It's one of the most common shrubs in Scandinavia while its fruit is a popular sauce on savoury and sweet dishes. But lingonberries also serve up multiple benefits for the skin when used in your daily moisturiser
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Berries get a lot of air time when it comes to extolling the benefits of a healthy diet. But more often than not, they fly under the radar as skincare ingredients – unless you live in Scandinavia, of course.
Possibly one of the most popular berries in the Nordics, lingonberries are a potent source of antioxidants to protect your skin's DNA from damaging UV rays and pollution particles. Plus the essential fatty acids from the seeds' oil offer welcome relief to dry or more mature skin types, where the oestrogen levels have dropped off a cliff leaving behind little lubrication.
Lumene is renowned for its use of lingonberries across its skincare portfolio. Here Tiina Isohanni, Vice President of R&D and Sustainability, who has undertaken pioneering research into Nordic raw materials, explains all.
What are lingonberries?
The lingonberry (vaccinium vitis-idaea) is a red, spherical and bitter-tasting berry. It produces the largest yield of all natural berries when harvested from late August to early October.
Lingonberry grows all over Finland and widely in Scandinavia. It's the most common shrub among the undergrowth of forests. Lingonberries can also be found in pine or spruce bogs, in herb-rich forests and pine forests that are widely spread in northern Sweden.
Lingonberries contain a significant amount of vitamin E; they are also rich in manganese and a good source of fibre. Lingonberry is rich in many different types of polyphenols such as quercetin.
Crucially, lingonberries also contain the same amount of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, found in dark grapes and red wine.
Lingonberry harvesting. Photo: Getty
What are the benefits of lingonberry for skin?
Several parts of the lingonberry can be used in skincare. Lingonberry water is an upcycled ingredient from the berry juice industry and has hydrating properties on the skin. Similarly, lingonberry seed oil is also developed from these side streams; it is high in vitamin E and has the highest concentration of alpha-linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid) of any berry seed oil.
Together with linoleic acid, these essential fatty acids make up 85 per cent of the skin's total fatty acids and are needed for it to function properly. In skincare, lingonberry seed oil has hydrating and skin brightening properties, as well as preventing water loss.
One of the most important components of lingonberry extract is quercetin, a plant pigment and antioxidant flavonoid. In vitro studies have shown that quercetin prevents an enzyme known as elastase from breaking down elastin and causing skin sagging, making it suitable for mature skin. Lumene has patented the anti-elastase properties and composition of lingonberry extract in skincare.
Finally, Lumene has also included a 'Lingonberry Stem Culture Lysate' in its skincare. By using biotechnology, a cell culture rich in polyphenols (Hydroxycinnamic acids, Hydroxybenzoic acids, Flavanols, Flavonols, Anthocyanins) was obtained, with an antioxidant activity 11 times higher than that obtained directly from lingonberry berries. This lysate's protective and anti-ageing properties are second to none.
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