Cantaloupe melons are the most popular variety in the United States, closely followed by honeydew melons. However, there’s a ton of obscure varieties such as the spiky horned melon, which is popular in Africa, the Chinese hami melon, the Korean melon, sugar melon, and the tiger melon. Contrary to popular belief the watermelon IS a type of melon.
Today though we’re only going to discuss the two “traditional” melons, cantaloupe and honeydew, both of which have been on the menu of mankind for at least 4000 years. Cantaloupe (known as rockmelon in Australia) has been grown since ancient times in the Nile River Valley in Egypt while honeydew melons first appeared in Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back to 2400 BC. Both Napoleon and Pope John Paul II considered the honeydew to be their favourite fruit.
These days, cantaloupe and honeydew melons are eaten by more people, and more acne patients, than ever. China grows and sells the most cantaloupes per year, nearly half the world’s supply at 25 billion pounds per year, followed by Turkey at 3.5 billion pounds, Iran at 2.9 billion pounds, Egypt at 2.4 billion pounds and the USA at 2.2 billion pounds. Within the USA California is the largest producer, growing nearly half the country’s produce, followed by Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Texas.
Many melon products are raging in popularity; the practice of drying cantaloupe seeds for consumption as a tasty snack is widespread in Central and South America, Asia and the Middle East. In fact, a British start-up company recently struck a deal with the supermarket Ocado to sell Mello, a popular melon-based drink that’s sweeping across the Middle East like wildfire.
Hence, today we are going to continue the quest of Supernatural Acne Treatment to analyse and rank every commonly sold fruit and discover once and for all whether cantaloupes and honeydew melons clear acne, trigger acne, or do absolutely nothing for acne.
Are cantaloupe/honeydew melons rich in acne nutrition?
100 grams of cantaloupe melon, or about a bowl’s worth, contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C – 61%.
- Vitamin A – 68%.
- Calcium – 1%.
- Iron – 1%.
- Vitamin B6 – 0%.
- Vitamin E – 0%
- Vitamin B12 – 0%.
- Choline – 7.6mg.
- Manganese – 2%.
- Selenium – 1%.
- Potassium – 8%.
- Magnesium – 3%.
- Vitamin D – 0%.
- Zinc – 1%.
- Sugar – 7.9g.
- ORAC score – 319.
It’s immediately clear that cantaloupe melon is a good source of vitamin A (in the plant-based carotenoid form) and vitamin C. We’ve raved about those two nutrients in this article and in my eBook, so in brief, vitamin C clears acne by lowering stress hormone levels and accelerating your production of collagen. Vitamin C is also the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in the human body.
Vitamin A directly regulates your skin’s output of both keratin proteins and the oil, sebum, the two main villains behind blocked pores and acne. Vitamin A also accumulates in your cells and provides a natural armour against sun-induced free radicals (also important for making enough vitamin D).
So does this nutrition mean that melons deserve to become the new superfood craze for clearing acne? The answer is most definitely no.
Why? Simply because if you wander down to and browse through the most ordinary market stall in nearly any country around the world, almost all the fruits and vegetables for sale contain just as much vitamin C.
For instance: a handful of strawberries contains 97% of the recommended daily allowance per 100 grams, raspberries contain 43%, blueberries 16%, blackberries 20%, oranges 88%, and pineapple (a surprisingly good source actually) 79%.
That’s only fruits; broccoli has 148% per 100 grams, kale has 200%, spinach 46%, potatoes 32%, cabbage 60%, yellow bell peppers 305%, and red bell peppers 212%. The vitamin C in melons is good for clearing acne but so mundane that it’s no reason to specifically hunt them down.
Likewise, vitamin A is spread equally far and wide in nature. Getting your daily carbs from a 200 gram serving of sweet potatoes will give you 566% of the recommended daily allowance. Comparing melon to sweet potatoes is like comparing a rusty old Wild West bicycle to a 200mph freight train. The cantaloupe becomes completely obsolete. Similarly, 100 grams of following foods give you: 334% from carrots, 199% from kale, 148% from green leaf lettuce, 149% for red leaf lettuce, and 170% from pumpkin.
The prospects for the poor old honeydew melon are even grimmer. The trace minerals and vitamins are virtually identical, but there’s only 30% of the RDA for vitamin C and just 1% for vitamin A. The lack of vitamin A is evident in the green colour, as its carotenoids which provide the orange hue of cantaloupes.
The argument can be made that cantaloupe melons are in fact unique among fruits as one of the few with decent amounts of vitamin A. Only mangoes (21%) and papaya (19%) come close.
Nevertheless, that’s only among fruits. Vitamin A is so common elsewhere that this standout feature pales compared to the pomegranate, for instance, which is one of the highest foods in antioxidants per serving overall, not just fruits, or the strawberry, a great source of both vitamin C and antioxidants. Speaking of antioxidants, melon doesn’t contain many; the ORAC score of 319 is feeble compared to the strawberries with 4302. A honeydew scores only 253.
A melon’s acne antioxidants rank similarly to the pineapple (456) and the watermelon (142), but neither cantaloupe nor honeydew have the fascinating hidden powers of those fruits (see below). Both honeydews and cantaloupe lack decent amounts of magnesium, which slowly but surely accumulates when you eat bananas (7% of RDA), blackberries (5%) and raspberries (5%).
Cantaloupe/honeydew melons also lack interesting phytonutrients. Sure, the cantaloupe has a handful of carotenoid antioxidants like lutein, but compare that to the good old banana which comes drenched in medicinal compounds like rutin, quercetin, kaempferol, and tryptophan.
Melon-lovers might argue that science has not identified the medicinal compounds in melon yet, and that’s definitely possible. However, the same argument can be made for bananas as well.
When it comes to nutrition, the vitamin A content of cantaloupe melons (but not honeydews) is the only claim to fame, and not the best one anyway.
Do melons have unique acne-clearing powers?
Most fruits are highly complex in not just their basic vitamins and minerals, but also their never-ending array of smaller plant compounds and phytonutrients. Hence, one thing you also have to look for is unique medicinal powers which benefit acne. Take the following fruits:
Strawberries – a stellar source of vitamin C and varied antioxidants, combined with low sugar.
Pineapple – contains bromelain, which enhances protein digestion and lowers inflammation.
Pomegranate – contains phytonutrients which inhibit the creation of stress hormones. The best fruit for antioxidants.
Watermelon – increases nitric oxide levels due its l-citrulline content.
Oranges – great for vitamin C and may detoxify elevated estrogen levels.
Red grapes – contain resveratrol, a famous phytonutrient used in supplements which increases your body’s generation of its own antioxidants.
Bananas – may lower stress thanks to rutin and kaempferol. Also contains some bromelain.
Unfortunately if you’re a fan of melon, neither cantaloupe nor honeydew have any such powers. An extensive trawling of all available studies reveals nothing.
Now, the lack of one gimmick or standout power could be forgiven if melon has some really solid nutrition for acne. For example, blueberries are not unique at all, but they’re still a top notch acne fruit because their powers to lower inflammation and oxidative stress are more potent than usual.
In fact, most fruits at least have some power to lower inflammation whether modest like apples or strong like blueberries.
However, melon may lack even this standard fruit power. There is this one promising study:
- Scientists led by Dr I Vouldoukis wished to test the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers of a cantaloupe melon extract. Thus they applied the extract to cells in a culture and analysed changes in the production of the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, specifically TNF-alpha and interleukin-10. The results showed that the cantaloupe melon extract had anti-inflammatory properties which were mostly caused by its ability to increase the anti-inflammatory IL-10. In a second section of the study, scientists injected some mice with either a placebo or the cantaloupe melon extract (CME), while also injecting them with the pro-inflammatory chemical IFN-gamma. The melon-injected mice enjoyed more protection against inflammation. Therefore, the scientists concluded that the cantaloupe melon extract had anti-inflammatory properties.
That’s a decent study for cantaloupe melons, but it’s only one study. Apples, oranges, strawberries and others all have a handful of great inflammation studies to their name. Furthermore, the first part is in vitro, or on cells, not on living humans with all their bodies’ complexities. The second section is on mice which, while decent test subjects, are obviously not identical to humans.
To determine a real benefit for inflammation it’s optimal to get several different studies to examine both different circumstances and defences against different inflammatory-chemicals; the IFN gamma which the injection of cantaloupe melon extract could defend against is a single pro-inflammatory chemical among an immune system arsenal of many. It’s good to get studies on different animals – if the study is only on mice but there’s several similar ones on humans and rats too, then its fair game.
Alternatively, you have to know that the fruit has compounds which themselves have been proven to be anti-inflammatory such as resveratrol in grapes or pterostilbene in blueberries.
Elsewhere there’s nearly no research on other conditions behind acne. There’s no clear research linking melons to lowered stress levels, improved insulin sensitivity, higher glutathione production, and improvements in sleep deprivation, gut health, or acne directly.
For some reason nobody has bothered to research cantaloupe or honeydew melons at all. Either that, or scientists across the world are well aware of how little nutritional power melons possess and hence steer well clear.
Cantaloupe and honeydew melons do have some good points. For instance, they’re both low in sugar for fruits, with 7.9 grams and 8.1 grams respectively. They’re also low in FODMAPs, poorly digested carbohydrates which cause digestive difficulties and acne in many people.
Neither cantaloupe nor honeydew melons have any obvious compounds that could cause acne, with the exception being if you have a random allergy. However, they also only contain about 1 gram of fiber per 100 grams and thus won’t feed your healthy gut bacteria like apples or bananas.
History reveals no benefits for acne either
One of the most interesting ways to determine a food’s effect on health is to research the path it once forged through history.
For instance, we in the twenty-first century know through science that bananas are a healthy food, but numerous ancient civilisations realised the same solely through their experiences with it.
Archaeologists and historians believe that the domestic banana first originated from the Kuk valley of New Guinea in 8000BC. Since then, bananas have been used for treating hangovers, stained teeth, sugar cravings, mosquito bites, indigestion, obsessive food cravings, and kidney stones by various schools of medicine around the world.
With melons, we know they’ve been around a heck of a long time and are eaten just about everywhere. Cantaloupe first originated in either Middle East or India, and the melon was known to be grown by ancient Egyptians and Romans. Cantaloupe was first introduced to Europe way back in the 15th century and quickly became a popular fruit due to its sweetness.
Cantaloupe melons are actually named after the papal gardens of Cantaloupe, Italy, where some historians believe this species of melon was first grown in Europe. Cantaloupe melons were first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the continent in 1494.
Honeydews meanwhile, have been around for even longer. Expert historians believe that honeydew melons were first cultivated in Northern Africa and Persia nearly 4,000 years ago. Honeydews were later a tasty favourite of the ancient Greeks and Romans. They were introduced to western and northern Europe during the Middle Ages just like cantaloupes, and once again, Christopher Columbus was the man who brought honeydew seeds to the Americas and allowed future generations to enjoy them.
Honeydew melons have been present in California since 1683, when they were introduced by Spanish missionaries. They remained popular in Europe for hundreds of years where, as I mentioned earlier, Napoleon was obsessed with them.
Yet throughout humanity’s long history of consuming melon, there are very few stories of it being used for warts, or inflammation, or wounds, or as an aphrodisiac, or for hangovers, or for any medicinal purpose.
This is yet more confirmation that cantaloupe and honeydew melons are at the bottom of the pile for healthy and hence acne-clearing fruits.
Conclusion – one of the weakest fruits for acne
Both cantaloupe melons and honeydew melons have decent amounts of vitamin C, but a serious shortage of any unique properties for acne patients. Perhaps the best feature for acne is the cantaloupe’s high levels of vitamin A, but even that power can be found elsewhere with ease.
If you’re specifically targeting a fruit that will maximise your intake of acne nutrients, you’ll be better off with strawberries, pineapples, pomegranates, or almost any other fruit. Melons rank very low in the halls of acne-clearing fruits and are about equal to green grapes and pears.
Despite all that a nice sweet bowl of cantaloupe melon is still easily better for your skin than a chocolate chip muffin or a slice of cake. Furthermore, there’s no reason to avoid it unless you’re trying to push your sugar intake to the absolute minimum.
Hence, if you’re a huge fan of cantaloupe or honeydew melon and already feasting on a bowl per day, it’s a great idea for acne to keep going.
Thanks for reading!