Everyone’s talking about the big skincare guys, aka retinol, vitamin C, or niacinamide, but so little attention goes to hesperidin. Although hesperidin is found in quite a few products and possesses legit skin benefits, most people aren’t familiar with this hidden gem and its topical effects. So, as usual, we are going to puzzle out all the research-backed skin benefits of hesperidin. Whether you want to know what hesperidin does for skin, who can use it, or how safe it is, you’ll enjoy this read. Shall we start?
What we have found
Ingredient studied: Hesperidin
Type of ingredient: Flavonoid antioxidant
Main benefits for skin: Increases antioxidant protection, reduces UV damage, brightens
Other research-backed benefits for skin: Anti-inflammatory properties, fortifies the barrier, soothes redness, minimizes wrinkles
How to use it: Hesperidin can be used both topically or orally
Who should use it: Hesperidin is considered well-tolerated and suitable for all skin types
How often can you use it: It can be used daily unless it causes irritations
What is hesperidin?
Hesperidin is a bioflavonoid found in large concentrations in citrus fruits, including lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. Shortly, the theory behind the hesperidin skin benefits is pretty much related to its flavonoid content, making it a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory element with healing properties. Besides, hesperidin provides anti-aging and brightening benefits, boosts blood flow, and stabilizes the protective barrier when applied topically. However, despite its benefits, hesperidin has low solubility in water, meaning its skin penetration rate is reduced. This could stop hesperetin from reaching its site of action.
Therefore, the need for hesperidin derivatives with increased solubility has emerged. One of these derivatives is glucosyl hesperidin (GH). Glucosyl hesperidin is a synthetic form of hesperidin, composed of glucose and hesperidin. This process results in a substance that is 10,000 times more soluble in water than hesperidin while retaining its natural functions.
The methylation (a form of alkylation) of hesperidin is another common practice to enhance the absorption rate of hesperidin, resulting in hesperidin methyl chalcone (HMC).
Because hesperidin alone has low solubility, GH and HMC are more often used in skincare products’ formulations. But don’t worry. Both hesperidin derivatives, GH and HMC, have equal or better benefits.
Now that you know what hesperidin is, it’ll be easier to understand where all its benefits come from. We’ll try to keep it short and sweet.
As you’d guess, the hesperidin skin benefit that’s most touted for is its powerful antioxidant activity. Hesperidin is itself a flavonoid and provides strong antioxidant protection to cells, being a promising free-radical scavenger. Studies also suggest that hesperidin can mitigate UV-induced damage, reducing both UVA and UVB radiation effects on the skin. According to the results, more than 76% of cells survived after UVB exposure when hesperidin was applied before exposure.
Anti-inflammatory and soothing properties
Hesperidin also has anti-inflammatory properties. Since it fights free radicals, hesperidin can soothe inflammations caused by oxidative stress, preventing cell damage. This may as well accelerate skin healing and improve conditions such as redness.
Hesperidin is often used as an active ingredient in skin lightening products since it regulates melanin content (skin-darkening pigment). Studies have confirmed that topical hesperidin can inhibit tyrosinase activity, the enzyme responsible for melanin production, leading to pigment decrease.
Hesperidin also possesses anti-melanogenic effects, meaning it reduces melanin transfer to the cells. In one study, topical applications of 0.2% hesperidin for 14 days decreased pigment levels by almost 25%. These findings suggest that hesperidin can lighten the skin, improve dark circles, and minimize dullness and puffiness, providing a more radiant complexion.
Recovers skin barrier
Another hesperidin skin benefit is the enhanced barrier function, which results in increased thickness and protection against external aggressors. One study shows that twice-daily applications of 2% hesperidin for six days accelerated the recovery of the barrier, though the tests haven’t been done on human skin.
There’s also some evidence suggesting that hesperidin may reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL), helping skin retain moisture.
Last but not least, hesperidin helps prevent and minimize the look of aging marks such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. When applied to the skin, hesperidin increases the antioxidant defense, relieves inflammations, inhibits melanin, and consolidates the protective barrier. Besides, flavonoids are known to increase cell proliferation, which in turn thickens the skin. In other words, hesperidin maintains skin integrity, leading to fewer wrinkles, less dullness, and more glow.
Oral consumption of hesperidin was also found to improve collagen synthesis by preventing its degradation. However, no studies confirm that topical application would have the same effects. Similarly, hesperidin boosts blood flow when it’s digested, while the topical effects aren’t known.
How to use hesperidin for skin?
Just get yourself a hesperidin-containing product and apply it following the indications. You’ll mostly find hesperidin as an active ingredient in eye creams and treatments targeting skin firmness, puffiness, and dark spots.
What are the side effects of hesperidin?
Hesperidin is generally safe whether it’s applied topically or consumed as a supplement. During studies, topical application of 2% hesperidin caused no adverse effects having a high tolerance profile. If your skin is easily reactive would be best to start with a patch test. Like any other skincare ingredient, hesperidin may cause sensitivities and lead to allergies.
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