The skin-brightening ingredient is a force to be reckoned with.

By Erica Sloan
December 09, 2019

The best part of living in this science-backed beauty era is the long roster of potent ingredients that are consistently discovered, then promptly formulated into effective, accessible products that you can buy just about anywhere. This year, you've likely heard all about the benefits of brightening workhorses like niacinamide and mandelic acid (both of which boost healthy and radiant complexions)—but there's a new transformative ingredient to try before the year comes to a close.

Getty / Luxy Images

Enter Kakadu plum: This powerful fruit is grown in Northwest Australia, but it's cropping up in new serums and moisturizers stateside. Its double dose of antioxidants—an intense concentration of skin-brightening vitamin C (the plum has 55 times more than a Florida orange has, ounce per ounce) and reparative vitamin E—makes it a skincare force to be reckoned with.

Related: Skincare Glossary: Decoding Five Popular Ingredients

The two nutrients work better together to fend off environmental aggressors, says New York City dermatologist, Rita Linkner: "Vitamin C is water-soluble and vitamin E is fat-soluble. When they're paired, they function synergistically to support the skin's cells and improve its appearance—which is why you often see them co-exist in anti-aging products." The former also photo-stabilizes sunscreen, so that it works more effectively throughout the day, while the latter helps with wound healing. What's more, the plum's extracts contain the polyphenols ellagic and gallic acid, which kill acne-causing bacteria, says Westport, Connecticut, dermatologist Deanne Robinson.

The antioxidant is so potent that some of the beauty industry's biggest names have started to bottle it. In fact, it's the star ingredient in DermaDoctor Kakadu C 20% Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid & Vitamin E ($66.50, ulta.com). Looking for a natural formula that will meld well with the rest of your clean beauty regiment? Bookmark John Masters Organics Intensive Daily Serum with Vitamin C & Kakadu Plum ($44, johnmasters.com), and think of it as your juicy little secret.

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