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Bromelain

* A mixture of protein digesting enzymes found in pineapple juice an stems.

Functions:

When taken orally, this ingredient has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, anti-coagulating, diuretic and de-clotting abilities, both on the internal and external parts of the body. It's often administered as a pain remedy for arthritis, a digestive aid, a decongestant for sinusitis and, most recently, as a complementary treatment for cancer patients. It's also been demonstrated to work synergistically with Tumeric, another anti-inflammatory.

In cosmetics, it's primarily known for its anti-inflammatory properties. As an anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting agent, it is often used to help reduce the redness, bruising and pain that typically follows invasive cosmetic procedures. Recent studies have shown Bromelain, when administered orally, to prevent the growth of tumor cells, eliminate burn debris and expedite wound healing.

Theoretically, the topical application of Bromelain would digest the skin's dead proteins (such as broken down collagen), exfoliate, rebuild collagen and reveal a younger and more even layer of skin. While a significant amount of research suggests that oral supplements of the ingredient can effectively reduce swelling, bruising and inflammation on the skin, very little is known regarding the effects of Bromelain directly applied to the skin. Furthermore, most of what we do know regarding its topical application concerns the healing of burns, and not the purported anti-aging benefits of a decrease in facial sagging, age spots and wrinkles.

Thus, more research is warranted in order to determine the ingredient's stability, effective concentrations, pH levels and bases. In the meantime, many companies have begun to include it in various skin care products such as exfoliant/scrubs, masks, moisturizers, bath oils, lip balms and acne treatments.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

Very little is known regarding the safety of this ingredient with humans, and it is generally recommended that pregnant/breastfeeding women and children avoid it at all costs. If the assumption is true about a topical application exfoliating the skin, then there is apossibility that they skin may experience irritation and sensitization (as with all exfoliants).

With regards to oral consumption, the FDA does not regulate herbal supplements, and one should take caution when orally taking Bromelain. Few serious side effects have been reported thus far, although there have been multiple reports of allergic/asthmatic reactions, upset stomach and diarreah. In addition, because the ingredient increases the risk of bleeding, it is not recommended for those with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners. It has also been shown to cause an increased heartrate in some and should be used cautiously by individuals with heart conditions.

Recommended Products w/ Bromelain:

Alterna TEN Hair Spray ($35)
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