Effects of Oral Administration of Ellagic Acid-rich Pomegranate Extract on Ultraviolet-induced Pigmentation in the Human Skin

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 2006;52:383–88.
Longer exposure to UV light could lead to skin inflammation, DNA mutations and much more. More commonly, UVA and UVB radiation have long been suspected of producing harmful effects on skin, such as hyperpigmentation.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) has been known to possess strong antioxidant and anti-atherogenic effects in humans. Ellagic acid, a naturally occurring polyphenol found in several natural sources like pomegranate, has been found to inhibit UV-induced pigmentation of skin both in animal and human.


To evaluate the protective and ameliorative effects ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract on UV irradiation-induced pigmentation of human skin.

Study Design:

  • Thirty nine healthy female volunteers (age: 20–40 years) were included in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study
  • All the subjects were randomly assigned (n=13) to receive high-dose pomegranate extract (200 mg/day ellagic acid, H), low-dose pomegranate extract (100 mg/day ellagic acid, L) or placebo (P) for 4 weeks
  • Each participant received 1.5 minimum erythema dose (MED) of UV irradiation on the inside of the upper left arm before consuming the test product
  • Evaluation parameters like luminance, melanin and erythema values were determined at baseline, week 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Additionally, questionnaires regarding the state of the skin before and after the study period were evaluated

Results and Discussion:

  • A statistically significant inhibition against decreasing values of luminance was observed in both group L (at week 1, 2; p<0.01, and week 4; p<0.05) and group H (at week 2 and 3; p<0.05) (Fig. 1)
  • Similarly, a tendency towards inhibiting the increase in melanin and erythema values was seen in group L at week 1
  • Data from questionnaires revealed that more number of subjects from group L and H reported improvement in “brightness of the face” and “stains and freckles” than group


In conclusion, ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract exhibits protective and ameliorative effects against UV irradiation in human skin when ingested orally.

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