Mango seed kernel extract contains a variety of compounds that gives it its antioxidant, antimicrobial, photoprotective and antiaging activities. It has the potential to be a multifunctional cosmetic ingredient.


Grade Level of Evidence
A Multiple double-blind, controlled clinical trials.
B 1 double-blind, controlled clinical trial.
C At least 1 controlled or comparative clinical trial.
D Uncontrolled, observational, animal or in-vitro studies only.
Grade Effect Size of Effect Comments




Mango seed kernel extract can have more potent anti-radical properties than vitamin C or vitamin E. May also be able to inhibit lipid oxidation.


Wrinkle treatment


The compound mangiferin influences the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-9, which together are responsible for degrading collagen types I to V.


Less visible scars


A mango butter-based cream reduced scar area in a rat excision wound model to a greater extent than no treatment, and about as well as a povidone iodine ointment.


Skin lightening


Inhibits tyrosinase possibly by chelating the copper atoms that it requires for its activity. Significantly weaker than kojic acid.




A foot care cream containing mango butter as the active ingredient improved re-epithelialization, wound closure and incision wound tensile strength in rats more effectively than a povidone iodine ointment.




May render protection against UVB-induced skin damage by modulating oxidative damage.

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Table of contents:

1. Sources

Mangoes are the succulent fruits of the tree Mangifera indica, that is native to tropical Asia but has been naturalized in most tropical countries.[1] Its pulp, seeds, leaves, bark and peel contain significant quantities of phenolic compounds such as mangiferin, methyl gallate, gallotannins and carotenoids.[2][3][4][5][6]

Mango seed kernel oil is a pale yellow liquid that has applications as an ingredient in personal care products and as a cocoa butter substitute in the confectionery industry.[7][8][9] Mango butter, the fat extracted from the kernels, is considered an excellent replacement for paraffin-based emollients.[10]

2. Bioavailability

When mango seed kernel extract in an aqueous solution was applied to ex vivo porcine skin, a small amount accumulated in the epidermis and dermis. Isopropyl myristate-based microemulsion formulations increased the skin penetration of mango seed kernel extract by 7 to 60-fold however, because of the large amount of surfactants in the formulation that facilitated its passage. This enhancement effect was especially significant when the extract was incorporated in the outer oil phase, and is thought to be caused by a compromise of the skin's barrier function, as evidenced by the increase in transepidermal water loss (TEWL).[11]

3. Effects on the skin

3.1 Antioxidant action

Mango seed extracts possess antioxidant activity that is correlated with their total phenolic contents.[12][13][14][6] In fact, in one study, mango seed kernel extracts obtained by acid hydrolysis had higher antiradical activity than vitamin C or vitamin E, and they were also implied to be able to inhibit lipid oxidation.[15]

It is important to note that the total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of mango seed kernel extract decreases with increasing storage length and higher storage temperatures.[6]

3.2 Antimicrobial activity

Mango seed extracts are active against some Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans.[12][16][17][18] A few of its constituents have been identified as the bioactive compounds -- these include the tannins penta-, hexa-, and hepta-O-galloylglucose[16] as well as pentagalloylglucopyranose.[17]

Mango extract has been demonstrated to attenuate wrinkle formation in mice. The experiment involved 15 hairless male mice which were divided into a control group, a UVB-treated group and a UVB-treated active group. Mice in the active group were fed 0.1 ml of water containing 100 mg of mango extract/kg body weight/day, after UV irradiation. Mice in the UVB-treated group were supplied drinking water, while mice in the control group were not exposed to UVB radiation. Analysis of skin replicas found that oral administration of the mango extract significantly inhibited the UVB-induced increase in epidermal thickness and hypertrophy, significantly reduced the mean length of wrinkles and markedly increased the number of collagen bundles in the active group, as compared to the vehicle group.[19] This anti-wrinkle effect may be attributable to mangiferin, a xanthonoid that has been shown to regulate the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) by inhibiting the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-1 (MEK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK).[20][21] MMP-1 degrades collagen types I, II and III, whereas MMP-9 degrades type IV and V collagens.

The ethanolic extract of Thai mango seed kernels has been shown to contain the phenolic principles pentagalloylglucopyranose (61%), methyl gallate (0.68%) and gallic acid (0.44%). All 3 dose-dependently inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme catalyzing the rate-limiting steps of melanin synthesis, by binding to tyrosinase such that they are located in the hydrophobic binding pocket surrounding the copper active site, indicating that they may chelate the copper atoms required for tyrosinase's catalytic activity. The extract's anti-tyrosinase potency is however 45 times weaker than kojic acid's.[22]

3.4 Photoprotection

Mangiferin may protect against UVB-induced skin damage through its antioxidant action, but it is significantly less effective in this respect than honeybush extracts. [23]

3.5 Improved healing

A foot care cream formulated with mango butter and olein as a base (25%) and fortified with 1% vitamin E acetate was tested in rat excision and incision wound models. It improved wound closure to a significantly greater extent than a commercial povidone iodine ointment, led to complete re-epithelialization in fewer days and reduced scarring more successfully than the control. When the tensile strength of the incision wounds were measured, wounds treated with the foot care cream containing mango butter also had the highest mean tensile strength. The same cream was then tested on 6 human volunteers suffering from various foot ailments, where it was judged more favourably than the ointment on its emolliency, appearance, spreadability, skin feel, smoothness and absorption, and was found to be neither irritating nor sensitizing towards the skin.[24]

4. Side Effects

4.1 Adverse skin reactions

Some individuals are susceptible to contact dermatitis and hypersensitivity reactions (including anaphylaxis) to the skin, sap or flesh of the mango.[25][26][27][28][29] Individuals who have a history of allergy to poison ivy or poison oak are most at risk, because cross-reactions can occur between mango contact allergens such as the heptadec(adi)enyl resorcinols and urushiol, the allergen present in poison ivy and poison oak.[30][31][32]

4.2 Cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and dermal toxicity

More than 200 μg/mL of mango seed kernel extract was required to reduce the cell viability of a culture of human dermal fibroblasts by 50%, indicating that it is not significantly cytotoxic.[11] The aqueous extract of mango stem bark was likewise not genotoxic and did not induce dermal toxicity at doses of 2,000 mg/kg body weight.[33][34]

Scientific References

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  2. Berardini N, Carle R, Schieber A. Characterization of gallotannins and benzophenone derivatives from mango (Mangifera indica L. cv. 'Tommy Atkins') peels, pulp and kernels by high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. (2004)
  3. Chen JP, Tai CY, Chen BH. Improved liquid chromatographic method for determination of carotenoids in Taiwanese mango (Mangifera indica L.). J Chromatogr A. (2004)
  4. Barreto JC, et. al. Characterization and quantitation of polyphenolic compounds in bark, kernel, leaves, and peel of mango (Mangifera indica L.). J Agric Food Chem. (2008)
  5. Manthey JA, Perkins-Veazie P. Influences of harvest date and location on the levels of beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, total phenols, the in vitro antioxidant capacity, and phenolic profiles of five commercial varieties of mango (Mangifera indica L.). J Agric Food Chem. (2009)
  6. Maisuthisakul P, Gordon MH. Characterization and storage stability of the extract of Thai mango (Mangifera indica Linn. Cultivar Chok-Anan) seed kernels. J Food Sci Technol. (2014)
  7. Dhara R, Bhattacharyya DK, Ghosh M. Analysis of sterol and other components present in unsaponifiable matters of mahua, sal and mango kernel oil. J Oleo Sci. (2010)
  8. Nzikou JM, et. al. Extraction and Characteristics of Seed Kernel Oil from Mango (Mangifera indica). Res J Environ Sci. (2010)
  9. Kittiphoom S, Sutasinee S. Mango seed kernel oil and its physicochemical properties. Int Food Res Int. (2013)
  10. Bhattacharya K, Shukla VKS. Mango Butter in Cosmetic Formulations. Cosmet Toil. (2003)
  11. Leanpolchareanchai J, et. al. Microemulsion system for topical delivery of thai mango seed kernel extract: development, physicochemical characterisation and ex vivo skin permeation studies. Molecules. (2014)
  12. Khammuang S, Sarnthima R. Antioxidant and antibacterial activities of selected varieties of thai mango seed extract. Pak J Pharm Sci. (2011)
  13. Prakash D, et. al. Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of some fruits. J Complement Integr Med. (2011)
  14. Norshazila S Jr, et. al. Antioxidant levels and activities of selected seeds of malaysian tropical fruits. Malays J Nutr. (2010)
  15. Maisuthisakul P. Antioxidant Potential and Phenolic Constituents of Mango Seed Kernel from Various Extraction Methods. Kasetsart J (Nat Sci). (2009)
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  19. Song JH, et. al. Protective effect of mango (Mangifera indica L.) against UVB-induced skin aging in hairless mice. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. (2013)
  20. Chae S, et. al. Inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase-1 induced by oxidative stress in human keratinocytes by mangiferin isolated from Anemarrhena asphodeloides. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. (2011)
  21. Kim HS, et. al. Inhibition of UVB-induced wrinkle formation and MMP-9 expression by mangiferin isolated from Anemarrhena asphodeloides. Eur J Pharmacol. (2012)
  22. Nithitanakool S, et. al. Molecular docking studies and anti-tyrosinase activity of Thai mango seed kernel extract. Molecules. (2009)
  23. Petrova A, et. al. Photoprotection by honeybush extracts, hesperidin and mangiferin against UVB-induced skin damage in SKH-1 mice. J Photochem Photobiol B. (2011)
  24. Mandawgade SD, Patravale VB. Formulation and evaluation of exotic fat based cosmeceuticals for skin repair. Indian J Pharm Sci. (2008)
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  29. Renner R, et. al. Identification of a 27 kDa protein in patients with anaphylactic reactions to mango. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. (2008)
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