Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of winemaking. After wine is made by pressing grapes, grape seeds are left behind. Grapeseed oil is extracted from these leftover grape seeds. Grapeseed oil is used as a natural beauty product. It's also marketed as a healthy alternative to vegetable oil.
Does grapeseed oil live up to the hype? Read on to find out.
Fast facts on grapeseed oil
Here are some key points about grapeseed oil. More detail is in the main article.
- Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids.
- The oil can be used in hair and on the skin as part of your beauty regimen.
- Buy expeller- or cold-pressed oil for use in the kitchen.
The health benefits of grapeseed oil are controversial. Part of this controversy is because of how the oil is processed. Most commercially available grapeseed oil is made using chemical solvents like hexane. Hexane is classified as an air pollutant and neurotoxin.
It's unclear what effect consuming these solvents has on humans in trace amounts. During processing, grapeseed oil may also be heated to very high temperatures which may oxidize the oil and make it go bad.
Grapeseed oil that's cold-pressed or expeller-pressed does not use chemical solvents or high heat during processing. It's a better choice than oil made with solvents.
Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), mostly omega-6 fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association, PUFAs may be beneficial to your heart if they're used in place of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet.
Research shows that PUFAS may reduce cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. But there's a catch: Optimal health depends on the proper balance of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in your body. Most people get more than enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diet and not nearly enough omega-3s.
Studies show that too much omega-6 fatty acid may cause inflammation that may lead to chronic diseases, including cancer. If you're already getting enough omega-6 in your diet, regularly consuming grapeseed oil may put your omega-6 intake at unhealthy levels.
Grapeseed oil is a good source of vitamin E, even more so than olive oil. Vitamin E is a vitamin that works as a fat-soluble antioxidant, which helps protect your cells from damaging free radicals that have been associated with cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Vitamin E also supports your immune system. Research shows it may slow the progression of dementia, but more study is needed.
Vitamin E can withstand heat, and grapeseed oil has a high smoke point. But any cooking oil will deteriorate fast if overheated. Whenever possible, use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed grapeseed oil raw in your recipes.
Beauty companies use grapeseed oil in their skin care and hair care products. But there are no clinical studies on the effectiveness of grapeseed oil on the skin or hair. Even so, many people use grapeseed oil as a natural remedy in their at-home beauty arsenal.
Grapeseed oil for healthy skin
Many of grapeseed oil's beauty benefits may be due to its vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acid content. Free radicals and environmental factors such as sun, wind, and pollution can do a number on your skin. They may increase the signs of aging and cause dry skin and discoloration.
Vitamin E helps battles free radicals, so it may help improve your skin when consumed in your diet. The same benefits may apply when it's applied directly to your skin in the form of grapeseed oil.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to skin function and appearance. And omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for skin barrier functioning. The main omega-6 PUFA in grapeseed oil is linolenic acid. This fatty acid may help reduce inflammation in the skin's middle and outer layers.
Other reasons grapeseed oil is used are to:
- moisturize skin
- heal acne
- lighten skin
- tighten pores
- reduce the appearance of scars
- remove makeup
Grapeseed oil penetrates your skin quickly and doesn't leave your skin feeling oily. To use grapeseed oil on your face, massage several drops into clean skin before you go to bed at night. You can repeat the process in the morning, if desired. Since grapeseed oil doesn't clog pores, it's ideal for all skin types, including oily skin that needs moisturizing.
Grapeseed oil for healthy hair
Grapeseed oil may improve the condition of your hair and scalp. If you have dandruff, which is often caused by a dry scalp, applying emollient grapeseed oil to your scalp can help loosen dead skin and restore moisture.
Some natural oils including olive oil and coconut oil are good for your hair, but they leave it feeling greasy and weighed down. Grapeseed oil is lightweight and doesn't have that effect. When applied to your hair, grapeseed oil adds moisture, strength, and shine.
Try massaging a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil (using more or less, depending on the length of your hair) into your hair and scalp before shampooing.
Grapeseed oil is used as a natural remedy for baldness. Linolenic acid is thought to stimulate hair growth. The oil contains flavonoids called procyanidin oligomers. These are powerful antioxidants. In vitro and in vivo studies show procyanidin oligomers may induce hair growth, but more research is needed.
Grapeseed oil in aromatherapy
Chronic stress wreaks internal and external havoc on your body. It may lead to:
- premature aging
- dry skin
- hair loss
While grapeseed oil on its own can't relieve stress, it does make a wonderful carrier oil for aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage. Aromatherapy may help relieve anxiety and reduce stress.
Cold-pressed or expeller-pressed grapeseed oil can be part of a healthy diet, when consumed in moderation. It has a neutral flavor and works well with many recipes. Grapeseed oil may also help keep your skin younger looking and your hair stronger and more luxurious. There are no known side effects of consuming grapeseed oil, but people who are allergic to grapes shouldn't use it.
Natural products have the potential to cause allergic reaction when used on the skin. Contact your doctor if you experience redness, itching, rash, or your condition worsens.