Did you ever think you’d see the day people are rubbing banana peels on their face to promote better skin? While it might sound absolutely bananas, this theory doesn’t come from nowhere. Banana peels do feature “many bioactive compounds, particularly antioxidants like ascorbic acid, carotene, and cyanidin, which are anti-inflammatory,” says New York dermatologist Elaine Kung, MD. “These bioactive compounds may be helpful in anti-aging and reducing inflammation in acneic skin.” However, little is known about how much banana peels help skin in reality, and some of the TikTok claims have gone too far.
What are the potential benefits of using a banana peel on your face?
Top aesthetician Nerida Joy says it can be true that when eaten and applied topically, there are benefits bananas bring us since “they are loaded in so many nutrients that strengthen and support our internal and external organs.” She notes that bananas are a great source of antioxidants and bioflavonoids, which support blood vessels and boost skin circulation.
Dr. Chacon says, “Banana peel helps brighten the skin and minimize wrinkles because they’re high in antioxidants, fiber and vital nutrients. The skin is hydrated and even functions as a moisturizer thanks to this.” These antioxidants like vitamin C and E “can help protect the skin from free radicals and promote a healthy complexion and may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging,” says celebrity aesthetician Amy Peterson. “They also contain natural oils and potassium, which can help moisturize and hydrate the skin. Bananas contain various bioactive compounds which have anti-inflammatory properties. This may help reduce skin redness and irritation caused by acne or other skin conditions.”
Is using a banana peel on your skin safe?
Unsurprisingly Dr. Kung notes that there are no clinical studies to support the regular use of banana peels on our skin as safe or effective. “In fact, there was a study analyzing microorganisms found in banana peel samples that was published in 2003 by doctors in Brazil showing that banana peels may contain pathogenic microorganisms at levels that preclude them from being used therapeutically,” notes Dr. Kung. Due to this, she cautions readers to be careful when implementing TikTok trends.
“While there may be some potential benefits, individual results may vary, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a dermatologist before trying any new skin-care treatments,” says Peterson who notes that since scientific research on the benefits of applying banana peels directly to the skin is limited.
Do experts recommend this hack?
The experts are split. While Dr. Kung is against the trend, Joy and Dr. Chacon don’t totally hate the idea. “Banana peels applied topically as a mask or extra layer would be very soothing on the skin,” says Joy. Dr. Chacon points to the antioxidants in the peel that can be complementary to a skin-care routine.
Okay, but can a banana peel actually replace neurotoxin injections?
“Saying that this can replace something like Botox that has been studied in laboratories and in clinical settings for almost 30 decades is a big stretch,” says Dr. Kung. Dr. Chacon says no amount of banana or banana peel will produce the same major results in terms of wrinkle smoothing as neurotoxins or fillers since these procedures take place beneath the skin’s surface.
Joy agrees this isn’t possible. “Botox paralyzes muscles. Therefore, expression lines are not able to form. Banana peels applied topically cannot possibly do that,” she says. “Very often, when you apply fruits and vegetables directly to the skin, the skin tightens topically. Some people may mistake that feeling and look as a ‘youthful’ Botox similarity. Botox generally lasts up to four months. A fruit or vegetable application topically will last a day or two.”
Eating bananas may benefit the skin
With all this talk of putting peels on our faces, what about the banana itself? If you want to use the peel, you’ll have to eat the fruit inside first, which experts say might give skin a boost. While she says banana peels can be soothing on the face, Joy says bananas themselves can be equally soothing on the gut when digested. “Difficult skin conditions, such as rosacea, dermatitis and psoriasis, are on the rise due to the rise of gut inflammatory sensitivities,” says Joy. Anything that can help treat these conditions internally could be a win.