Bananas are a delicious and healthy food that contains fiber, essential nutrients such as potassium, and antioxidants such as vitamin C.
When eating a banana, most people discard the peel. However, you might reconsider that action based on claims that banana peels have a variety of uses for:
- skin care
- hair health
- teeth whitening
- first aid
- household cleaning
Advocates of banana peels for skin care suggest:
- rubbing a banana peel on your face to brighten skin and reduce wrinkles
- placing a banana peel on closed eyes to reduce puffiness
- using a banana peel as a moisturizer to hydrate skin
- rubbing the peel on acne scars to help them fade
- treating psoriasis by applying banana peel to the area with psoriasis to moisturize and relieve itch
- removing a wart by taping a piece of ripe banana peel over it and leaving it there overnight
These suggested uses aren’t supported by clinical research. However, studies show that banana peels have a number of components that offer possible benefits:
- A 2018 review showed that banana peels are rich in phenolics, which have strong antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and are associated with many health benefits.
- According to a 2011 article, banana peels have a number of bioactive compounds, such as carotenoids and polyphenols.
- A 2012 study found extracts of banana peel to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Proponents of natural products for health and cosmetics suggest using banana peel as an ingredient in a hair mask. They say it will make your hair softer and shinier.
One way they support that claim is by drawing attention to the antioxidants in banana peel. They suggest these antioxidants neutralize free radicals to keep hair strong and healthy.
According to a 2015 study, banana peels have demonstrated antibacterial activity against A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis. These bacteria contribute to periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Although this and other studies haven’t focused on the direct application of banana peel to teeth, practitioners of natural healing claim rubbing a banana peel on your teeth is good for your teeth and gums.
They also suggest that if you do this every day for a week, it may whiten your teeth.
The antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties in banana peels lead some proponents of folk medicine to suggest:
- pressing the peel against sunburn, poison ivy rash, or bug bite to provide relief from itch
- reducing headache pain by placing one frozen banana peel on your forehead and one frozen banana peel on the back of your neck
- placing a banana peel on a splinter in the skin for 15 minutes to help draw it to the surface
Instead of putting them directly into your trash or compost, many people have found household uses for banana peels, including using them to polish and brighten:
- houseplant leaves
- leather shoes
Many organic gardeners recommend putting banana peels to use in the garden, rather than wasting them. They suggest:
- adding them to soil as worm food
- mixing them with water to make plant fertilizer
- putting them under rose bushes as a deterrent to aphids
- using them to attract butterflies
- composting them
Yes, there are people who eat the peel as well as the fruit of the banana. Recommendations include:
- boiling banana peels in water to make a tea
- using banana peels as an ingredient in chutney
- cooking banana peels with water and sugar to candy them
- blending banana peels into a fruit smoothie
Research indicates that banana peels may have beneficial properties for use in both the pharmaceutical and food industries. However, many methods are based on anecdotal information or folk remedies.
If you’re thinking about using banana peels for health or cosmetic purposes, consider discussing it with your healthcare provider. They might have additional natural solutions you can try.