Ingredient Highlight – Ellagic Acid

One of the ingredients that popped up on our radar recently is Ellagic acid. What is Ellagic acid, and what are its benefits for the skin? Is it an ingredient you should get excited about?

What is Ellagic acid?

Ellagic acid is a polyphenol with antioxidant benefits. The main sources of Ellagic acid include berries (raspberry, blackberry, strawberries, cranberry, and pomegranate) as well as nuts (pecans and walnuts).

The skin benefits of Ellagic acid


Ellagic acid has several potentially exciting skin benefits.
It has antioxidant properties, which means it protects the skin against photoaging induced by free radical damage and UV damage. Over time, antioxidants prevent collagen and elastic degradation. Ellagic acid does it by blocking MMP, enzymes responsible for the degradation of collagen and elastin.

Another skin benefit is Ellagic acid reduces hyperpigmentation and helps even out the skin tone.

That is all well and good, but the proof is in the pudding. Are there any studies that support these claims?

A 12-week study conducted on 82 people in 2013 compared the effects of two formulas. One contained Ellagic acid, Salicylic acid, yeast extract, and hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid. The other regime included a 4% hydroquinone cream and 0.025% tretinoin cream. The effects were comparable – both products reduced hyperpigmentation. But, most notably, the subjects who used the Ellagic acid formula experienced no skin irritation or peeling associated with tretinoin.

A study from 2010 conducted on UVB irradiated human cells and hairless mice concluded that Ellagic acid prevented inflammation and collagen degradation normally associated with UVB damage.

When these two skin benefits are combined in one ingredient, and it causes no irritation, it is easy to understand the excitement in the skincare community about its potential.

Which skin type can use Ellagic acid?


Ellagic acid is suitable for all skin types since we all need a dedicated product with antioxidant regardless of age. But it is especially suited for sensitive skin types who want to treat hyperpigmentation and would normally steer clear of hydroquinone and tretinoin.

Products with Ellagic acid

At the moment, there are only a handful of products with Ellagic acid on the market.

Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster

Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster combines several acids and antioxidants to exfoliate and renew. It can be used on its own or mixed with other products in your routine.

Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector

The ever-dependable Skinceuticals created the Advanced Pigment corrector with Hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, Ellagic, and Salicylic acids that promotes even skin tone and fades hyperpigmentation.

Allies of Skin 1A Retinal and Peptides Overnight Mask

Allies of Skin 1A Retinal and Peptides Overnight Mask is a supercharged overnight treatment that combines time-release Retinaldehyde with antioxidants, brighteners, and a peptide complex.

Then I Met You The Giving Essence

If you would like to try an essence, Then I Met You The Giving Essence combines Ellagic acid (to brighten) with Polyglutamic acid (to deeply hydrate). It also contains a bunch of antioxidants, Galactomyces, and Red Algae extract.

Should you try Ellagic acid? It might be a good option for people with sensitive skin who would like to treat hyperpigmentation, but had no luck with tretinoin and hydroquinone.

Have you tried a product with Ellagic acid? Are you happy with the results?

Roberta Striga