Glow Recipe is a K-Beauty brand that rose to popularity after being featured on the television series Shark Tank. The product they are most well known for is their Watermelon Glow Sleep Mask, but the entire line is best known for its incorporation of (and highlighting of) various fruit extracts. The recent launch of their Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum (link) is getting a lot of buzz and positive reviews, so I thought I would give it a try for myself!
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, no skincare routine is complete without a vitamin C derivative, so I am a huge fan of the ascorbic acid in this serum!
According to the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, vitamin C has many favorable aspects for the skin, including:
- scavenging of free radicals (reacts with the superoxide anion or the hydroxyl radical);
- suppressing pigmentation of the skin (by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase);
- decomposing melanin;
- triggering collagen production and thereby increasing skin firmness;
- enhancing sunscreen protection (see below).
- “Topical vitamin C increases levels of tissue inhibitors of collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1). “
According to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, topical application of vitamin C has been shown to prevent UVA-mediated phototoxic reactions in porcine [pig] skin, as well as to supplement depleted vitamin C levels after UVA exposure. According to the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, UVA-induced damage includes the release of oxidative species, resulting in immunosuppression, photodermatoses, photoaging, and photocarcinogenesis.
In addition, according to the study in the British Journal of Dermatology, topical application of vitamin C also protected skin from UVB-induced damage, as measured by erythema and sunburn. According to the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, UVB-mediated damage includes activation of MAPK and NF-κB pathways that can result in erythema, hyperplasia, hyperpigmentation, immunosuppression, photoaging, and skin cancer.
Topically-applied ascorbic acid has also been linked to improved skin laxity, improved skin texture, and an improvement in overall skin appearance (Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery).
My only issue with Glow Recipe Pineapple-C-Bright Serum is that it contains only 10% L-ascorbic acid — most formulations studied in journals are using L-ascorbic acid in concentrations of 15% or higher. I’m assuming that Glow Recipe went for 10% because they’re assuming you’ll get another 5% from its inclusion of pineapple fruit, but I’m not entirely convinced. As I’ve said before, fruit extracts can vary in vitamin C concentration depending on their seasonality, soil quality, and overall ripeness at the time they were picked. So I would’ve definitely preferred a 15% L-ascorbic acid concentration with a “vitamin C from pineapple” added bonus.
Pineapple Fruit Extract
In addition to being a natural source of (who knows how much, it varies) vitamin C, Pineapple Extract also is beneficial for the skin because it contains an enzyme called bromelain. A lot of natural skincare brands and companies claim that this enzyme helps with exfoliations and contain anti-inflammatory properties. This sounds all well and good, however, there are no large-scale human research studies to back up the claims that the bromelain in pineapple fruit extract will improve your skin.
There is one study conducted in 2012 that states that when bromelain is taken orally it “…can be used as an effective health supplement to prevent cancer, diabetes, and various cardiovascular diseases in the long run.” As I’ve mentioned many times on this site, your skin does not absorb nutrients the same way your digestive system does so I am skeptical of the skincare benefits of pineapple fruit extract until more research has been done.
Squalane is one of the most common lipids produced by the skin cells and is a component of sebum. Squalane is commonly used as a moisturizer and acts as a quencher of singlet oxygen, protecting the skin surface from free radical damage caused by UV exposure. Although it is an oil, it does not have an oily feel and is odorless, noncomedogenic, and antibacterial, making it safe for sensitive skin. It is also used in treating skin concerns such as seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.
Although squalane is produced naturally by the body, production slows drastically after age 30, which contributes to dry skin. It’s a great addition to this serum!
How to Use Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum
I use Glow Recipe Pineapple-C-Bright Serum only a couple of times a week because it contains exfoliating ingredients (lactic acid) that shouldn’t be mixed with retinol products. On a superficial level, I think the packaging is really unique, fun, and creative. Because it contains pineapple fruit extract there is a very strong pineapple scent so if you are not a fan, you might not be into this as the scent does linger on your skin throughout the day. Another nice benefit to this product is that it contains chamomile and aloe which are very soothing ingredients and great for those with sensitive or reactive skin types. After applying it gives your skin a healthy glow which I love!
Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum – Bottom Line
While I don’t have a ton of faith in pineapple fruit extract, I think this serum is worth trying because it contains other effective ingredients like squalane and ascorbic acid which are going to assist in brightening and hydrating the skin respectively. It also contains exfoliating ingredients like lactic acid so if you have sensitive skin be sure to introduce this into your routine slowly, and don’t use it on nights that you are also using retinol.
Ingredients in Glow Recipe Pineapple-C-Bright Serum: Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Water, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Dimethicone, Ascorbic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Squalane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Extract, Hexylresorcinol, Arginine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Fragrance.