Camu camu is one of the latest tropical superfoods to hit the market. The word “superfood” has maybe become a bit overused, but there really are some significant benefits of camu camu for both your skin and your health.
Unless you live near the Amazon rainforest, you most likely won’t see these tart berries whole. But you can find them powdered, juiced, or used as an extract in skincare. And research is showing that they can be very healthy when consumed in these forms.
Here’s more about camu camu, where it comes from, and why your skin (and whole body) will love it.
What Is Camu Camu?
Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a berry-like fruit that grows on small trees native to South America. The trees grow naturally in Amazonian lowlands and along the Amazon and Orinoco rivers.
The fruit itself is small and looks somewhat similar to cherries. However, the taste is very tart, which means the berries aren’t usually eaten fresh. Camu camu can be juiced (and sugar added to make a “lemonade”) and turned into jam, jelly, or wine.
Interestingly, the nutritional profile of camu camu varies depending on ripeness and where it was grown. There’s some indication that the soil of the Amazon plays a big role in making the fruit nutrient-rich, which means preserving its natural habitat is very important.
What Makes This Fruit So Special?
What really makes camu camu a superfruit is its vitamin C content. The berries are one of the best vitamin C sources on earth. They contain on average anywhere from 2-3 grams of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit pulp.
To put that in perspective, that’s well over 3000% of the daily value of vitamin C in a 100 gram serving!
Or to look at it another way, camu camu is estimated to have 30-60 times more vitamin C than oranges and more than either acai or acerola cherries (two outstanding vitamin C fruits).
Other benefits of camu camu come from the antioxidants and other plant compounds found in the fruit.
Of course, vitamin C is an antioxidant, but camu camu also contains powerful carotenoids like lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin as well as anthocyanins and ellagic acid. All of these are known to have health-boosting effects for your body.
And, as we are becoming more aware, both vitamin C and antioxidants have amazing benefits for your skin as well.
Top Skin-Boosting Benefits of Camu Camu
Fights Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Vitamin C is incredibly important in the battle against fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. It’s one of few substances known to boost collagen synthesis, which makes it a powerful anti-aging nutrient.
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your skin. Your body naturally produces it, and it plays a big role in keeping your skin firm and preventing the formation of wrinkles. It also helps keep your skin thick and plump, which is why your skin may become thinner when production declines.
Thin skin wrinkles and damages more easily. It also doesn’t hold its shape as well, which can lead to sagging. That’s why boosting collagen synthesis is very important to keep your skin young-looking.
Unfortunately, collagen production declines in your body with age. To “kickstart” it, you need to feed your body and skin nutrients like vitamin C to reverse low collagen levels.
Applying skincare ingredients packed with vitamin C, like camu camu, to your skin is shown in studies to both promote collagen synthesis and increase skin thickness. An easy way to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles!
Fades Age Spots and Discoloration
Dark spots are another unwelcome sign of age. They form when melanin in your skin (the same pigment that gives you a tan) doesn’t fade like it’s supposed to. This is usually due to sun damage that reaches the deeper layers of your skin, making the spots difficult to get rid of.
Fortunately, the vitamin C is camu camu has proven benefits for fading the appearance of dark spots.
In technical terms, it “decreases melanin formation” and combats pigmentation. This means vitamin C can help with existing dark spots and help prevent new ones from forming.
Another benefit of using vitamin C on your skin is that it has an anti-inflammatory effect. It brightens the overall appearance of your skin, evening out skin tone and reducing the look of discoloration.
To go along with vitamin C, camu camu also contains a small amount of niacin (vitamin B3). When applied to the skin, niacin has shown an ability to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation (dark spots), blotchiness, and yellowing skin.
It’s possible that these two vitamins work together in camu camu to have an even more powerful brightening effect for your skin.
Protects Your Skin from Further Damage
One of the keys to age-defying skin is protecting your skin from more damage while you combat existing signs of aging.
Your skin can suffer damage in many ways. Harsh weather, chemical-laden skincare products, environmental pollutants- these can all speed the aging process and cause your skin to look old.
However, one of the biggest age-accelerators is UV radiation from sunlight.
Being exposed to too much UV light leads to something known as photodamage or photoaging. This refers to premature skin aging caused by sun damage rather than the natural aging process of your body.
Photodamage can include wrinkles, uneven texture, age spots, and loss of elasticity. It happens in the deeper layers of your skin and can take years to show, which means that protecting your skin now is very important to how it will look later in life.
Once again, the protective benefits of camu camu lie in its vitamin C content.
Vitamin C not only treats photodamaged skin, it also helps protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect your skin in other ways, but it does give your skin a special layer of protection.
Protects Against Free Radical Damage
Free radical damage is another major age-accelerator for your skin.
Free radicals are essentially unstable molecules that can “attack” other molecules in your skin. If that wasn’t bad enough, they also induce the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin- your skin’s two most important anti-aging proteins.
UV radiation is one possible cause of free radical formation, but there are many others (toxins, smoking, pollution, other forms of radiation, etc.). You can’t get rid of free radicals completely, so the focus should be on limiting their damage.
Camu camu can do just that because it’s packed full of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are critical for minimizing the damage caused by free radicals. You probably already know this is true inside your body, but it’s also true externally.
Your skin has its own network of antioxidants that needs to be replenished regularly. This is key to slowing skin aging and restoring a healthy-looking complexion.
Now, camu camu is surpassed by a few other amazing skincare ingredients like astaxanthin, amla berry, and sumac as far as antioxidant content goes. But it’s still incredibly rich in antioxidants, with almost 11 times the amount found in blueberries!
And, of course, camu camu has a ton of vitamin C, which is not only a powerful antioxidant in its own right but also helps replenish your skin’s store of vitamin E, another antioxidant. The two then work together synergistically to protect against oxidative stress (aka free radical damage).
May Combat Blemishes
There are potential benefits of camu camu for fighting blemishes, although they haven’t been “proven” yet.
What research has shown is that camu camu has antimicrobial properties and, more specifically, antibacterial properties. The extract hasn’t been specifically tested against the bacteria that causes acne, but it could prove to be useful for keeping your skin clear.
One reason to give it a try for blemish-prone skin is because vitamin C has been found useful for acne. Its anti-inflammatory nature may reduce the appearance of breakouts, and it can also help prevent hyperpigmentation post-acne.
Better Than Synthetic Vitamin C
Vitamin C is very popular in skincare but often in a synthetic form. Besides the questionable nature of putting ingredients created in a lab on your skin, there’s some indication that synthetic vitamin C may not work as well.
Some research indicates that synthetic vitamin C (usually called ascorbic acid) has to be formulated at a certain pH to even enter your skin. Even then, absorption may still be poor and not reach the deeper layers of skin.
Another problem with isolated or synthetic ascorbic acid is stability. When exposed to oxygen (like when you open a skincare product), vitamin C and other antioxidants tend to start breaking down. This causes them to lose much of their beneficial power.
By keeping them in whole form, like in camu camu and other plant extracts, the vitamin C and antioxidants are less likely to degrade as long as the product is formulated correctly.
Other Benefits of Camu Camu
All that vitamin C in camu camu is great for your immune system. Vitamin C is one of the most well-known immune boosters and may even help to shorten the common cold and respiratory infections. With the high amount of this nutrient in camu camu, you only need a small amount to boost your supply.
Antioxidants, including carotenoids, are also key to a healthy immune system. They keep free radicals from weakening immune function and help your cells function at their best.
Contains Important Minerals
Obviously, many people are excited about camu camu because of its vitamin C power. However, it also contains other nutrients, including some essential minerals.
In powdered form, camu camu contains a good amount of both manganese and copper. It also has lower amounts of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and zinc. If you take the powder daily, it will even add a little bit of fiber to your diet!
Supports Gut Health
Some research shows that camu camu can alter gut microbiota in a positive way and may even help prevent obesity. It also has antimicrobial properties that may inhibit bacteria and other pathogens that cause digestive upset.
Of course, antioxidants are good for your gut as well as the rest of your body. They may help with chronic inflammation in the gut and work to prevent oxidative stress.
As a bonus, camu camu may also lower fat accumulation, which could give it benefits for weight loss and maintenance.
Could Lower Chronic Inflammation
One of the major causes of chronic inflammation is oxidative stress. By combating free radical damage, the antioxidants in camu camu can likely lower inflammation throughout your whole body.
In fact, one study found that participants who drank camu camu juice had a significant decrease in certain inflammatory markers. Interestingly, the control group, who took a vitamin C tablet, did not experience a decrease.
Perhaps vitamin C is more potent in whole form, or it combines with other antioxidants in camu camu to have a greater effect.
How to Use Camu Camu for Radiant Skin
The best way to use camu camu for youthful-looking skin is to apply it topically- no surprise there. You can find it as an extract in serums and creams where it pairs well with other antioxidant ingredients and natural moisturizers.
To avoid feeding your skin chemicals along with the good ingredients, look for products that are USDA Certified Organic.
For an added boost, you can also consume camu camu as a powder or a juice. This will benefit your skin by working from the inside out and will give your body a vitamin C boost.
Once again, look for organic and sustainably sourced products. This is especially important for camu camu because it’s in danger of being over-harvested in its native habitat. The powder is very tart, so it’s best to add it to something like a smoothie, and you only need to take a small amount each day.
Powerful Anti-Aging Skincare
If you want to get the anti-aging benefits of camu camu for your skin, look into the Age-Defying Dream Cream from Purity Woods.
It contains organic camu camu extract as well as nearly two dozen other pure botanicals. This includes other vitamin C and antioxidant ingredients as well as incredible moisturizers like mango seed butter. The entire formula is USDA Certified Organic and cruelty-free.
You already know how powerful camu camu can be on its own, so imagine its effectiveness when combined with other plant extracts specifically chosen to erase the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, etc.
Learn more about the Age-Defying Dream Cream here and treat your skin to the wonderful effects of camu camu!