Citrus fruit waste upcycled for cosmetics, active skin care holds potential finds review

writing in Applied Food Research​​, researchers from India’s National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management investigated current food and non-food applications of citrus fruit processing waste.

Findings showed that citrus fruit waste – the seeds, peel, pulp and pomace that represented “practically half of the fresh fruit mass”​ – offered promise as upcycled ingredients because of the plethora of bioactive phytochemicals and aroma-giving properties they contained. And for cosmetics, “high-value compounds”​ like essential oils and unique fragrances made citrus fruit waste a suitable choice, the review found.

Citrus peel waste – anti-ageing, skin health and brightening

In cosmetics, the researchers said citrus waste could be used in body sprays, body lotions, soaps and creams. “Being a rich source of bioactive compounds, antioxidants, vitamins (vitamin C and E), and polyphenolic compounds, nowadays, agro-industrial waste is also utilized as an active ingredient for skin care products,” ​the researchers wrote in the review.

“Citrus peel waste is one such agro-waste that is extensively used in the cosmetics industry,”​ they said.

Citrus peel, which was high in antioxidants, for example, could be as an anti-ageing agent, offering anti-collagenese and anti-elastase potential, or incorporated into skin care formulas to reduce skin-related issues like acne. Peel waste, particularly orange-peel waste, could also be used in skin whitening creams or treatments for dark spots and hyperpigmentation due to its high anti-tyrosinase activity leading to the lowering of melanin pigment. Research remained ongoing in the field of skin brightening formulas and essential oils extracted from citrus peel waste could be used as fragrance components.


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