Is This Australian Superfruit the New Vitamin C?
Here's what experts want you to know about kakadu plum.
K-beauty gave us a 12-step skincare ritual, J-beauty gave us a minimalistic approach. Now, there's a new wave of skincare and it's coming from the country that's synonymous with sandy beaches and natural wonders: Australia. A-beauty is taking over the skincare industry by storm with the introduction of unique and efficacious botanicals that are only found in the country Down Under.
One that's caught the attention of beauty junkies and derms alike? Kakadu plum. The Australian superfruit is touted as being the richest source of vitamin C on earth, and when you factor in the fact that vitamin C itself has potent antioxidant and brightening properties, kakadu plum becomes an ingredient that'll perk up even the dullest complexions. To learn more about this superfruit, its skincare benefits, and how to use it, we turned to the pros themselves. Keep reading to learn all about this magical ingredient.
What is kakadu plum extract?
Kakadu plum is a fruit native to Australia. We're seeing it pop up as a skincare ingredient because it contains high levels of vitamin C—in fact, it is thought to be the most concentrated vitamin C-containing fruit on the planet, according to Dr. Caroline Chang, founder of Rhode Island Dermatology Institute. "Compared to other fruits, kakadu plum has one of the highest amounts of vitamin C per ounce, with over 50 times the amount of vitamin C than an orange," she says. "What makes this ingredient a better option than just vitamin C alone is that kakadu plum has many other benefits as a powerful antioxidant and also a natural antiseptic." Basically, it's a powerful multi-tasking ingredient (and every beach bum's dream—no wonder it's native to Australia).
According to New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeicher, because kakadu plum naturally contains such high levels of vitamin C, it's being used as an alternative to synthetic vitamin C in many skincare products. "Many consumers prefer the all-natural benefit that it provides as opposed to lab-made vitamin C," he notes.
What are the benefits of kakadu plum?
For one, kakadu plum is an antioxidant powerhouse, with its Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) clocking in at about five times that of blueberries. So, what exactly does this do for our skin? For one, it can help block against oxidative stress, which can cause photoaging and free radical formation. As NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Hadley King explains, our skin is constantly exposed to free radicals from UV rays and pollution. This can damage DNA, contribute to the formation of dark spots, and accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin. That's where kakadu plum comes in. "Antioxidants (like vitamin C) can be helpful in protecting the skin from damage by donating electrons to stabilize the free radicals and decrease sun damage," says Dr. King.
But its ability to neutralize free radicals isn't the only benefit the Australian superfruit has. If you're acne-prone or have an inflammatory skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, kakadu plum can help. "Kakadu plums contain gallic acid, which has antibacterial properties, and ellagic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties," says Dr. King. "This combination can be helpful for breakouts because it can kill acne-causing bacteria and decrease inflammation found in inflammatory acne." And, because kakadu plum has a high vitamin C content, it's especially effective at warding off dark spots leftover from picking at a flare-up (aka post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation—that is, pigment that is left in the skin after an inflammatory process resolves).
How to use kakadu plum:
Kakadum plum can be effective as part of both your morning and night routine, but our experts maintain that applying products containing the ingredient in the morning in conjunction with SPF is more beneficial, as they'll work together to protect skin against UV damage. Kakadu plum is a universal ingredient that can be used by all skin types, but Dr. King says that if you're severely sensitive, a patch test should be done before applying it all over.