Here’s Why You’re Seeing Bromelain Everywhere Lately

by Jessica DeFino
Glow Recipe

Aside from making me nostalgic for those afternoons of binging Spongebob Squarepants after school, Glow Recipe's new Pineapple-C Bright Serum, in a cute fruit-shaped bottle, is a must for one major reason: Pineapple skincare products will make you glow.

“Pineapple is one of the most potent forms of natural vitamin C, which makes it an amazing source for brightening and evening skin tone,” Christine Chang, the co-founder and co-CEO of Glow Recipe, tells The Zoe Report. Anyone who’s even a little bit interested in skincare is probably familiar with the glow-giving benefits of vitamin C — it’s the buzzy beauty ingredient of the moment — but what you may not know is how many different types of vitamin C are out there. “We worked with our lab to create our unique blend of pure vitamin C from pineapple, ascorbic acid, and a more stable vitamin C derivative, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid,” Chang says.

While l-ascorbic acid (the most commonly used in skincare products) is amazing for lifting hyperpigmentation, it’s also pretty unstable. “It’s prone to oxidation, rendering it ineffective,” Cheng explains. “This is where vitamin C derivatives come in.” Glow Recipe’s mix of natural C (from pineapple), l-ascorbic acid, and stabilizing 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid makes for “the ultimate brightening serum that is more stable, potent, and long-lasting,” according to Chang.

Glow Recipe

Plenty of foods are high in vitamin C, though — oranges and kakadu plums, for example — so why is pineapple suddenly part of the skincare fruit plate? “In recent practice, it has been shown to act as a natural alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) in that it exfoliates the skin,” Dr. Sabrina Uddin, a board certified dermatologist, tells The Zoe Report. The fruit features naturally occurring lactic acid (generally considered to be the most gentle exfoliating acid), which helps loosen dead skin cells, decongest pores, and smooth surface texture.

But perhaps pineapple’s biggest contribution to clear, glowing skin comes from its enzymatic content. The ingredient is high in bromelain, a natural enzyme known for its wound-healing abilities. “Bromelain helps decrease inflammation in the skin,” Dr. Devika Icecreamwala, a dermatologist with Icecreamwala Dermatology in San Francisco, tells The Zoe Report. “I like to use it after aesthetic procedures such as fillers, Botox, and lasers because it helps reduce swelling, bruising, and pain.”

In your daily skincare routine, that translates to fewer breakouts. “Acne is great example — the bromelain not only decreases the inflammation, but also exfoliates the skin and unclogs pores,” Dr. Icecreamwala says. Studies have shown that bromelain also speeds up the body’s self-healing response, so pimples clear up more quickly.

Glow Recipe

Here’s where all the sensitive-skinned beauty enthusiasts might (rightfully) raise an eyebrow. The combination of vitamin C, AHAs, and exfoliating enzymes packs a powerful punch and could result in irritation — which is exactly why Glow Recipe threw soothing ingredients like chamomile and aloe into the mix. “The pineapple fruit itself is extremely hydrating, but we also added hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, which infuses more hydration while skin is resurfacing,” Sarah Lee, the co-founder and co-CEO of Glow Recipe, tells The Zoe Report. “We know that very sensitive skin types tend to shy away from vitamin C, so we wanted to create a gentle yet potent formula — this way, everyone can work this skin brightening ingredient into their daily routines.”

That being said, anyone who identifies as reactive should start slow with pineapple products. “For sensitive skin types, use three to four times a week and gradually increase usage,” Lee says. Vitamin C veterans, however, can use it “every day, morning and night,” according to the co-founder.

“I also do not recommend it being used in combination with other exfoliants — AHAs or BHAs — or retinoids, because bromelain can compound irritation,” Dr. Uddin says. Bromelain can also trigger reactions for those who are allergic to bees, per Dr. Icecreamwala — so if you have a bee allergy, maybe skip this one. As always, follow application of any pineapple product with a healthy dose of SPF, since vitamin C is known for making skin more reactive to the sun.

Ahead, 12 ways to add a slice of brightening, resurfacing, pimple-healing pineapple to your skincare routine.

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