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Most of us can't imagine hot summer days without a fresh, sweet, and juicy watermelon. But did you know that besides an irresistible and refreshing taste, this fruit also has many skin-loving benefits?
If you're a K-beauty fan, this probably doesn't come as a surprise to you – Korean women have used watermelon to treat a number of skin woes for generations. Today, it's still a superhero skincare ingredient, treating everything from fine lines and wrinkles to acne and sunburns.
And no wonder since every single part of this juicy beauty – from its seeds to flesh and rind – is packed with nutrients and vitamins essential for our skin health.
Keep on reading to learn all about its incredible benefits for the skin and how you can use it in your skincare routine.
Skin Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon belongs to the same family of plants as pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers, called the Cucurbits. So we could say that cucumber is something like its distant relative.
Watermelon consists of almost 93% of H2O – hence its enviable moisturizing properties. But it's not just about the water. The main superhero ingredients of watermelon are citrulline and lycopene. Citrulline is an amino acid that our body converts into arginine, the main component for the prevention and improvement of skin aging [source].
Citrulline is supported by its partner - lycopene, a red pigment that gives watermelon that gorgeous pink tone. Lycopene is also a potent antioxidant, protecting the skin from pollutants and UV rays and improving its texture and tone [source].
Thanks to this combination, watermelon has taken its well-deserved place under the sun in the world of beauty. So, let's sum up its fantastic skin benefits:
#1: It's Hydrating.
Consisting of more than 90% of water, watermelon is excellent for providing your skin with that much-needed hydration boost. In addition, when applied topically, it not only moisturizes your skin but helps it retain that moisture thanks to its high malic acid content – a strong humectant.
Mash a slice of watermelon and mix it with one tablespoon of organic honey. Honey will help the watermelon retain moisture in the skin and boost its hydrating and nourishing properties. Apply the mask to cleansed face and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Then rinse with lukewarm water.
#2: It's Exfoliating.
You can use watermelon as a mild exfoliator suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Again, due to its malic acid content, watermelon will gently remove dead skin cells from your skin, leaving it supple and radiant. Also, your complexion will be more even and smoother.
Mix two tablespoons of watermelon pulp with one tablespoon of Greek yogurt. The enzymes and acids from this mask are perfect for oily skin. The ingredients will gently remove dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin and hydrate your skin at the same time. Apply the mask to your face and neck and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Then rinse with lukewarm water.
#3. It's Nourishing.
Loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins (such as vitamins A, B, and C), watermelon offers all the necessary nutrients our skin craves. It strengthens and repairs our skin cells from the inside out. Additionally, the watermelon seeds are chock full of plant protein and fatty acids, such as ceramides, oleic acid, and linoleic acid. These all play an essential role in keeping the skin healthy and the complexion looking plumper and bright.
For bonus benefits, besides having your daily dose of fresh watermelon snack, you could also give watermelon seed supplements a shot.
#4: It's Anti-Inflammatory.
If your skin is aggravated and inflamed due to acne, rashes, or sunburn, watermelon rind should be your go-to ingredient. Beta-carotene and lycopene from watermelon have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, making it ideal for protecting and healing irritated and sunburned skin as well as calming various skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.
Blend watermelon rind, flesh, and seeds and drain the juice. Soak a cotton ball or pad in it, and treat irritated areas on your skin. Leave the juice work its wonders for about 15 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.
#5: It's Anti-Aging.
And finally, the one benefit we're all waiting for – watermelon can be your solid anti-aging ally. As we already mentioned above, the two main ingredients of watermelon – lycopene and citrulline – are a powerful duo in protecting the skin from pollution and UV radiation, delaying the skin aging process. Additionally, the high content of vitamins C and A is essential for collagen synthesis and cell renewal. Therefore, watermelon can bring your dull and flaky skin back to life and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Mix two tablespoons of fresh watermelon juice with one tablespoon of avocado puree. Avocado is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (as well as vitamins C and E), making it a powerful antioxidant and a great addition to watermelon. Together they can help revitalize the skin and slow down its aging process. Apply the mask to your face and neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Then rinse with lukewarm water.
Other Health Benefits of Watermelon
Besides being incredibly beneficial for our skin, watermelon has other health benefits, preventing and treating a myriad of conditions and illnesses.
Here are the top 5 health benefits of watermelon:
- Improves heart health – studies suggest that lycopene helps heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure [source]. Additionally, the potassium and magnesium in watermelon are important electrolytes, supporting normal heart function;
- Supports brain function – research has shown that there's a link between lycopene and brain function, delaying the onset and development of Alzheimer's disease [source];
- May Prevent Cancer – according to studies, lycopene intake is associated with reducing IGF, an insulin-like growth factor, a protein often linked to cancer. In addition, a plant compound called Cucurbitacin E is found in abundance in watermelon, and research suggests it has the ability to prevent tumor growth;
- Supports weight loss – filled with water and fiber, watermelon is essential for healthy digestion, promoting regular bowel movement and aiding the process of weight loss;
- Relieves muscle soreness – due to its high citrulline content, watermelon juice can ease muscle soreness and speed up recovery after exercise [source].
Potential Side Effects of Eating Watermelon
Watermelon eating side effects are extremely rare. However, excessive consumption of this otherwise very healthy fruit (or a vegetable, we're still not sure how to categorize it) can lead to certain conditions, such as:
- Certain digestive disorders – too much watermelon, hence lycopene overdose, can lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and indigestion;
- Hyperkalemia – over-consumption of watermelon can cause a rise in potassium levels in the blood. This condition is known as hyperkalemia and is linked to several cardiovascular disorders, including weak pulse and irregular heartbeat. Therefore, people with already high potassium levels in their body should eat watermelon in moderation – not more than one cup a day;
- Allergic reactions – some people may have an allergy to watermelon and develop specific allergic reactions after eating it, such as rash, swelling, and skin redness. In this case, you shouldn't even have a single slice of watermelon from time to time (unfortunately!).
Watermelon – 15 Fun Facts
Fun Fact #1: Watermelons are considered both a fruit and a veggie – they are fruits because they have seeds, but many farmers consider them vegetables since they belong to the same plant family as cucumbers.
Fun Fact #2: All parts of watermelon are edible. Across China and the Middle East, watermelon seeds are dried and roasted for a light snack, while watermelon rinds are often stewed, stir-fried, and even pickled.
Fun Fact #3: Watermelons contain about 93% of water, hence the name.
Fun Fact #4: Watermelons can grow really big – to this date, the heaviest watermelon was grown by Chris Kent from Tennessee, the holder of the Guinness World Record. His plant weighed 350.5 pounds.
Fun Fact #5: There are 1200 different watermelon varieties, grouped into four main categories: seeded, seedless, mini or icebox, and yellow/orange.
Fun Fact #6: Farmers in Japan grow them cube-shaped by cultivating them in box-like molds and sell them for $100 upwards. Lately, watermelons are also grown heart-shaped, pyramid-shaped, and even in the shape of a human face.
Fun Fact #7: Since they are native to Africa, watermelons need lots of sun and heat to thrive, up to 130 warm and sunny days to ripen completely.
Fun Fact #8: In Egypt, watermelons have been cultivated for over 5,000 years. Watermelons can be found depicted on their tomb walls. Ancient Egyptians had the custom of leaving a watermelon at the tombs of their loved ones to feed and nourish them while on their journey through the afterlife.
Fun Fact #9: Although famous for their bright red and pinkish flesh, some watermelons have white, orange, and even green flesh.
Fun Fact #10: In Africa and Egypt, people, especially old-timers, like to eat watermelons with a dash of salt or in combination with salty cheese.
Fun Fact #11: Watermelon was Mark Twain's favorite fruit – he even called it the Food of Angels.
Fun Fact #12: The watermelon seed spitting contest is a real deal at the Texas festival, held every June.
Fun fact #13: Americans eat more watermelon per year than any other fruit – more than 4 billion pounds of watermelon are produced annually in the US. However, China is still the leading producer globally.
Fun Fact #14: Watermelon fruit contains only 6% of sugar.
Fun Fact #15: Due to its high citrulline content, watermelon has been used as a natural Viagra.
Healthy and tasty – there's not much else to say about watermelon! We love it and are entirely in love with it! Whether you make watermelon DIY face masks or make it a healthy snack, you can't go wrong with this amazing fruit – as long as you don't eat too much of it!
Does watermelon make your skin glow?
Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, and the red pigment and antioxidant called lycopene. Both of these ingredients protect the skin from harmful outside influences, prevent skin aging, and improve its texture and tone.
What does watermelon do to your face?
Watermelon is chock-full of skin-loving ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Therefore this amazing fruit offers many benefits for the skin. It's hydrating, exfoliating, anti-aging, nourishing, and anti-inflammatory.
Is watermelon good for skin whitening?
Yes, watermelon has skin whitening properties, thanks to the malic acid it contains. Malic acid acts as a mild skin exfoliator, removing the dead skin cells layer from its surface and leaving the complexion radiant, plump, and brighter.
What is the side effect of watermelon?
These side effects are extremely rare. However, eating too much watermelon can lead to certain conditions, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and hyperkalemia (the rise in potassium levels in the blood).
Does watermelon reduce belly fat?
One of the many health benefits of watermelon is supporting weight loss. Since it's full of fiber and water, watermelon promotes healthy digestion as well as regular bowel movement, which essentially helps the process of reducing fat in your body.