Seed Extracts in Skin Care - The Dermatology Review

Seed Extracts in Skin Care

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09.28.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract
Vitis vinifera seed extract, also known as grape seed extract, is a botanical ingredient derived from the common grape vine. It has been historically used by European folk healers to heal wounds and calm inflammation. This is because vitis vinifera seed extract possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Furthermore, it is lightweight, stable, and moisturizing, which is why it is used in a variety of cosmetics and skin care products.

Vitis vinifera seed extract has a high affinity with the structure of skin cells, and therefore is absorbed easily without leaving a greasy feeling on the skin. This property also enables the extract to deliver other active ingredient deeper into the skin. Vitis vinifera seed extract is rich in essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, which can replenish the skin’s barrier function. By restoring the skin’s barrier, vitis vinifera seed extract helps to keep the skin hydrated and soft.

Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract
Quinoa is a flowering plant that is part of the genus Chenopodium. It is grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. In recent years, extracts from quinoa seeds have emerged in skin care products based on their ability to moisturize the skin and hair, as well as protect against free radicals.

Chenopodium quinoa seed extract is rich in essential fatty acids. These essential fatty acids restore the skin’s barrier function, which helps to keep the skin hydrated and soft. This extract also contains vitamin C and E, powerful antioxidants that can protect the skin from free radicals caused by factors such as UV radiation and pollution. Chenopodium quinoa seed extract is a good source of essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine. Both lysine and methionine play a role in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that maintains the strength and firmness of skin.

Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Extract
Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) is a flowering plant that is native to North America. Indigenous tribes have been using this plant as a medicinal crop for hundreds of years, treating ailments such as bruises, hemorrhoids, digestive problems, and sore throats. Evening primrose seed extract is currently used in skin care products due to its high content of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA).

The GLA in evening primrose seed extract is thought to help skin conditions such as acne and eczema by reducing inflammation. In 2005, a randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled study evaluated the effects of this extract on skin moisture, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), redness, firmness, elasticity, fatigue resistance, and roughness. The study found that the GLA in evening primrose seed extract is an essential fatty acid for the skin that is necessary for optimal structure and function.

Hordeum vulgare seed extract
Hordeum vulgare, commonly known as barley, is a member of the grass family, grown in temperate climates around the world. Barley is a component of various foods and alcoholic beverages. When used in skin care products, hordeum vulgare seed extract provides many benefits due to antioxidant properties.

Hordeum vulgare seed extract is rich in phenols and flavonoids, which are both known to provide antioxidant activity. Antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals, which are highly reactive species that are known to cause damage to the skin, resulting in premature signs of aging. When topically applied, hordeum vulgare seed extract can be used to maintain overall skin quality and reduce signs of aging.

Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Extract
Pumpkin seed extract is a hydrolyzed protein fraction obtained from the Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed cake. This extract is packed with beneficial nutrients, which is why it is added to many different kinds of skin care products. In fact, experts believe that a pumpkin contains more than 100 beneficial nutrients that can help reverse signs of aging. Plus, the molecular structure of this extract is small, which means it can penetrate deep into the skin when used topically.

Pumpkin seed extract contains antioxidants such as vitamins A and C, which can stimulate collagen production to help prevent signs of aging. Additionally, fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) found in pumpkin seed extract increase cell turnover, leading to a brighter and smoother complexion. The extract also contains zinc, which can help those that suffer from acne since zinc is known to regulate oil production and hormone levels.

Polygonum Fagopyrum Seed Extract
Polygonum fagopyrum, also known as buckwheat, is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds. Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Rather, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Polygonum fagopyrum seed extract is used in skin care formulations to reduce puffiness and protect the skin from free radical damage.

One of the primary components of buckwheat seed extract is a rutin, a natural bioflavonoid. Rutin possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. A 2016 study found that rutin can effectively scavenge free radicals, as well as improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Buckwheat seed extract also contains a small amount of fagopyrins, which is a disadvantage since these compounds can be phototoxic. Phototoxicity is a chemically induced skin irritation, requiring light, that resembles a sunburn. Thus, it is best to use sun protection when applying products that contain polygonum fagopyrum seed extract.

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract
Translated from Latin, Prunus amygdalus dulcis means sweet almond oil. While typically grouped with other tree nuts, an almond is actually a “drupe,” a fruit with an outer hull encasing a shell with the seed inside. The oil is extracted from ripe seed kernels that have been dried and crushed through a cold pressing process.

Sweet almond seed extract contains many beneficial fats, including 32% monounsaturated oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid), 13% linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid), and 10% saturated fatty acid (mainly as palmitic acid). These healthy fats help to maintain skin hydration by keeping the skin barrier intact. Additionally, a strong skin barrier reduces symptoms such as dryness and itchiness, and leaves the skin healthy and glowing. Sweet almond seed extract is also rich in vitamin E, which provides potent antioxidant activity.

Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract
Castanea sativa is a deciduous tree native to Southern Europe and Asia. It produces an edible seed, the chestnut, which has been used in cooking since ancient times. Chestnut seed extract is also used in skin care products due to its high concentrations of antioxidants, such as rutin and quercetin. Rutin is a natural bioflavonoid that provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It can also improve skin elasticity and decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

Similarly, quercetin is a flavonoid that provides anti-inflammatory effects. Quercetin works through multiple mechanisms to reduce inflammation, for example, by inhibiting production of inflammation-producing enzymes (i.e. COX and LOX). Since chestnut seed extract can reduce inflammation, improve skin elasticity, and decrease the appearance of wrinkles, it is an excellent ingredient for anti-aging skin care products.

Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract
Citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract comes from a subtropical citrus tree that is known for its sour to semi-sweet fruit. In fact, grapefruit is actually a hybrid of two species: sweet orange (C. sinensis) and pomelo (C. grandis).

Citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract is claimed to be a natural preservative when used in cosmetics and skin care formulations. However, multiple studies have confirmed that it is not an effective preservative agent, as it cannot protect against both the most common forms of microbial growth. For instance, a study published in the academic journal Pharmazie found that “the universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within.”

Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract
Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing softwood tree that is native to Northern India. The seeds of the Moringa tree contain a significant amount of oil with a high-quality fatty acid composition, primarily oleic acid (greater than 70%). After refining, the oil has a notable resistance to oxidative degradation, an excellent property for cosmetic formulations.

The oil extracted from Moringa seeds may also be referred to as “Ben oil” or “Behen oil” due to its high concentration of behenic acid, a saturated fatty acid. Behenic acid helps promote healthy skin by improving hydration and restoring the skin’s natural barrier. Moringa oleifera seed extract also contains plant hormones called cytokinins that help promote cellular growth and prevent destruction of skin tissues. The antioxidants found in moringa oleifera seed extract, such as vitamin C, combat free radical damage and may stimulate collagen synthesis.

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) Seed Extract
Aesculus hippocastanum is a large, deciduous tree commonly known as horse chestnut. Fruit from this tree develop with a shell that is a green, spiky capsule containing one nut-like seed. The seeds, especially those that are young and fresh, are slightly poisonous; although not dangerous to touch, they cause sickness when ingested.

Horse chestnut seed extract contains saponins, which are collectively known as ‘aescin’. When added to skin care formulations, they provide a gentle, soapy feel. Aescin is capable of reducing capillary fragility, and thus can help to prevent leakage of fluids into surrounding tissues. This means that horse chestnut seed extract can help to reduce swelling and puffiness. The saponins found in this extract also possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In fact, horse chestnut seed extract is believed to have more powerful antioxidant activity than vitamin E.

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract
Glycine soja, or wild soybean, is an annual plant in the legume family. Extracts from glycine soja seeds are rich in amino acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, glycine soja seed extract contains the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These isoflavones are the ones that make soy a phytoestrogen, which means it has a structure similar to estradiol that enables it have a weak estrogenic effect. Topical application of estrogen is known to increase skin thickness, thus, applying glycine soja seed extract may be beneficial for postmenopausal women who develop a thinner dermis.

The isoflavones found in glycine soja seed extract have also been used in treatment for hyperpigmentation disorders. They are able to inhibit melanosome transfer, which means they prevent melanin from adhering to skin cells, therefore helping with blotchiness and discoloration. However, since this ingredient is a phytoestrogen it is not recommended for melasma treatment since melasma is somewhat estrogen mediated.

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