Spotlight On: Cranberry

Ingredients, Skin Care
Cranberry has been shown beneficial for many medicinal purposes, and now it can be found in many skin care formulations.

Cranberry juice has been popping up in a lot of skin care formulations because of its omega content, among other beneficial compounds.

For years, cranberry juice has been known mostly as a home remedy for urinary tract infections. Many studies have confirmed that cranberry juice can be beneficial in UTI treatment and prevention (Longwood Herbal).

Now there’s a lot of hype about how wonderful it is for skin, but what does it really do? While there haven’t been many tests on humans, what we do know about cranberries suggests they would be beneficial in skin care.

[Read More: Which Fruits and Vegetable Are Best for your Skin?]

What does Cranberry do for skin?

Cranberry oil hasn’t been tested on human skin, but lab tests are promising.

Cranberry hasn’t been tested for its capacity for treating skin very much. It’s been found to improve skin condition when taken orally for the treatment of urinary tract infections, but there haven’t been tests specifically on cranberry seed oil on skin (Longwood Herbal). One study found that cranberry juice reduced peri-stomal skin conditions in urostomy patients (Ostomy Wound Management).

However, cranberry has some very promising compounds that generally benefit skin.

For example, it’s been found to have high antioxidant content. Phenolic compounds, as well as other chemicals, are responsible for the antioxidant properties that are said to be effective for food preservation to some degree (Natural Product Radiance). Cranberry has been shown to be a free radical scavenger with anthrocyanins that help to inhibit lipoprotein oxidation in lab tests (Asian Pacific Journal of Nursing). In fact, the antioxidants in the flavonol glycosides have been found to be equal or superior to those in Vitamin E (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).

And, Omega, Oh My! Cranberry is known for possibly being the only fruit seed extract that has a perfect 1:1 ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It’s also got a healthy dose of Omega 9.

[Read More: Spotlight On: Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acid]

Are Cranberries Anti-Carcinogenic?

Cranberries show promise in cancer prevention for their ability to inhibit tumor growth in lab tests.

Phytochemical extracts from cranberries have been shown to reduce the proliferation of certain lines of cancer cells, but researchers don’t yet understand exactly how they work. In vivo tests show that cranberry can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, in part by causing apoptosis and G1 phase (Cancer Letters).

It’s not just breast cancer either; early tests show cranberry works as an anti-carcinogen against colon, lung, and prostate cancer (though blackberry and strawberry are more promising against colon cancer) (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry). Among other things its been shown to inhibit, it decreases matrix metalloproteinases, which is responsible for the breakdown of collagen (Molecular Nutrition and Food Science).

It’s the polyphenols, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and flavonol glycosides that are primarily responsible for the reactions that make cranberries anti-carcinogenic (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry). Numerous studies have investigated the use of cranberry in cancer prevention (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research).

Is Cranberry Anti-Bacterial?

Cranberry juice appears to show anti-bacterial potential. Studies have noticed that part of the reason it works against UTIs is the affect it has on the bacteria. While some research has suggested that it’s the hippuric acid that has these qualities, lab results seem to indicate that cranberry actually interferes with bacteria and microbe adherence (The Journal of the American Medical Association, Phytochemistry)

Bottom Line

Cranberry in skin care shows promise. It’s rich in antioxidants, as well as many other compounds that have been shown to the beneficial to skin, like some of the best amounts of Omega 3, 6, and 9. When taken orally, it’s been shown to help clear up skin. It’s shown a lot of promise as an anti-carcinogen. It also prevents bacteria adhesion. We hope to see more skin studies in the future to see exactly how cranberry extract could be beneficial in skin care and exactly how it works.

If you want to try products with cranberry, consider:



Arcona Cranberry Toner ($32, — With soothing witch hazel and potent antioxidant white tea extract, this toner packs a punch as far as antioxidants.



MyChelle Cranberry Mud Mask ($20.16, Benontine and Kaolin clay help to clean skin while cranberry and green tea extract give an antioxidant boost.


Check our bestsellers!

  • Sarah

    Can you do a spotlight on bee sting masks/facials? They are popular across the pond in the UK, as well as the other Commonwealth countries, but I can’t seem to find much about how they work and whether they are actually beneficial.

  • I love the Arcona Cranberry Toner. They also have this product in their Triad Pads. This stuff takes off makeup like nothing else and is really great after a gym session.

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