Oryzanol, also known as gamma oryzanol, is an ingredient extracted from rice bran oil. Bran is the hard outer layer of the grain, often produced as a by-product of milling in the production of white rice. Oil can be extracted from the bran, resulting in rice bran oil. Oryzanol occurs in rice bran oil at a level of 1 to 2%. It consists of a mixture of ferulic acid esters and phytosterols.
Oryzanol is used in skin care products because it provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as for its UV-absorbing capacity. The antioxidant activity of oryzanol is provided by the ferulic acid esters, which can protect the skin from free radicals. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. The phytosterols in oryzanol benefit the skin by replenishing its lipid barrier while also providing soothing effects. Lastly, oryzanol is used in sun protection products as secondary protection because of its UVA and UVB absorbing capacity. It works by intercepting the ultraviolet rays at the skin’s surface, thereby slowing the progress of melanin pigmentation.