(Back To Basics)

Rambutan Is The Buzzy Super Fruit That Delivers Retinol-Like Results

No irritation in sight.

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Rambutan for skin
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With new products, brands, and categories popping up every day, beauty can be a bit overwhelming. Back to Basics is our rudimentary beauty series that serves as your crash course on the science behind some of the best formulations in the game. This week, we’re taking a look at rambutan for your skin.

Superfoods rich in nutrients such as blueberries, spinach, and avocados, play an integral role in keeping your body healthy. They’re also chock-full of antioxidants that further enhance their benefits. As a key component of your diet, these vitamin-rich substances are brimming with advantages like boosting your energy and keeping your immune system strong. But antioxidants are also extremely useful for your skin. While there are many different foods containing them, rambutan is one that is becoming increasingly popular within the beauty industry. Perhaps you’ve come across the funny-looking fruit or its equally interesting name on your TikTok FYP or Instagram explore page. With its spiky exterior, it’s pretty hard to miss, but the skin benefits of rambutan are also just as notable as its eye-catching appearance.

Plant-powered products are nothing new in the world of skin care, and are regarded highly for their ability to provide similar results with a gentler approach. In the case of rambutan, Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic, NYC, notes that it is a great alternative to retinol that can be effective and safe for sensitive skin. But there’s more to this hidden gem ingredient than meets the eye.

Ahead, TZR tapped three experts including a dermatologist, skin scientist, and a cosmetic chemist to get the full scoop on how to use it, any notable side effects, and even a few products to add to your routine.

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What Is Rambutan & What Are Its Skin Care Benefits?

Native to Southeast Asia, the term rambutan refers to both the tree and the fruit it produces. However, for use in skin care products, only the fruit is harvested. Closely related to other tropical treats like lychee, rambutan has a vibrant fuchsia color and flexible spines that enclose the soft fruit inside. Both the skin and flesh of rambutan hold a myriad of skin care benefits and can be used for anti-aging and evening tone alike.

According to Krupa Koestline, clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants, “rambutan is rich in flavonoids and phenolic compounds, including quercetin, corilagin, ellagic acid, and geraniin, which provide antioxidant benefits and aid in reducing hyperpigmentation.” But the advantages don’t stop there. As Koestline explains, it can also stimulate collagen production by targeting specific markers within skin cells.

In that vein, it is a fantastic ingredient for common concerns like fine lines and cell elasticity and can be used in place of retinol. “Similar to the popular anti-aging ingredient, rambutan promotes cell turnover, helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles,” says Dr. Engelman. She continues, explaining that extracts from the fruit also contain large quantities of vitamin C which combat free radical damage and help protect the skin against oxidative stress.

What Are The Side Effects & Who Should Use It?

“Rambutan is revered for being gentle on the skin and is unlikely to cause negative side effects,” says Dr. Engelman. That said, it can be used on any skin type and is especially beneficial for those who are prone to sensitivity. She notes that it’s also very hydrating, making it a good option for dry or mature skin. It’s important to note that rambutan is still a fairly new ingredient to skin care products, so if you do skew more sensitive, then patch testing ahead of time can be helpful. “To date, it is not considered to be a common irritant or allergen. However, a spot test before adding the ingredient to your skin care regimen will be ideal,” says Dr. Jennifer Davis Alexander, holistic skin scientist and skin wellness expert.

How To Incorporate Rambutan Into Your Skin Care Routine

Thanks to its mild nature, rambutan can be used every day without irritating the skin. In fact, Dr. Engelman notes that most people can use it both morning and night if desired. Like many other plant-derived ingredients, rambutan is found in a range of products, including serums, creams, and even face masks. This makes incorporating it into your routine pretty straightforward.

“By nature, serums and creams have a smaller molecule size that allows the key ingredient to penetrate deeper into the skin barrier,” says Dr. Engelman. She recommends using a rambutan-formulated product after cleansing and then finishing your morning routine with SPF. For evening routines, rambutan can be subbed in for your typical retinol and the rest of your regimen can remain the same.

If you’re ready to add the benefits of this super ingredient to your line up, try opting for one of the below products.

Shop Rambutan Skin Care Products