Unlikely as it may sound, a specific byproduct of winemaking may offer some beauty benefits. Grapeseed oil, which is extracted from grape seeds after the fruit has been pressed, is rich in antioxidants, which may help support skin health.
Likewise, grape seed extract and grape juice have been studied for their skin benefits.
Read on for the full breakdown on these three grape-based products.
Potential Benefits of Grapeseed Oil for Skin and Wrinkles
Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of winemaking: Once all the grapes have been pressed, the seeds are left behind, and grapeseed oil is then pressed from the seeds.
There are no large-scale studies that prove the benefits of grapeseed oil for skin. But let's take a look at some alleged benefits:
1. Can It Even Out Skin Tone and Reduce Scarring?
Grapeseed oil contains an antioxidant called proanthocyanidin, per an August 2019 review in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. Some preliminary research connects proanthocyanidin to a more even skin tone, but there are no conclusive results just yet.
Similarly, a January 2018 paper in the Journal of Molecular Sciences says some research has shown that grapeseed oil has an antioxidant and anti-bacterial effect on skin, and it may have a possible effect on skin aging, but the authors note that direct topical application of grapeseed oil on human skin hasn't been well studied.
As for scarring, grapeseed oil is an active ingredient in moisturizers for acne, per a May 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Topical application of grapeseed oil is thought to reduce the appearance of acne scars, but there isn't enough research to draw a firm conclusion.
But grapeseed oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote and maintain healthy skin due to its high levels of linoleic acid, per Oregon State University. Acne-prone skin is observably deficient in linoleic acid, which is why adding grapeseed oil to your morning routine may help reduce the appearance of scars and help acne heal more quickly.
2. Does It Improve Softness, Hydration and Elasticity?
Research published December 2010 in Pharmacognosy Magazine found that some products containing grapeseed oil improved skin's moisture levels, softness and elasticity. This is why some people swear by grapeseed oil for wrinkles. But it's important to note that this study didn't look at the effectiveness of grapeseed oil on its own.
A separate December 2011 study also in Pharmacognosy Magazine found that grapeseed oil improves the effectiveness of the antioxidant vitamins C and E in the skin.
Possible Benefits of Grape Seed Extract for the Skin
Grape seed extract has similar properties to grapeseed oil but contains different components (notably, vitamins A, C and E), per the Care Foundation. It differs in that the seed tends to be dried and ground up. Rather than oil, grape seed extract is available in oral capsule form.
Taking grape seed extract as a supplement has potential side effects, per Michigan Medicine. Do not take grape seed extract if you're pregnant, breastfeeding or have a grape allergy. And ask your doctor before taking it if you have other allergies, have high blood pressure, are taking vitamin C or are taking any other medications.
1. Can It Protect Skin From Sun Damage?
Grape seed extract is rich in antioxidants, including vitamins E and C. Antioxidants protect cells from unstable molecules that can cause damage to healthy cells on the skin and in the body, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Grape seed extract contains several plant compounds, including oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs, which are powerful antioxidants. The OPCs in grape seed extract contain 20 times the antioxidant power of vitamin C and 50 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E, according to a May 2015 study in the Global Journal of Health Science.
Because of its incredible antioxidant potency, grape seed extract is thought to protect the body from sun damage, which can lead to wrinkles, pigment changes and skin cancer, but because there are no large-scale studies on this specifically, it's impossible to say for sure.
2. Might It Improve Hyperpigmentation?
Grape seed extract is sometimes used to treat melasma, a condition in which the pigmentation of the facial skin appears brown and blotchy.
A November 2004 study in Phytotherapy Research found that taking proanthocyanidin-rich grapeseed oil extract orally improved symptoms of hyperpigmentation in the skin. The research showed that after six months of treatment with oral grape seed extract, chloasma (also known as melasma), significantly improved.
It should be noted, though, that in this study, the maximal benefits was achieved at six months, without further improvement when taken for a longer period.
Another study, published October 2016 in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, found some evidence that the extract improves skin radiance, firmness and elasticity. The study was very small, though (only 35 people), and was conducted only on people who identified as women.
What About Grape Juice Benefits for Skin?
Grape juice is the juice of grapes, of course. It is the liquid contents of the fruit (so no skin or seeds). Grape juice is usually sold with added sugar.
While there's no research to suggest that applying grape juice directly to your face would help your skin in any way, drinking the juice may have certain benefits.
Grape juice, like other grape products, is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body against damage by free radical molecules. That's why grapes are among the foods that are good for your skin, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And grape juice has more antioxidants than grapes, per Harvard Health Publishing.
Still, more specific research on the skin benefits of grape juice is necessary.
Some research suggests that grape juice may have similar benefits to wine, including reducing the risk of blood clots and maintaining healthy blood pressure, per the Mayo Clinic. Eating whole grapes may also promote these benefits, with the added benefit of fiber.
Because most conventional grape juices contain added sugars, eating the whole fruit may be a better way to reap the benefits of the mighty grape.
Is This an Emergency?
- Oregon State University: "Linus Pauling Institute: Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health"
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences: "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"
- Journal of Aesthetic Dermatology: "Moisturizers for Acne"
- Sage Journals: "Nutrition and Metabolic Insights: Grape Seed Oil Compounds: Biological and Chemical Actions for Health"
- Bulgarian Chemical Communications: "Green Extracts of Grape Seed Oil - Potential Source of Fatty Acids and Health Benefits"
- Pharmacognosy Magazine: "Assessment of viscoelasticity and hydration effect of herbal moisturizers using bioengineering techniques"
- Pharmacognosy Magazine: "Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation"
- Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy: "Proanthocyanidins: A comprehensive review"
- Phytotherapy Research: "Oral intake of proanthocyanidin-rich extract from grape seeds improves chloasma"
- National Cancer Institute: "Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention"
- Mayo Clinic: "Does grape juice offer the same heart benefits as red wine?"
- Care Foundation: "2 Differences Between Grape Seed Extract And Grape Oil That You Do Not Know About"
- Global Journal of Health Science: "The Topical Effect of Grape Seed Extract 2% Cream on Surgery Wound Healing"
- Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology: "Clinical effects of an oral supplement rich in antioxidants on skin radiance in women"
- Cleveland Clinic: "23 Foods That Are Good for Your Skin"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Ask the doctor: Do grapes and grape juice protect the heart like wine does?"