The kiwifruit is often underappreciated in our diets and overlooked at the grocery store or farmers market. Many of us find it to be more of a “high maintenance” fruit that requires peeling and mess but it’s time to finally appreciate the kiwi for what it is—an edible skincare must!Kiwi is the leading source of vitamin C in the fruit world and it is vitamin C that we know has huge benefits in keeping skin young and vibrant. Vitamin C was discovered in 1747 by a Scottish naval surgeon who was doing a study on the disease scurvy. It was found that vitamin C could, in fact, prevent the debilitating disease. Early on, vitamin C was identified for its healing potential, and today, it still boasts the same protective properties.

Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, peppers and cruciferous vegetables. It  is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body and affects collagen formation, wound healing and skin pigmentation. While vitamin C is abundant as a powerful antioxidant in hundreds of expensive skin creams, it’s also prevalent in a cheaper alternative, the kiwi. Our bodies don’t produce vitamin C on its own and as we age, we become less able to store it as well. Bad habits such as smoking make storage even more difficult. While skin creams can help, they may have more of a tendency to oxidize over time, thus decreasing the vitamin C effect on the skin.

Experts believe, however that getting plenty of vitamin C through food can have significant effects on both outer and inner beauty. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of vitamin C in skincare.A study in 2010 in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery noted that vitamin C played a major role in collagen synthesis and that as an antioxidant, it helps to protect and rejuvenate damaged skin. Kiwifruit is also a good source of vitamin E, another antioxidant that can help you achieve great skin by fighting against the formation of free radicals (your skin’s greatest enemy). Though kiwi is delicious as a snack, it also has benefits when applied directly to the skin. Putting kiwi slices over the eyes helps to reduce puffiness and darkening.

A quick Internet search revealed several great natural skincare masks with kiwi as the leading ingredient.In 2007, researchers from Austria published a study that demonstrated that as fruit ripens, their antioxidant levels increase. This was due to the breakdown of chlorophyll.  Given this, you’ll get the most skincare benefits from ripe kiwis than non-ripe versions—after all,  it takes time to become fabulous under their fuzzy outer layer. (You can eat the skin too by the way; it’s a great food to help with constipation.) For beautiful skin, pick up some kiwi today. Throw it in your salad, eat it alone as a snack or cut it in slices and use to de-stress tired eyes.Who knew a brown-and-green, little, fuzzy fruit could have such an impact on beautiful skin!