Most of us dread peeling a pomegranate. But, did you know that the seeds are unique therapeutic agents? Pomegranate seeds are a treasure chest of phytochemicals and fats. They are processed to make pomegranate seed oil.
Pomegranate seed oil has >80% conjugated fatty acids. It contains a small fraction of polyphenols from the rind/peel of the fruit. Hence, this oil has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can treat acne, dry skin issues, and signs of aging.
Research also proves the anticancer activity of pomegranate seed oil (1). Scroll down to know how, why, and why not to use this oil!
Table Of Contents
What Is Pomegranate Seed Oil?
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is consumed all over the world due to medicinal, mythological, and religious beliefs. The fruit exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It has been extensively studied for anticancer benefits (1).
The unique nutritional composition gives pomegranate its therapeutic value. The seeds are the reservoirs of these nutrients and active molecules.
When these seeds are cold-pressed or aged in carrier oils, you get pomegranate seed oil. This seed oil is an excellent skin care solution.
It works effectively against acne, eczema, psoriasis, and pigmentation (3). A few studies also explain the heart-protective and cancer-preventive activities of this oil.
In the following sections, you will get to know the benefits of using this oil in detail. Swipe up!
How Does Pomegranate Oil Benefit Your Skin?
Pomegranate seed oil gives you younger and healthy skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
1. Reduces Acne
Acne is a skin condition that occurs due to hormonal imbalance. It commonly affects teens and young adults. The major causes of acne are bacterial infection, sebum overproduction, clogged skin pores (hyperkeratosis), and inflammation (3).
Using cosmetics that target any of these factors can help reduce acne on your face. Pomegranate seed extracts are often used in such products because they exhibit excellent anti-inflammatory activity (3).
This fruit oil/extracts inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus. Studies suggest that they can also regulate the sebum secretion and inflammation around the affected area (3).
2. Controls Skin Pigmentation And Photoaging
The UV rays from the sunlight may cause the over/underproduction of melanin, a protein responsible for your skin tone. High levels of melanin can cause pigmentation patches, which could also indicate cancer (4), (5).
Free radicals are spontaneously formed when your skin is exposed to UVB rays. These reactive molecules induce death in melanin-producing cells. Thus, you’d see either dark-over white or white-over-dark patches on your face and body (5), (6).
Pomegranate oil and other pomegranate derivatives have proven to be effective against UV-induced skin damage and photoaging. The antioxidants, like ellagic acid and punicalagins, in these products prevent pigmentation. They can, hence, be used as skin-whitening and anti-aging agents (4), (6).
3. Moisturizes And Tightens Skin
The seeds of pomegranate contain fair amounts of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid (29%) and oleic acid (10%). The oil extracted from these seeds is rich in phytochemicals from the peel (7).
This fruit helps in tightening your skin. It stimulates the production of collagen, which makes your skin firm and supple (7).
Topical application of pomegranate seed oil with a water-based resin works well on stretch marks (striae), parched lips, and loose skin (8).
The antioxidants in pomegranate oil are good at battling chronic diseases too. Other health benefits of this oil include the following.
4. May Combat Cancer
New cases of skin cancers are on the rise. Sun exposure is thought to be the major environmental factor influencing the development of this cancer. The UVB rays in sunlight trigger multiple cellular pathways (9).
Similar preventive effects of pomegranate oil/extract were observed in breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers (9).
5. May Aid Weight Loss And Heart Health
Pomegranate extract brings down the serum cholesterol and overall food intake levels. It also inhibits intestinal fat absorption (6).
Patients with high cholesterol were given pomegranate oil (400 mg/day) twice a day for four weeks. They showed a decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, thereby cutting down the risk of heart diseases (atherosclerosis) significantly (10).
Moreover, this oil maintained the balance in cholesterol levels by increasing serum HDL (good cholesterol) levels (6).
The phytochemicals of this fruit make its seed oil potent and therapeutic. Find out what those components are in the next section.
Composition Of Pomegranate Seed Oil
The pomegranate seed oil contains 63% UFA, which includes linoleic acid (29%) and oleic acid (10%). It also contains punicic acid (~60%). This oil is known for having a high concentration of polyphenolic compounds (8).
The seed cover/coat is rich in anthocyanins. They include delphinidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-glucoside, delphinidin-3,5-diglucoside, cyanidin-3,5-diglucoside, pelargonidin-3,5-diglucoside, and pelargonidin-3-glucoside (12).
Organic acids like oxalic acid, quinic acid, fumaric acid, succinic acid, and tartaric acid are identified in pomegranate seeds. They may also contain traces of isoflavones (genistein and daidzein) and flavonols (quercetin) (13).
That’s a lot of phytonutrition for these little seeds! When you cold-press or heat-extract oil from them, it would certainly give you the discussed benefits.
You can make a clean and pure prep of this seed oil on your own. Want to know how?
How To Make Pomegranate Seed Oil
Pomegranate seed oil is made by eithxer cold pressing or heating the seeds in a carrier oil. You can use a carrier oil of your choice – jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, etc.
What You Need
- Pomegranate seeds: 1-2 ounces, organic, pesticide-free
- Carrier oil: 4-4½ cups
- Crockpot/deep vessel
- Mason jar/storage container with lid
- Rubber band/hair elastic
Let’s Make It!
- Add the carrier oil to a crockpot.
- Add the pomegranate seeds to the oil.
- Put the crockpot on a low heat setting/low flame. Place the lid.
- Allow the oil to cook for about 6 hours.
- Once it is done, unfold a cheesecloth and place it over the mouth of the jar.
- Secure the cheesecloth with an elastic to hold it in place.
- Turn off the heat. Keep the crockpot aside for 15 minutes.
- Strain the contents through the cheesecloth to filter the seeds.
- Unwrap the rubber band and set the cheesecloth aside.
- Screw the lid back onto the jar. Store the oil in a cool dark area.
Note: Do not ingest this oil. It is for external use only.
You can use pomegranate seed oil for about six months if you store it in the refrigerator. Discard the oil if stored beyond this time to avoid undesirable reactions.
If you are not a DIY enthusiast, you can find bottles of this oil on the market easily. Or you can buy it here!
Are you wondering about the safety/toxicity and dosage of this seed oil?
Is It Safe To Use Pomegranate Seed Oil?
Toxicological reports show the safety of pomegranate seed oil in animals. This oil was found to be safe or non-toxic when administered orally. Even with doses as high as 2 g/kg of body weight, no signs of toxicity were seen (14).
However, the upper limit is set to about 4.3 g/kg a day (14).
Trials did report a few side effects beyond this limit.
Moreover, there is insufficient evidence to prove the safety of this oil in pregnant and lactating women.
Although there is evidence supporting the ingestion of pomegranate seed oil, we suggest you discuss this with your healthcare provider.
In fact, it is best to use this oil only when prescribed, even if it just for topical application on your face.
Like the fruit, pomegranate seed oil is linked to several cosmetic and therapeutic benefits. The oil is rich in fatty acids like punicic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. It also contains flavonoids, sterols, terpenoids, and anthocyanins.
These components act together to relieve acne, stretch marks, pigmentation, and photoaging. The antioxidants protect you from cancers of the skin, breast, colon, and lung.
Talk to your doctor about using pomegranate seed oil. If advised, make a batch of it using our simple recipe. Use it on your face, skin, and problem areas to see the magic unfold.
Don’t forget to share your feedback, suggestions, and queries with us in the comments section below.
- Chemopreventive Effects of Pomegranate Seed Oil on Skin Tumor Development in CD1 Mice, Journal Of Medicinal Food, CiteSeerX, The Pennsylvania State University.
- Pomegranate seeds as a source of nutraceutical oil naturally rich in bioactive lipids, Food Research International, National Agricultural Library, United States Department of Agriculture.
- Multiple Activities of Punica granatum Linne against Acne Vulgaris, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Inhibitory Effect of Dried Pomegranate Concentration Powder on Melanogenesis in B16F10 Melanoma Cells; Involvement of p38 and PKA Signaling Pathways, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Protective effect of pomegranate derived products on UVB-mediated damage in human reconstituted skin, Author manuscript, HHS Public Access, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Potent health effects of pomegranate, Advanced Biomedical Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Skin Ageing: Natural Weapons and Strategies, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Pomegranate for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer: An Update, Molecules, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Pomegranate as a Functional Food and Nutraceutical Source, Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Pomegranate seed oil, a rich source of punicic acid, prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice, Food and Chemical Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Pomegranate Fruit as a Rich Source of Biologically Active Compounds, BioMed Research International, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Diverse Phytochemicals and Bioactivities in the Ancient Fruit and Modern Functional Food Pomegranate (Punica granatum), Molecules, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Toxicological evaluation of pomegranate seed oil. Food And Chemical Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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