It was reported end June 2015 that an association (not causal link) was found between the consumption of citrus fruits (grapefruits and oranges) and skin cancer. Key points in these reports were:
- Increased risk of skin cancer melanoma with drinking orange juice and eating grape fruit
- Association, not causal
- Possible (in theory) that psoralens and furocoumarins in citrus fruits make the skin more photo-sensitive
- Association found from questionnaires filled by about 100,000 health professionals
#SkinishMom looked up Pubmed for more on citrus fruits and got into ‘Citrus Confusion’ – studies seemed in general to point to benefits from citrus fruits, including that of skin cancer protection. Below are the studies:
- Citrus peel use is associated with reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin – showed that peel consumption, the major source of dietary d-limonene, is not uncommon and may have a potential protective effect in relation to skin squamous cell carcinoma
- Hesperetin induces melanin production in adult human epidermal melanocytes -Hesperidin, a flavonoid in citrus fruits, may protect from photodamage if its capacity to increase melanin production in human melanocyte cultures could be reproduced on human skin
- Topical hesperidin prevents glucocorticoid-induced abnormalities in epidermal barrier function in murine skin – Hesperidin can stimulate epidermal proliferation and differentiation, therefore protect against the side effects of topical glucocorticoids
- Protective effect of red orange extract supplementation against UV-induced skin damages: photoaging and solar lentigines – Red orange extract intake can strengthen physiological antioxidant skin defenses, protecting skin from the damaging processes involved in photo-aging and leading to an improvement in skin appearance and pigmentation
- Oral dose of citrus peel extracts promotes wound repair in diabetic rats – showed significant reduction in blood glucose and time to wound closure. Tissue growth and collagen synthesis were significantly higher
It is true though that psoralen (compound in citrus fruits) make the skin more photo-sensitive; there is a treatment for severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in adults that prescribed psoralen to be taken 1.5 to 2 hours before phototherapy so that the skin will be more sensitive to the light (“PUVA“).
Taken together, #SkinishMom isn’t going to stop taking citrus fruits but always, sun protection please.