Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask: Is Watermelon Beneficial for the Skin?

As far as trendy products go, it’s hard to beat Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask. In fact, when Glow Recipe launched Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, it sold out within five hours and rapidly accumulated around 20,000 people on the waiting list (Byrdie).

Unfortunately, facing facts, it’s not the watermelon in Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask that makes this a fairly effective product. Instead, the glycolic acid, lactic acid, and licorice in this product give it a fighting chance against hyperpigmentation. Watermelon is a superior hydrator, for reasons I’ll go into below, but it is not proven to be a skin lightener for age spots, uneven skin tone, melasma, or other signs of hyperpigmentation. Nor is watermelon a superior skin firmer or wrinkle-fighter.

That said, the combination of ingredients in Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask make it a fair product for fighting mild signs of aging, such as age spots, in people in their 20’s and 30’s. I wouldn’t recommend it for more advanced signs of aging, personally, and I definitely don’t think of watermelon as a superior anti-ager in general. For more, read on.

Is Watermelon a Good Skincare Ingredient? What Does Watermelon Serum Do For Skin?

Watermelon is primarily a good hydrator, and it contains enough vitamin C that it can help to improve hyperpigmentation – mildly – over time.

Have you ever used a product with hyaluronic acid and noticed how plump your skin looks immediately afterward? That cosmetic effect is due to the fact that hyaluronic acid can bind up to 5000x its weight in water. Similarly, watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that binds to water (Byrdie).

In addition, watermelon is 91-92% water itself. I’m not dazzled by this – most skincare products contain 60% or more water, so this isn’t anything novel, applying a source of hydration to your skin.

Primarily, I’m not going to sugar coat it (watermelon sugar coat it?). Watermelon is used in skincare primarily for moisturizing effects (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2014). It’s a good hydrator, with 91-92% water, 6% sugars, and the remaining 2-3% is comprised collectively of the fatty acids linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid.

But as a nutrient source, only vitamin C is present in watermelon in appreciable content at 10% of the Daily Recommended Value, for about 9 mg of total vitamin C per serving (source). To give you an idea, L-ascorbic acid has a density of 1.65 g/mL, so the average 15% vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) serum has 24.75 g of vitamin C per mL – that’s 275x the vitamin C content in a product that contains a single serving of watermelon.

I don’t know how many servings of watermelon are in a bottle of Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask, but let’s just say, it’s not likely to be anywhere near 275! So, no, I don’t look at watermelon as a superior source of vitamin C, or really anything except hydration.

Is Watermelon Good for Skin Lightening?

Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask is fair at fighting mild to moderate hyperpigmentation, but it’s not the watermelon that does this. Instead, it’s the combination of glycolic and lactic acids, plus licorice extract, all in fairly high concentration. Glycolic acid has been shown to be effective in combating age spots, uneven skin tone, and melasma when used in concentrations of at least 10% for twelve weeks (Dermatologic Clinics, 2000). In addition, lactic acid in concentrations of 8% in combination with glycolic acid at 8% has also been shown to be effective in treating hyperpigmentation (Archives of Dermatology, 1996).

Again, as I mentioned above, the only component of watermelon that could fight hyperpigmentation is vitamin C, and that’s in such trace amounts, it’s not worth using for that purpose.

Bottom Line

Typically, and with few exceptions, I hate food-based ingredients for skincare. The stomach and digestive tract were designed to break down and absorb ingredients. On the other hand, the skin was made to protect and serve as a barrier. And to that end, you’re going to get much better effects from a dedicated vitamin C serum, AHA treatment, or hydroquinone prescription (yes, I said it) than you are a skincare product that throws some food in it.

That said, unlike many watermelon-based products out there, Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask doesn’t throw you out to the wolves. They have some great ingredients in fairly high concentration, like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and licorice root extract. And pomegranate in particular may help to fight against inflammation from UV rays.

I’ll recommend this for anyone with mild to moderate hyperpigmentation and dry skin, but otherwise, I’m moving on and recommending more concentrated products.

Ingredients in Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask

Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Caulerpa Lentillifera (Seaweed) Extract, Simethicone, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit, Silica, Propanediol, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract , Paeonia Suffruticosa (Peony) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Extract, Ipomoea Batatas (Sweet Potato) Root Extract, Betaine, Beta Glucan, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol, Fragrance.

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