The Best Of The Zest: The Citrus Fruit Offering Serious Skin Benefits

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As people with extraordinarily elaborate skin-care routines, we pride ourselves on using products with the most effective ingredients around. Of course, this involves actually knowing what those ingredients are. And, boy, are there a lot of them out there. In Know Your Ingredients, our new ongoing series, we'll be decoding the many oils, acids, extracts, and more that appear in our favorite products.

Grapefruit may make a healthy addition to your breakfast, but the sunny citrus fruit has way more to offer than a simple mood- and immune-system boost. Though grapefruit extract isn't exactly new to the skin-care world, we've been noticing a surge in products and treatments featuring the grocery-store staple. So, naturally, we decided to take a deep dive into why this extract is suddenly skin care's latest wunderkind.

To get to the bottom of grapefruit's goodness, we interviewed Joanna Vargas, a celebrity facialist who now offers a Grapefruit Detox Cleanse at her eponymous spa, and Ole Henriksen, whose grapefruit-extract-packed Truth Serum Collagen Booster has achieved cult status among beauty junkies worldwide. Turns out, grapefruit is more of an overachiever than we thought — this wonder fruit is filled with nutrients that brighten, protect, and nourish the skin.

"Grapefruit is amazing for the body — the skin included," explains Vargas. "Pink grapefruit is rich in beta carotene, which is an awesome antioxidant. It contains vitamin A, which is essential for slowing the aging process. Grapefruit also has lycopene, hence the red color, which is known to reduce inflammation and prevent cell mutation from the sun. Additionally, it contains B vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, and phosphorus, which are all amazing for the lymphatic system. Finally, grapefruit is a natural source of salicylic acid, which will keep the pores clean and heal breakouts."

Henriksen also gives a nod to grapefruit for its healing qualities: "It's the skin-brightening properties of grapefruit extract that particularly impress me — it makes a major difference with hyperpigmentation."

Vargas' Grapefruit Detox Cleanse essentially does for your face what a fresh-squeezed juice would do for your bod: refresh, nourish, and reset. "The treatment begins with a diamond peel, a cleanse with my Vitamin C Face Wash (which has grapefruit as an ingredient), a face massage with a grapefruit detoxifying serum to release toxins from the tissue, extractions, a clay-and-grapefruit mask, and an oxygen treatment." If making it to Vargas' NYC spa isn't an option, you can still reap the benefits of grapefruit with Henriksen's Truth Serum, which combines the brightening and purifying benefits of the fruit with rose-hip and green-tea extracts, which nourish and protect against free-radical damage.

And, if you're someone who has experienced irritation from exfoliating chemicals (like your humble writer right here), grapefruit may be exactly what your skin has been missing, explains Henriksen. "Because it is a natural source of acid, it is particularly active and naturally sloughs off dead skin and leaves the skin tone more even and radiant after use." We can't think of a better way to get a summer-ready glow — naturally.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster, $48, available at Sephora.



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