The benefits of blood oranges on the skin

The blood orange is a variety of sweet orange with crimson that share many of the health benefits associated with eating sweet oranges. This fruit is grown in the volcanic atmosphere of Mount Etna in Sicily. Apart from being rich in vitamin C, blood oranges also offer unique health benefits associated with high levels of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are red flavonoid pigments that give the blood oranges their intense color and wondrous antioxidant properties. Nutritionists believe that anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent cancer, bacterial infections, diabetes and reduce the risk of heart disease. They also help defend blood vessels from oxidative damage and reduce the accumulation of LDL cholesterol

Blood Oranges health benefitsCREA, the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, has been working on a study to enhance the genetic biodiversity of blood oranges. Their aim is to not only enhance their taste, but their health properties as well. CREA experts explain: the skin can be treated by extract taken from the blood orange and byproducts of citrus processing. Tests were conducted on the skin to demonstrate the photo-protective effect in the treatment of erythema caused by UV lamps. Everything about the active ingredients found in the juice were equal to a quantity of 20% – anthocyanins, flavanones, hydroxycinnamic acids and the inevitable vitamin C.

Another study found that the extract from blood oranges contained anti-inflammatory activity and plenty of antioxidants. These antioxidants and other active ingredients protect the body from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that promote the development of many degenerative diseases and early aging of the skin. Large amounts of free radicals form when the body is exposed to cigarette smoke, drugs, pollution, strenuous exercising, toxic wastes and UV radiation. In general, the extract from blood oranges helps the body protect and heal itself in times of need.

Why is it recommended to consume vitamins and antioxidants through food?

Despite being rich in antioxidants, extract from blood oranges is of no benefit to the skin when it is used for the production of creams or lotions. This statement comes from Professor Marcello Monti, Senior Consultant of Dermatology at Humanitas Research Hospital. “The skin is a defense organ, not an absorption organ. Its cells tend to eliminate antioxidants or vitamins that come in contact with the skin, rather than absorb them,” says the professor.

More specifically, blood oranges are rich in:

  • Anthocyanins – helps fight off free radicals and inflammation
  • Vitamin C – helps treat or prevent scurvy disease
  • Vitamin A – helps maintain the health of the skin and some tissues in the body
  • Folic acid – helps fight off some cancers and heart disease
  • Calcium – helps build strong bones and teeth

“Substances such as Vitamin C found in citrus fruits or other vitamins such as beta-carotene may be beneficial to the skin. However, this is the case only when they are consumed through food and metabolized by the body. It is recommended to eat citrus fruit or drink citrus juice in order to enjoy its health properties. By doing so, you will be able to see the properties at work on treatment of specific rashes” – concludes Professor Monti. 


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.