Cucumber - antioxidant, anti-hyaluronidase, and anti-elastase agent

Cucumis sativus L. or Cucumber has been used in skincare from traditional times and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family like melon, squash and pumpkins.

Cucumber is a vegetable grown in several parts of the world. In Indian traditional medicine it is known as Khira (Hindi), Trapusah (Sanskrit), Sasa (Bengali), and Vellarikkay (Tamil). In Ayurveda, the leaves, fruits, and seeds of cucumber have long been used for various skin problems, including swelling under the eyes, sunburn and are believed to promote cooling, healing, soothing, emollient, lenitive, anti itching effect to irritated skin, and extended cosmetic effects. In Chinese folk medicine the leaves, stems and roots are generally used as anti-diarrheal, detoxicant and anti-gonorrheal agents.

Cucumber has excellent potential for cooling, healing and soothing to irritated skin, whether caused by sun, or the effects of a cutaneous eruption. It is also known that cucumber has inhibition effect of tyrosinase and melanin synthesis hence it play important role in skin brightening. 

The flesh of cucumber is primarily composed of water, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and caffeic acid which gives a soothing effect on skin and reduces swelling. Phytochemical screening of the cucumber juice has shown that it contains amino acids, vitamin-C, saponins, flavonoids, sterols, triterpenes and carbohydrates.

Anti-hyaluronidase and anti-elastase activity of juice of cucumber proved that it may have potential role on skin care. The fruit pulp having alpha hydroxy acid or AHA compounds like lactic acid, can be used to reduce the thickness of the stratum corneum.  Pulp tissues are used for treatments of warts, xerosis and chemical peeling of the skin. Fresh cucumber extract contains many useful ingredients, which can help in treating so many skin problems and used as a skin caring product like face packs, facials, juice and many others. Cucurbitacin D and 23, 24-dihydrocucurbitacin D, are found in cucumber extracts and these are responsible for the inhibition of tyrosinase and melanin synthesis.

Nema, Neelesh K., et al. “Cucumis Sativus Fruit-Potential Antioxidant, Anti-Hyaluronidase, and Anti-Elastase Agent.” SpringerLink, Springer, Dordrecht, 14 Dec. 2010, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-010-1103-y.

Nema, N. K., Maity, N., Sarkar, B., & Mukherjee, P. K. (2011). Cucumis sativus fruit-potential antioxidant, anti-hyaluronidase, and anti-elastase agent. Archives of dermatological research303(4), 247-252.

Mukherjee, P. K., Nema, N. K., Maity, N., & Sarkar, B. K. (2013). Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber. Fitoterapia84, 227-236.

“Phytochemical and Therapeutic Potential of Cucumber.” Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Elsevier, 23 Oct. 2012, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367326X12002791.


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