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Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

By Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she’s held beauty roles at Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.

Beautiful Woman with glowing skin

Image by Studio Firma / Stocksy

July 07, 2024

Since skin care supplements proliferated the market several years ago, we’ve seen a full spectrum of ingredients to support skin from the inside-out. While skin-specific research is lacking for some ingredients, for others the claims are more well founded.

For example, the carotenoid astaxanthin has been studied enough to warrant a comprehensive review1. But still: The market can still be a mixed bag of effectiveness and research. 

The good news is that with the heightened market interest in skin supplements often comes more research. 

Such is the case with a new buzzy fruit extract. While blood orange extract isn’t a household name for its glowing benefits, growing research shows that the plant extract shows impressive wrinkle-reducing results.*

Research says blood orange extract can reduce wrinkles, improve moisture & boost radiance*

You may have heard of blood oranges, the ruby-hued citrus fruit that grows along the Mediterranean. The fruit’s known for being a more floral and tart version of navel oranges—and that complex flavor profile makes them a popular choice for chefs, mixologists, and bakers. 

Who knew supplement formulators and skin care enthusiasts would be added to that list? 

Well, according to a 2022 randomized, double-blind, controlled study2 on 110 adults evaluated the effectiveness of blood orange extract (as Red Orange Complex™) and found it was beneficial for wrinkle-reduction, brightness, photoproduction, moisture levels, and dark spot reduction.*

In the study the participants took 100 mg a day of the extract, and researchers checked in on their skin at two time frames: 14 days and 56 days.  

Here’s what they found:

  • Improved brightness & radiance: Participants experienced statistically significant increase in skin radiance—9.2% after 14 days and 18.5% after 56 days.*
  • Lessened wrinkle depth & severity: After measuring the participants’ mean deepest wrinkle before, during, and after supplementation, they found that the wrinkle depth decreased by 6.9% by the end of the study.*
  • Improved elasticity: They found that participants saw an increase in elasticity by 5.9% in 14 days and 13.9% in 56 days.* Interestingly, the researchers suspect this benefit could be attributed to the vitamin C in the extract, as vitamin C plays a key role in the elastin and collagen synthesis process. 
  • Increased moisture levels: Participants’ skin moisturization increased by 5.3% in 14 days and 12.3% in 56 days.* In addition, that study also found that transepidermal water loss decreased. This basically just means that the skin was more efficient at retaining water in the skin.* In 14 days, TEWL decreased by 2.7%, and in 56 days, it decreased by 14.5%.   
  • Improved photoprotection: Observed in 56 days, they found that the skin was more resilient to UVA damage.* UVA radiation is the type of UV that’s most often associated with signs of aging. 

These skin benefits are likely thanks to the extract’s antioxidant profile. Blood orange extract contains powerful antioxidants3 such as flavonoids (anthocyanins and flavanones), non-flavonoid phenols (hydroxycinnamic acids), and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). In fact, according to a randomized, double-blind, controlled study, supplementing with the extract led to a statistically significant increase in antioxidant capacity3 of the skin.*

How can you increase your intake of blood orange extract?

I’m going to guess that blood oranges aren’t part of most folk’s daily diet—they’re not mine, that I know. So to reap the benefits, it’s better to take it via supplements. 

While you can find the extract as a single-ingredient supplement, you’ll get more benefits if you look for it alongside other skin care ingredients. For example, in mindbodygreen’s best skin+, it’s formulated alongside astaxanthin and phytoceramides. 

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that’s known as the “king of the carotenoids” and can also help smooth wrinkles and fade dark spots.* Phytoceramides are polar lipids that are used by the skin to improve barrier function and increase hydration.*

The three ingredients work together to help reduce the appearance of dark spots, wrinkles, and dullness—while enhancing moisture, firmness, photoprotection, and brightness.* 

The takeaway

The skin care supplement space continues to evolve, and we’re seeing exciting new ingredients enter the forefront, including blood orange extract.

The fruit extract can improve tone, reduce wrinkles, enhance photoprotection, and more.* Find it as part of a well-rounded skin care supplement for additional benefits, like in mindbodygreen’s best skin+.