In your battle against a dull complexion, Salicylic Acid – with its ability to slough off dead skin cells – may be the first thing you reach for. But while Salicylic Acid is indeed an effective exfoliant, it isn’t exactly the gentlest on the skin. Especially for those with dry, eczema-prone, or sensitive skin. Instead of giving you the fresh, radiant look you’re going for, overusing this skincare active could make you look raw and pink all over.
So, is there an alternative that'll exfoliate effectively and gently? Of course, there is: and it's “Quandong”, a fruit native to Australia. But wait … what does a fruit have to do with great skin, and how would one go about adding it to a skincare regimen? Get your answers below.
What is a Quandong?
Here’s a tiny note before we begin. The term “Quandong” is an overarching name for 3 different types of Australian wild bush fruits: Desert Quandong (Santulum Acuminatum), Blue Quandong (Elaeocarpus Grandis), and Bitter Quandong (S. Murrayannum) (1, 2, 3). We’ll be covering the first – Desert Quandong – in this article and will refer to it as "Quandong” for brevity’s sake.
The Quandong tree is a flowering shrub or small tree that grows up to 13 feet high and features rough, dark bark alongside light green, leathery-to-the-touch leaves. It's native to arid and semi-arid Australia and is usually found in sandy, grassy areas. It flowers from late summer into early autumn, bearing fruits (i.e., Quandong) that ripen into a crimson red during spring, deservedly earning their nicknames, “native peach”.
Both the tree itself and its fruits feature heavily in ceremonial and medicinal uses dating back centuries. And perhaps more interestingly still: camels love snacking on Quandong.
You’ll understand why once you bite into its flesh – it’s pleasantly sweet with a touch of tartness, with a taste profile like a cross between peaches, apricots, and rhubarb. Delicious. Oh, and it also doesn’t hurt to know that the fruits are highly nutritious, packed to the brim with Vitamin C and polyphenols (4). What can we say? The camels sure know what’s good for them!
Benefits of Quandong for Skin
And now, to answer the burning question taking front stage in your mind: what can this Australia-native fruit do for the skin, exactly? Let’s find out.
#1: Protects the skin from oxidative damage
Rich in Vitamin C and polyphenols (e.g., anthocyanins and rutin), Quandong is an antioxidant powerhouse. To understand why this is excellent news for the skin, you'll first need to familiarize yourself with something called "free radicals".
Your body produces free radicals when you’re exposed to sun rays, everyday pollution, and artificial blue light. And that's not a good thing. See: free radicals are essentially "rogue" molecules that have at least one unpaired electron. This makes them unstable and highly reactive; they're constantly trying to "steal" an electron from other cells. In turn, causing a chain reaction that damages healthy cells – ultimately weakening and damaging the skin's structure. The damage (i.e., oxidative damage) free radicals do is blatant, manifesting as fine lines, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and hyperpigmentation.
Now, back to Quandong's antioxidant properties and how it translates to better skin. You can think of antioxidants as the foil opposites of free radicals: they donate electrons to the latter, rendering them ineffective, preventing further cell damage. The result? Brighter, tighter, happier, and overall better-looking skin.
If you’re not entirely convinced, this 2020 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology may help (5). Researchers allocated a topical treatment containing Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Raspberry Leaf Extracts (all of which are potent antioxidants) to female participants – and instructed them to apply the serum only to one side of the face. After 2 months, they found significant improvements in the participants’ skin texture, elasticity, radiance, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Studies exploring rutin’s – a polyphenol found in Quandong – benefits on the skin found similar results. According to this 2016 study, for instance, the topical application of a rutin-containing cream not only increased skin elasticity but also decreased the length, area, and the number of wrinkles on participants' faces (6).
#2: Gently exfoliates dead cells from the skin’s outer layer
As mentioned earlier, Quandong could be a gentler alternative to Salicylic Acid. But why? Well, it all comes down to the fruit’s malic acid content (7). Just so you know: malic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). So, unlike Salicylic Acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), malic acid can’t penetrate beyond the superficial layer of skin – explaining its gentleness on the skin.
But gentle doesn’t mean ineffective. By breaking down some of the “glue” that holds dead, dry skin cells together, malic acid has been shown to speed up cell turnover, exfoliate build-up, and slough away pore-clogging impurities – revealing a generally brighter, more even complexion (8). Better still: along with being a great exfoliant, malic acid also pulls double duty as a humectant (much like the wildly popular Hyaluronic Acid) that helps attract and retain moisture in the skin, so it stays well hydrated.
In short, thanks to its malic acid content, Quandong can help exfoliate the outer layer of “dead skin” and replenish skin moisture – creating an even, radiant, and supple-looking complexion.
#3: Encourages collagen production
Owing to its high Vitamin C content, Quandong could also help accelerate your skin’s production of collagen and elastin, both naturally occurring protein fibers that help skin plump and firm. Meaning? Adding Quandong-infused skincare products into your skincare regimen could help prevent premature aging of your skin.
Research agrees. This 2017 review published in Nutrients, for instance, makes it clear that Vitamin C not only helps stimulate fibroblast activity but also increases the number of these collagen-producing cells in the skin (9).
Side Effects of Quandong
Topical Quandong is generally safe and well-tolerated. That said, those with extremely sensitive skin may find it irritating due to its high Vitamin C content – and, in which case, should avoid it. Regardless, as with all new additions to your regimen, you should do a patch test before applying a skincare product that contains Quandong to your face.
How to Use Quandong for Skin
You can apply Quandong to your skin both in the morning and evening. But be mindful that its Vitamin C content is very reactive – and loses its antioxidant properties when exposed to light. So, in general, you should make sure it’s well absorbed into your skin before heading out.
Also, avoid pairing Quandong with Retinol and Benzoyl Peroxide; the former can cause excessive skin irritation, while the latter is known to oxidize Vitamin C (which makes your Quandong infused product less effective) (10).
What about skincare actives that work well with Quandong? That'll be your antioxidants – including Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E, and CoQ10. You can also consider adding Peptides, which support your skin's natural barrier function, so it can better keep out all the bad stuff while locking in the good.
Can’t wait to add Quandong into your skincare repertoire? See how easily this Australian superfruit fits into your routine with Terrakai’s products:
- Cleanser: Remove your makeup and wash your face with a non-stripping cleanser, like our Hyaluronic Acid + Quandong Cleansing Gel.
- Toner: Spritz on your toner of choice after cleansing. For a refreshing, hydrating skin boost, give our Reset + Refresh Kangaroo Paw Toning Mist a go.
- Serum: Massage a few drops of serum (e.g., our Hyaluronic Acid + Collagen Serum) into your face.
- Eye cream: Apply a nourishing eye cream like our Age Defying Lemon Aspen Botanical Eye Cream before you slather on your choice of creams and oils.
- Moisturizer: Use Hyaluronic Acid + Native Snowflower Moisturizer during the daytime, then pamper your skin with Deep Moisture Hyaluronic Acid + Kangaroo Paw Night Cream as you catch your beauty sleep.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen acts as a shield against the outside world (so you don’t end up applying all those products on your face for nothing).
Quandong for Skin FAQ’s
What does Quandong do for the skin?
Thanks to its high antioxidant content, Quandong helps fight oxidative damage – fading hyperpigmentation, improving skin elasticity, and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Quandong also contains malic acid, an AHA that not only gently buffs away dead skin cells but also keeps the skin well-hydrated for a brighter, even-looking complexion. Finally, the Australian superfruit could also help promote collagen production for a more supple, youthful look.
Is Quandong vegan?
Yes, Quandong is vegan.
What skin type is Quandong good for?
Quandong is good for all skin types. As with any new additions to your regimen, though, always do a patch test before applying any skincare product formulated with Quandong to your face.
Terrakai Skin Products that Include Quandong