Kiwifruit — also called Chinese gooseberry or kiwi — is a group of more than 60 varieties of edible berries.

These berries differ in size, shape, and taste. Some are smaller than others, but that doesn’t stop them from packing a large nutritional punch.

Kiwis are full of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties known to support healthy skin. Therefore, you might wonder whether the fruit could be a good addition to your skin care routine.

This article tells you whether kiwifruit is good for your skin.

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Kiwi is rich in the antioxidant vitamins C and E. Plus, kiwi contains plant compounds, including polyphenols, which also provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits (1, 2, 3, 4).

Many of these nutrients are present in human skin. Plus, eating them could benefit your skin health in multiple ways:

  • Vitamin C. Animal studies show that vitamin C may limit skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The vitamin also promotes collagen formation and may prevent skin discoloration from age spots or other causes (5, 6).
  • Vitamin E. This vitamin helps protect your skin from damage caused by UV radiation and oxidative stress (5).
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin. Especially when combined, these antioxidants may reduce dark spots on your skin. They may also increase levels of carotenoids, which protect your skin from the harmful effects of sunlight (5, 7).
  • Polyphenols. Kiwi contains a polyphenol from the flavonoid family called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG may protect your skin from oxidative stress and possibly even skin cancer (5, 8).

The peel, or “skin,” of kiwifruit contains more of these nutrients than the soft, sweet interior. Thankfully, the skin is edible — to get the most nutrients, try eating it next time you enjoy a kiwifruit (9, 10, 11).

Keep in mind, though, that most studies on these benefits focus on high dose supplements of the nutrients found in kiwifruit, not on eating the fruit itself.

And even though kiwi contains many nutrients with potential skin health benefits, no research supports the idea that eating large amounts of kiwi alone will translate to healthier skin.

Rather, eating a diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and fish might be a better, more realistic, and more enjoyable approach to improving your skin health through food.

SUMMARY

Kiwi is full of nutrients that could support many aspects of health, including skin health. Still, when it comes to boosting your skin health, a balanced diet is likely to be more effective than just eating more kiwi.

The thought of using kiwi on your skin might conjure images of a kiwi slice eye treatment or a crushed fruit face mask.

Some people like to use kiwi eye masks — slices of the fruit placed over the eyelids — to reduce puffiness and dark circles.

However, most of the support for skin care regimens like these comes only from word of mouth. There’s little scientific evidence that applying kiwi directly to your face or skin has any skin health benefits.

Despite this, many skin serums, face masks, and other skin care products contain kiwifruit, its seeds, or its extracts.

Potential benefits

Only a few studies have investigated kiwi specifically for skin health. Most of these have not been in humans, nor have they focused on the direct application of kiwi to the skin.

A test-tube study from 2005 found that polysaccharides — a type of sugar — from kiwifruit stimulated the production of keratinocyte skin cells, among other effects. Keratinocytes are predominant cells in the epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin (12).

Further, a 2009 study in mice found that taking a kiwifruit extract improved symptoms of eczema, a condition that causes itchy, red spots on the skin (13).

However, because this study involved administering kiwi extract by mouth, the results cannot be applied to kiwi-based skin care products or application of the fruit directly to the skin.

This means that kiwi may best benefit your skin when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Still, more research, especially in humans, is needed before any conclusions on kiwi’s skin benefits can be made — regardless of whether it’s ingested or applied topically.

SUMMARY

Though some people claim to have experienced healthier skin as a result of using kiwi slice eye masks or skin care products containing kiwi, more research is needed to confirm any benefits of applying kiwi to the skin or eating the fruit.

The most significant cause of concern in using kiwi to improve your skin health is the risk of an allergic reaction (14, 15, 16).

If you have a kiwi allergy, avoid eating kiwi, applying the fruit to your skin, or using products that contain kiwi extracts.

Rashes and hives are common symptoms of a kiwi allergy. Severe reactions may progress to anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction that may cause difficulty breathing, uncontrollable vomiting, or loss of consciousness (14).

Thus, if you notice any unusual symptoms after eating kiwi or using products that contain it, stop eating the fruit or using the products immediately and avoid the fruit until you can consult a healthcare professional about the issue.

SUMMARY

Kiwi can cause allergic reactions in some people. Stop eating the fruit or using any kiwi-containing products if you notice symptoms such as a rash, itching or swelling around your mouth, vomiting, or difficulty breathing.

Kiwi contains several nutrients that may be good for your skin, including antioxidants such as vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin as well as flavonoids.

Even though you may have seen or heard about people applying kiwi directly to their skin, this is likely not the best way to use the fruit to improve skin health.

Instead, enjoy eating kiwi alongside other fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish to ensure your diet contains plenty of skin-supporting nutrients from a variety of wholesome sources.