The pomegranate's power comes from ellagic acid, a type of polyphenol, which is an antioxidant found in red wine and green tea. Antioxidants seek out and neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that come from the environment (pollution, UV rays) and from the body's natural aging process. Ellagic acid has been shown in some studies to neutralize free radicals more effectively than the other polyphenols found in green tea and red wine. It's also more stable in skin-care products than some other antioxidants, like vitamin C, which can lose potency when exposed to light and air.
A 2005 study by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, in Chicago, showed that the scent of grapefruit on women made them seem an average of six years younger to men. Grapefruit's main use in skin care, however, is as a citric acid. Like any alpha hydroxy acid, citric acid loosens the bonds between skin cells, allowing dead ones to fall away, revealing smoother, more radiant skin.
The extract of several Japanese mushrooms has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can affect collagen in the skin and contribute to changes associated with aging, such as the appearance of fine lines. Reducing that inflammation keeps skin cells vital and functioning and also suppresses irritation so that other active ingredients, like antioxidants, can do their jobs.
Shiitake mushrooms have multifaceted benefits for the skin. They contain antioxidants that block proteins known to cause cell breakdown; they provide chemical exfoliation; and they also contain kojic acid, which has a lightening effect on age spots and discoloration, making skin appear brighter over time.
Pumpkin is also a carotenoid, a derivative of vitamin A, which is indicated by its orange color, and that makes it an antioxidant in addition to having exfoliating properties.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc and have been used as a natural remedy for acne. Studies show that zinc has an effect similar to that of the common antibiotic tetracycline
Although the Chinese have used bamboo for centuries (the hardened secretion from the stalks has been taken internally to treat asthma), its popularity is only now growing in the United States. Bamboo pulp is being woven into fabric that retains antibacterial qualities even after it is washed. And in skin care, finely milled bamboo powder is used as an exfoliant in cleansers and scrubs. The smooth bamboo particles are less harsh than the scraggly, uneven grains made from salt and nuts, making it safer and less irritating to sensitive skin.