Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) is a tiny fruit native to Northern Australia’s Eucalypt open forests. It is also known as the gubinge or billygoat plum. It has the greatest concentration of vitamin C of any plant in the world, making it the “superfood” of Australia.

Kakadu plums were traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of the common cold, the flu, and headaches. It has been used for centuries by the Aboriginals for its health benefits. In addition to its antibacterial and soothing balm uses, they were applied to the limbs to prevent infection.

Recent years have seen their nutritional benefits and skin care potential come into focus. The fruit is now used in various skincare and acne treatments because of its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory characteristics. In this article, let’s explore Kakadu plum benefits for skin in more detail.

What Does Kakadu Plum Do for the Skin?

Kakadu plum offers several benefits for the skin, thanks to its high Vitamin C and antioxidants. Let’s look at these benefits in more detail.

1. Brightens Skin and Lightens Dark Marks

Melanin is a pigment that causes dark makes produced by the enzyme known as tyrosinase. When there is an excess production of this melanin, a darker tone is formed in the skin. The vitamin C in Kakadu plums controls the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for regulating melanin production. It can contain up to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, which is 100 times higher than oranges.

As a result, it allows for a lighter tan and a brighter complexion due to sun exposure. It has an exceptionally high concentration of vitamin C that promotes the growth of lighter, brighter skin when applied topically and consumed regularly. [1]

2. Fights Acne and Inflammation

Local tribes use Kakadu plums as medicine, particularly for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

In 2010, researchers discovered that applying the compound topically lowered the skin’s inflammatory reaction. It can also help alleviate skin irritation, decreases redness, and aids in clearing up acne caused by bacteria, resulting in clearer, more even skin. [2]

3. Reduces wrinkles

A study proved that the high antioxidant content of Kakadu plum helps decrease oxidative stress. The antioxidant properties of the Kakadu Plum come from its high concentrations of polyphenols, vitamins C and E, folic acid, and carotenoids.

They have an antioxidant activity that is 13.3 times stronger than blueberries and contain six times as much polyphenols. [3] [4] Applying Kakadu plum on the skin can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin elasticity with no side effects. [5] The high antioxidant content of Kakadu plum helps decrease oxidative stress.

4. Treats Skin Infections

The Kakadu plum’s inner bark possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it effective against many skin infections and other skin-related issues. Its bark is also helpful in curing ulcers and boils and treating wounds. At 10% or higher concentrations, Kakadu plum extract is beneficial in treating psoriasis, eczema, psoriasis, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and melasma. [5]

5. Improves Skin Hydration

Collagen peptides, vitamin C, and zinc all work together to improve the appearance of dry, rough skin. Due to the high concentration of vitamin C in Kakadu plums, they serve as a powerful antioxidant that shields the skin from environmental damage and replenishes lost moisture.

Kakadu plum promotes skin barrier efficiency and helps in water loss reduction, preventing dry skin. Animal research has also shown that Kakadu plum cream can decrease collagen loss in the skin. [6]

Kakadu Plum for Skin Whitening

The Kakadu plum’s vitamin C content makes it an effective skin lightener. It can help repair and rejuvenate the complexion by reducing pigmentation, evening out skin tone, and enhancing the skin’s texture. The results may include a more radiant and clear complexion.

Is Kakadu Plum Good for the Skin?

Kakadu plum is good for the skin due to its high concentration of vitamin C, which is essential for collagen production. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, acne, and scars. Kakadu plum is also effective in lightening the skin and evening out skin tone. It provides many benefits with no known side effects.

Is Kakadu Plum Good for Hair?

A lack of vitamin C can result in dry, brittle hair and hair loss, which can lead to anemia, a disease in which the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to transfer enough oxygen to your body’s tissues. The Kakadu plum’s skin-enhancing properties extend to the hair. Besides making your hair feel and look better, it helps maintain it healthy and shiny.

How to Use Kakadu Plum for the Skin

Some skincare products contain Kakadu plum extract as an ingredient. It’s best to look for serums, which are more concentrated and have smaller molecules that can penetrate the skin more deeply.

Kakadu plum can also be found in powder form. You can use water to create a paste or mix it with your clay masks and apply it topically to the face or body. The powder can also be used in homemade facial masks and scrubs.

Kakadu Plum Side Effects

Kakadu plum may be taken orally or applied topically to the skin. It is generally considered safe when taken in small amounts. However, there are no studies on the long-term safety of Kakadu plum when ingested or applied to the skin.

Oxalates and vitamin C levels in Kakadu plums are exceptionally high. While most people can flush out excess levels of these compounds, research has connected high ingestion in sensitive individuals to developing kidney stones. [7] When consumed in large quantities, Kakadu plums can cause gastrointestinal distress, including nausea and diarrhea.

Bottomline: Kakadu Plum and its Skin Benefits

Kakadu plum is a powerful antioxidant that can help lighten and hydrate skin. While this Vitamin C-rich fruit provides many skin benefits, more studies are needed to determine its long-term efficacy and side effects. Until then, it is best to use caution when using this product.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Maulana Setiawan, Ida Sri Iswari, Ni Wayan Winarti, “Administration of Kakadu Plum Extract (Terminalia ferdinandiana) Cream Prevented the Increase of Tyrosinase Expression and Melanin Amount on Ultraviolet-B Exposed Male Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus) Skin“, International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), Volume 9 Issue 11, November 2020, pp. 1045-1049, https://www.ijsr.net/get_abstract.php?paper_id=SR201116161123.
  • Bae JY, Choi JS, Kang SW, Lee YJ, Park J, Kang YH. Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation. Exp Dermatol. 2010 Aug;19(8):e182-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.01044.x. PMID: 20113347.
  • Izabela Konczak, Dimitrios Zabaras, Matthew Dunstan, Patricia Aguas. Antioxidant capacity and hydrophilic phytochemicals in commercially grown native Australian fruits. Food Chemistry, Volume 123, Issue 4, 2010, Pages 1048-1054. ISSN 0308-8146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.05.060. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814610006345.
  • Aaron C. Tan, Izabela Konczak, Iqbal Ramzan, Daniel M.-Y. Sze. Antioxidant and cytoprotective activities of native Australian fruit polyphenols. Food Research International, Volume 44, Issue 7, 2011. Pages 2034-2040. ISSN 0963-9969. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2010.10.023. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996910003984.
  • May Thinn Kyi, M.D.and Atchima Suwanchinda. A Split-face Double-blind Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial of the Efficacy of Kakadu plum Extract for Reduction of Periorbital Wrinkles. Vol 15 No (2563) (2563): The 15th RSU National Graduate Research Conference, August 2020. https://rsujournals.rsu.ac.th/index.php/rgrc/article/view/1790/1383.
  • Emy, S., Iswari, I. S., & Winarti, N. W. (2021). Terminalia ferdinandiana inhibited the increased of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and prevent collagen decreased in mice skin exposed to UV-B. Neurologico Spinale Medico Chirurgico, 4(1), 11-14. https://doi.org/10.36444/nsmc.v4i1.136
  • Williams DJ, Edwards D, Pun S, Chaliha M, Burren B, Tinggi U, Sultanbawa Y. Organic acids in Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana): The good (ellagic), the bad (oxalic) and the uncertain (ascorbic). Food Res Int. 2016 Nov;89(Pt 1):237-244. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Aug 8. PMID: 28460910.

Shaira is a licensed pharmacist (Bachelor of Pharmacy) and an experienced content writer. She enjoys inspiring and informing her readers through research-backed, comprehensive health content. Shaira draws from her personal experience working with real-life patients in a hospital setting and is currently pursuing her passion in writing.