Why add them? How do we know they provide any benefit at all? Of all the botanicals we could have chosen to add to a soap, the addition of blueberries was a no-brainer. Natural antioxidants, natural vitamins A, E & C and beta-carotene are all present in copious amounts. But what is even more amazing... the benefits remain in the soap.
Research has shown that the antioxidant power of blueberries is retained even after freezing and heating. Individual-quick-frozen (IQF) blueberries retain as much antioxidant power as fresh-picked berries. By holding its shape and texture in a quick freeze, the phtyonutrients, the color and the anti-oxidant properties are still intact.
In cold-process handcrafted soap, the process of saponification (converting fat to soap) generates heat which is typically damaging to nutrients. However, this is what makes the blueberry all the more incredible!
In terms of cooking and applying heat, research in 2009 by the University of Berkeley found no substantial loss of antioxidants even after baking, simmering or microwaving! So even with soap-making temperatures rising to 200 degrees F during saponification, we know that the blueberry antioxidants are still intact in the final bars.
Since 2004, there has been a massive amount of research on blueberries by the FDA, scientists, universities and blueberry growers themselves. They have shown that blueberry antioxidants protect the skin from cellular damage. The vitamin C content helps strengthen blood vessels and reduce the appearance of spider veins under the skin. Also rich in vitamin A, blueberries have been successfully used in the treatment of acne.
The next time you pick up blueberries at the market, set a few aside for the following skin recipes. Treat yourself to one of these blends and feel the difference for yourself.
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