Have you heard?
The French swear a glass of red wine at dinner is the secret behind their youthful complexion.
I don’t drink wine (boring teetotal here!) but I get my youthful fix from plain old grapes.
But lately I’ve been thinking, what if I add grape seed extract to my skincare routine? Will that help keep those dreaded wrinkles away, too? Here’s what science says:
What is Grape Seed Extract?
The name gives it away. Grape Seed Extract is an extract derived from the whole seeds of grapes.
These seed are loaded with proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that can reduce sun damage and prevent premature wrinkles.
P.S. The scientific name of Grape Seed Extract is Vitis Vinifera.
Grape Seed Extract is a powerful antioxidant
With so many antioxidants in its arsenal, it’s no wonder Grape Seed Extract is such a skilled free radicals fighter.
Not only it destroys the free radicals that lead to wrinkles but it also stabilises collagen and elastin, keeping skin firm and elastic.
It does this better than most antioxidants too: a 2000 study compared Grape Seed Extract to other antioxidants and found out that it offers “significantly greater protection against free radicals and DNA damage than vitamins C, E and β-carotene”.
Grape Seed Extract can boost sun protection
The same study made another interesting discovery: “topical application of GSPE enhances sun protection factor in human volunteers”.
Before you get too excited, Grape Seed Extract is NOT a sunscreen. But it can boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen when used together.
If you’re curious to know how Grape Seed Extract does this, you have antioxidants to thank for it. Smartskincare.org says it better: Grape Seed Extract “exert sun damage protection by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays”.
Grape Seed Extract has wound-healing properties
Like all this weren’t enough, Grape Seed Extract helps heal wounds, too.
A 2001 study has found out that “natural extracts such as grape seed proanthocyanidin extract containing 5000 ppm resveratrol facilitates” wound healing.
A 2002 study says it does it even better when coupled with resveratrol, another powerful antioxidant derived from grapes.
Grape Seed Extract is NOT a good preservative
Now parabéns have been unfairly maligned, everyone’s dropping them like a hot potato.
They’re all looking for natural alternatives. Like Grape Seed Extract. Is this a good idea? NO.
A 1999 study tested the preservation properties of six commercially grapefruit seed extracts. Here’s what it discovered:
“Five of the six extracts showed a high growth-inhibiting activity against the test germs. In all of the antimicrobial active grapefruit seed extracts, the preservative benzethonium chloride was detected by thin layer chromatography. Additionally, three extracts contained the preserving substances triclosan and methyl paraben.
“In only one of the grapefruit seed extracts tested no preservative agent was found. However, with this extract as well as with several self-made extracts from seed and juiceless pulp of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), no antimicrobial activity could be detected.
“Thus, it is concluded that the potent as well as nearly universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within. Natural products with antimicrobial activity do not appear to be present.”
Translation: Grape Seed Extract is NOT a preservative. It only works as one when it’s contaminated with other preservatives, such as benzethonium chloride or methyl paraben.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Grape Seed Extract?
- Caudalie Vinosource Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($39.00): available at Feel Unique, Sephora and SpaceNK
- Fresh Seaberry Moisturising Face Oil ($52.00): available at Harrods, Nordstrom and Sephora
- Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($33.00): available at Dermstore, Feel Unique and Paula’s Choice.
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The Bottom Line
Yes to Grape Seed Extract as an antioxidant, no as a preservatives. This extract is great at preventing wrinkles but don’t even think of adding it to your DIY skincare lotions as a preservative. That’s a job it can’t do.
Do you use products with Grape Seed Extract? Share your faves in the comments below.