Camu camu, a small yet mighty Amazonian berry, is unlike any other fruit used for skin care. It’s a bold statement, but it’s warranted: camu camu boasts one of the highest-ever natural and stable sources of vitamin C. To put things into perspective, camu camu boasts 30 times more vitamin C than an orange (the poster child of vitamin C). This is a big deal.
On top of its staggering vitamin C levels, camu camu features some other pretty amazing skin-friendly properties that have been shown to visibly brighten and revitalise skin. Here’s the lowdown on everything you need to know about this extraordinary do-it-all fruit.
The Traditional Uses of Camu Camu
Camu camu (also known as Myrciaria dubia) is a berry that grows in beautiful shades of orange, red and purple. It’s cultivated in the fertile soils of Brazil and Peru—deep in the Amazonian basin. While camu camu resembles cherries, it’s tart like an orange (and contains considerably more vitamin C than them too).
In the Amazon, where it is grown, camu camu is often juiced or turned into jams and jellies and even made into wine and liquor. Its properties have been treasured by Amazonian natives in South America for hundreds of years as a longevity elixir and medicinal panacea.
Camu Camu’s Manyfold Benefits for Skin
What Does Vitamin C Do For Your Skin?
Camu camu contains a bountiful 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C for every gram of fruit,  which means it contains more vitamin C than any other plant, including acai berries and, as we mentioned, oranges.
This is noteworthy because vitamin C is one of the few skin care ingredients that have been widely studied and proven to offer visible benefits:
- Vitamin C possesses the incredible ability to protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which are one of the top triggers of premature wrinkles, dark spots and sagging. Most experts consider proactive protection against the sun’s UV rays as the best strategy to delay premature lines—and vitamin C is widely acknowledged to play a huge role in this prevention.
- Another major skin benefit vitamin C is known for is its ability to help brighten the overall appearance of the complexion, even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
- Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of collagen, the protein found in the deeper layers of skin that plays a major role in making skin appear firm, supple and youthfully elastic. (As you age, your collagen production slows down—and stalling the loss of this essential protein is a strategic (and clinically studied) way to keep skin looking luminous and uplifted.
- Vitamin C is also popular for its ability able to suppress melanin production, which helps minimize the appearance of dark spots and discoloration, while helping to replenish the skin’s stores of vitamin E. Vitamins C and E then work together to “fuel cellular energy and combat oxidative damage,” according to researchers.
Protects Against Extrinsic Skin Damage
Camu camu contains more than 30 antioxidant phenolics. That’s quite the punch from such a little plant. And unlike other sources of antioxidants, these fruit lack potentially harmful genotoxicities (something that produces a “destructive effect on a cell's genetic material”). Camu camu is also an incredibly potent anti-inflammatory (many visible skin issues, such as acne and sensitivity, is ultimately the result of inflammation).
Because of its remarkable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, camu camu berry is often consumed as a supplement to help strengthen the immune system, keep chronic diseases and infections at bay, improve eye health and even improve cognition and mood.
But what does this mean for skin specifically? Camu camu reinforces the skin’s defense against free radicals, which are one of the top factors of extrinsic skin damage (the term scientists use to describe environmental and lifestyle elements that degrade skin, such as UV radiation, air pollution and cigarette smoking).
Combats and Reduces Blemishes
Camu camu has been shown in research to boast antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which indicates the fruit’s extracts can potentially help ward off the manifestation of blemishes. There aren’t any studies that specifically test camu camu against acne, but its antibacterial benefits are certainly another possible way the fruit can contribute to smooth, clarified and radiant skin.
The Best Sources of Vitamin C. Synthetic vs. Natural
Vitamin C is found in many skin care lines these days--and now, as you know, for good reason. But which is the best type? You’ll see vitamin C come in two forms: natural or synthetic (most popularly, ascorbic acid). With synthetic forms of vitamin C they are not always used in formulas at the exact pH levels required to effect change and are not fully penetrable nor stable, per research.
Natural sources, on the other hand, are bioavailable (i.e. readily absorbed and processed by the body) as they are already designed to be taken up by the body. Camu camu contains one of the highest amounts of vitamin C, and importantly, is stable, which means it won’t oxidise and be rendered useless for topical application.
Where to Find the Best Camu Camu
Parlaying the skin benefits of camu camu isn’t as simple as sourcing it and incorporating it into a skin care formula. It’s important to bear in mind: camu camu cannot thrive outside of the Amazon. There's a significant decrease in vitamin C in the plant when grown outside its native region, which indicates that perhaps the Amazon soil is a part of what makes Camu camu so special. That’s why it’s crucial to consciously source the plant from its natural habitat. So, as you start looking into camu camu, make sure you research where it comes from before you buy anything.
As global ingredient hunters, we don’t only look to create the best products for obtaining and maintaining healthy skin—we aim to create conscious skin care. To us, that begins with sourcing all our ingredients from sustainable sources. We source our camu camu from the fertile soils of Brazil where it is USDA certified organically grown and hand-picked, ensuring the lowest footprint and highest quality.
How Luxe Botanics Uses Camu Camu to Uplift Communities
We were so moved by camu camu it inspired an entire line at LUXE Botanics. Each product in our Camu Brightening Line is formulated to help brighten your complexion, protect you from the visible effects of sun damage and make your face glow with brilliance and vitality.
We also partner with organizations that help promote our goals for sustainable skin care. One such organization is Fitovida, which primarily focuses on the biodiversity of the Brazilian biome by training local harvesters to maintain sustainability of natural plant resources in the Amazonian regions, while simultaneously assisting its local communities by providing employment opportunities.
Camu Camu and Its Harmony With Other Ingredients
Not only do we harness the most active and alive camu camu, we make sure it’s formulated in concentrations ideal to effect visible change in skin while working in perfect harmony with other ingredients within the same formula. For example, ferulic acid, another powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radical damage, helps enhance the stability of vitamin C so abundant in camu camu.
We also created our organic skin care without the use of animals for testing. It’s vegan and cruelty-free. Overall, the goal is to maintain quality throughout the entire process—from conception to rollout.
In Summary: Camu Camu Benefits for Skin
What can’t the little camu camu fruit do? One of the absolute richest sources of vitamin C the earth has to offer, camu camu has been proven to help achieve the appearance of firmer, luminous skin. Ultimately, it’s a way to give your skin the “tools” it needs to stay strong, youthful and resistant to outside aggressors, whether that’s UV rays or pollution. To reap the benefits of natural vitamin C in your natural skin care routine, try our Camu Brightening Line.
The LUXE Botanics Team