Oranges are common fruits in the Western world and in many tropical countries. Most people associate oranges as rich sources of vitamin C and eat them to prevent the symptoms of colds and influenza. However, some medical professionals and researchers believe that oranges may also help keep skin healthy. Oranges are good sources of vitamins, nutrients and compounds that may protect the skin and ward off skin diseases, according to Dr. James F. Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Nutritional therapy should never be considered a replacement for medical treatment. Check with your doctor before changing your diet to treat any skin condition or disease.
The orange is a round citrus fruit that primarily grows in subtropical climates such as southern Florida and California. This fruit is typically about three inches in diameter, although some varieties are larger, according to the Juicing For Health website. Oranges are generally available throughout the year, although some varieties of orange trees are more productive during certain times of the year. The orange features a thick, leathery peel and a light-colored rind that protects the soft, juicy fruit inside.
Vitamins and Nutrients
According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, each orange contains more than 100 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin C. Oranges are also significant sources of vitamins A and B1, folate, potassium, calcium and dietary fiber.
Antioxidants and Limonoids
Oranges are thought to be rich in antioxidants, according to the World's Healthiest Foods website. These antioxidants may help prevent free radicals and toxins from oxidizing and attacking healthy body cells. Compounds called limonoids, which may help prevent the formation and growth of cancer cells, are also present in oranges.
According to Dr. Balch, the vitamin A found in oranges and other citrus fruits may help strengthen the protective outer layers of the skin. This may help reduce acne breakouts, speed the healing of wounds and prevent scarring. B complex vitamins, including B1 and folate, can improve blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients needed to maintain healthy skin tone. Improved circulation may also help keep the skin hydrates, preventing dry skin and flaking. The antioxidants and limonoids in oranges are thought to destroy the free radicals that contribute to the formation of skin cancer. Vitamin C is considered one of the most important antioxidants found in these fruits.
There are very few risks associated with eating oranges for skin health. Although allergic reactions are rare, the compounds in oranges can trigger allergies, especially in people who are allergic to other citrus fruits. Large amounts of vitamin A, usually above 10,000 IU per day, can be toxic, according to Dr. Balch. However, because an orange only contains about 7 percent of the recommended daily limit of vitamin A, few people would likely eat enough oranges to ingest toxic levels of this vitamin from this source alone. Check with your doctor if you're already taking vitamin supplements.