Scientists develop cranberry-infused lipstick to ward off viruses like Covid, the flu and Ebola

Safe and stylish! Scientists develop cranberry-infused lipstick that can ward off viruses like Covid, the flu and Ebola

  • Cranberry juice is a well-known remedy for fending off pesky yeast infections
  • But now researchers have added an extract of the fruit to a new lipstick mixture
  • It deactivated virus variations of Covid, flu and Ebola within a minute of contact

Your bold cherry red lipstick may not just catch attention from the other side of the bar – but it could also protect you from pesky germs.

A Spanish research team developed a cranberry-infused lipstick which can ward off viruses, and even help protect wearers from the flu, Covid and even Ebola.

It takes advantage of compounds in the fruit called polyphenols, which can deactivate viruses by altering proteins in their membranes.

As experts fear Covid will remain circulating in the population for years on end, along with regular annual nuisances like the flu, scientists hope the lipstick can be a fashion-friendly replacement for a mask indoors.

Scientists from Valencia developed a cranberry-infused lipstick which can help ward off viruses including the flu, Ebola, herpes, hepatitis A and polio

Previous research on cranberry extract is scant but studies show that it has anti-microbial properties, which led the researchers to investigate it further.

In 2020, researchers from Madrid found that cranberry had an antibacterial effect against pathogens which can cause gum infections.

Another study by Australian researchers in 2012 found cranberry juice protected against Staphylococcus aureus — a germ roughly 30 percent of people carry in their nose which can cause infections.

Further research from Canadian scientists found cranberry juice inactivated two other viruses.

Cranberries’ healing properties are due to polyphenols in the fruit which interact with membranes of viruses and alter their glycoproteins, totally deactivating them.

The berry has also been shown to be very powerful in fighting E. coli and Candida albicans.

Researchers, from the Saint Vincent Martyr Catholic University in Valencia, mixed cranberry extract into a lipstick cream base of shea butter, vitamin E, provitamin B5, babassu oil and avocado oil to create a deep red lipstick tint. 

They trialed their mixture by adding it to petri dishes containing different viruses, bacteria and an infection-causing fungus called Candida albicans.

Researchers tested the lipstick mixture on two dummy viruses, one representing Covid, flu, Ebola and herpes and another which represented hepatitis A, polio and norovirus.

Enveloped viruses have a membrane, while non-enveloped viruses do not.

Within less than a minute of the lipstick being in contact with both of the virus variations, it blocked them – a much shorter time than any other previously published study on antimicrobial lipstick, the researchers noted. 

Within five hours of application, the multi-drug-resistant bacteria —mycobacteria — and fungus were significantly weakened.

The team of researchers hope their work helps existing research into limiting the spread of germs and illnesses, and feeds into the production of natural antimicrobial cosmetics.

The findings were published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

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