has proven effective in reducing dark circles, scars, sunspots, and other skin concerns. The mixture of vitamins found in blackberries acts as a fantastic skin rejuvenator. A combination of vitamins A, C, and K, along with omega-3 and omega-6, works together to promote youthful-looking skin. These ingredients collectively contribute essential health benefits to the skin.

9. Fighting free radicals

When exposed to UV radiation, pollutants, and external elements, the levels of free radicals in our body increase, causing oxidative stress and issues like dark spots and sagging skin. Blackberries contain anthocyanocides and polyphenols, primary antioxidants that fight free radicals in the skin, promoting skin health.

Additionally, the vitamins in blackberries contribute to vibrant skin, aiding in the fight against free radicals. The presence of collagen in blackberries also helps eliminate skin discolouration.

10. Antiviral and anticancer properties

The health benefits of blackberries go more than skin deep. The nutrients in blackberries also possess antiviral properties that can fight skin infections, particularly the herpes virus causing cold sores. 

Furthermore, some studies have suggested that vitamin C helps in decreasing the production and development of substances that can cause cancer in the body. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, potentially reducing oxidative stress that could contribute to cancer. Blackberries have polyphenols, a category of antioxidants recognised for their capacity to fight cancer.11 However, more research is needed to consolidate this claim.

FAQs

Can I eat blackberries every day?

Generally, eating blackberries daily is fine. However, consuming too many blackberries may cause stomach discomfort in individuals with sensitive stomach. It's advisable to limit your intake to a small handful per serving.

How many blackberries should I eat a day?

Health experts recommend you should generally eat about 1 cup of blackberries a day as part of your balanced diet, which usually includes two servings of fruit. 

Can I eat blackberries on an empty stomach?

You can enjoy blackberries on an empty stomach or as part of your regular diet, as they are a nutritious fruit with potential health benefits.

Can I use blackberries on my skin every day?

Yes, you can use blackberries on your skin every day. However, you should test a small area of skin first to check for any allergies or reactions.

Summary

Blackberries are a delicious skin superfood which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As such, they offer a plethora of benefits for the skin, ranging from keeping the skin hydrated and youthful to fighting ageing and enhancing brightness. Considering these numerous advantages, it is recommended that you incorporate blackberries into your diet and/or skincare regime to help make your skin look and feel great.

References

  1. Lee SW, Sin HS, Hurh J, Kim SY. Anti-wrinkle effect of bb-1000: a double-blind, randomized controlled study. Cosmetics [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 Feb 1];9:50. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/9/3/50
  2. Martins MS, Gonçalves AC, Alves G, Silva LR. Blackberries and mulberries: berries with significant health-promoting properties. Int J Mol Sci [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Feb 1];24:12024. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10
  3. Lee J. Chapter 4: Blackberry fruit quality components, composition, and potential health benefits. In: Hall H, Funt R. Blackberries and Their Hybrids. CAB International. UK; Oxfordshire. 2017.
  4. Grether-Beck S, Meyer I, Franke H. Blackberry leaf extract: A multifunctional anti-aging active. Int. J. Cosmet. Sci. 2007; 29:411
  5. Murapa P, Dai J, Chung M, Mumper RJ, D’Orazio J. Anthocyanin-rich fractions of blackberry extracts reduce UV-induced free radicals and oxidative damage in keratinocytes. Phytother Res. [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2024 Feb 1];26:106–12. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21567508/
  6. Meza D, Li WH, Seo I, Parsa R, Kaur S, Kizoulis M, et al. A blackberry–dill extract combination synergistically increases skin elasticity. Int. J. Cosmet. Sci [Internet]. 2020 Oct [cited 2024 Feb 1];42:444–51. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ics.12
  7. Piazza S, Fumagalli M, Khalilpour S, Martinelli G, Magnavacca A, Dell’Agli M, et al. A review of the potential benefits of plants producing berries in skin disorders. Antioxidants [Internet]. 2020 Jun 20 [cited 2024 Feb 1];9:542. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7346205/
  8. Gonzalez OA, Escamilla C, Danaher RJ, Dai J, Ebersole JL, Mumper RJ, et al. Antibacterial effects of blackberry extract target periodontopathogens. J. Periodontal Res. [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2024 Feb 1]; 48:80-86. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0765.2012.01506.x
  9. Divya SP, Wang X, Pratheeshkumar P, Son YO, Roy RV, Kim D, et al. Blackberry extract inhibits UVB-induced oxidative damage and inflammation through MAP kinases and NF-κB signaling pathways in SKH-1 mice skin. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2024 Feb 1];284:92-99. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4374016/
  10. George BP, Parimelazhagan T, Chandran R. Anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of Rubus fairholmianus Gard. Root – An in vivo study. Ind. Crops. Prod. 2014;54:216-225. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260194645_Anti-inflammatory_and_wound_healing_properties_of_Rubus_fairholmianus_Gard_Root-An_in_vivo_study
  11. Zia-Ul-Haq M, Riaz M, De Feo V, Jaafar HZE, Moga M. Rubus fruticosus L. : constituents, biological activities, and health-related uses. Molecules [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2024 Feb 1];19:10998–1029. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6271759/
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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Anita C Mgbakor

BSc in Health Care Management

She is a freelance Health Writer who has written for several brands and has direct patient engagement experience. Currently, she is pursuing a nursing degree.

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