Pomegranate Seed Oil Benefits: How to Use It and Trusted Recipes
Pomegranates have been exalted as symbols of reverence in ancient folklore and in religious scripts from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Throughout civilizations and ages, people have been enchanted by the beauty and therapeutic potential of the pomegranate fruit. Herbal formulations prepared from different parts of the plant, including the roots, leaves, rind, and seeds, were historically used to treat all sorts of ailments.
Owing to their nutritious and medicinal properties, pomegranates are validated in modern science as a timeless superfood. The seeds of the plant have gained special attention for being packed with potent phytochemical compounds such as flavonoids and fatty acids.
As such, pomegranate seed oil is a great way to enjoy the benefits of the super fruit and incorporate it into your beauty regimen. This article takes a deep dive into the origins of pomegranate seed oil and breaks down scientific research on its wide-ranging benefits and uses.
Origins and Extraction of Pomegranate Seed Oil
The earliest trace of pomegranate trees is found in 4000 BC in areas surrounding modern-day Iran, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. The pomegranate plant, known scientifically as Punica granatum, thrives in tropical and warm climates. It can grow to heights between 15-22 feet, depending on the plant variety.
The trees bear red fruit with a thick, leathery rind. Inside the fruit, the pomegranate seeds, also known as arils, are contained in juicy, gelatinous flesh. On average, pomegranate fruits hold anywhere between 200 to 1400 arils.
The pomegranate seed oil is extracted through steam distillation or cold pressing of the ripened seeds. It carries a mild, nutty aroma with fruity undertones that imbue it with a sweet characteristic. In appearance, the oil presents pale to light yellow in color and has a thick consistency.
Chemical Constituents and Their Therapeutic Effects
The seeds of the pomegranate plant are the most researched and studied plant part, given the abundance of useful phytochemicals they contain. They are most known for their antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. In composition, the seeds comprise fatty acids, phytosterols, tocopherols, phenols, and vitamin C.
Unsaturated fatty acids present in the seed oil include punicic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid. Punicic acid makes up 65 percent of the fatty acids in pomegranate seed oil and is vital for the synthesis of collagen. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it potentially effective for the treatment of conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Punicic acid also plays a prominent role in the treatment of minor wounds and scrapes.
Stearic acid, another key fatty acid in the seed oil, is known for its cleansing and emollient properties. It is usually added to skincare formulations for its hydrating and moisturizing effects, making the skin plump and reducing texture. It is also a key ingredient in creams that protect and restore the skin barrier.
Other noteworthy fatty acids in pomegranate seed oil are oleic and linoleic acid. These unsaturated fatty acids work together to reduce inflammation and smooth the skin. They also help reduce water loss from the scalp, maintaining a healthy environment for hair growth.
Apart from fatty acids, pomegranate seed oil contains antioxidant compounds such as tannins and flavonoids. These compounds protect the skin from sun damage and also reverse the effects caused by photoaging. Tannins and flavonoids work by absorbing the UVB rays and, therefore, reducing oxidative stress in the cells.
The pomegranate seed oil also contains tocopherols, also known as vitamin E. Tocopherols are fat-soluble antioxidants that have multiple benefits for the skin and hair, including improving hydration, reducing cell damage, and preventing sun damage. Tocopherols are also commonly formulated in topical anti-aging creams for their ability to influence collagen synthesis.
A final chemical compound that deserves the spotlight is vitamin C, a star skincare ingredient that promises anti-aging, brightening, and restorative effects. Its mechanisms of action have been a popular subject of research, compounding the utility and importance of vitamin C in skincare routines.
Benefits of Pomegranate Seed Oil for the Skin
Among the natural oils that researchers are studying for cosmeceutical development, pomegranate seed oil has received special attention. Rich in useful plant metabolites such as flavonoids, vitamins, and phytosterols, pomegranate seeds hold the remedy for several skin concerns. The sections following elaborate on the benefits and mechanisms of action of pomegranate seed oil.
May Treat and Reduce Acne
Acne is a common skin problem that is caused by pores in the skin becoming clogged with dead skin cells and oil. An overproduction of sebum exacerbates the condition and creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to infect the pores and cause acne lesions to form.
Pomegranate seed oil contains compounds that reduce the production of sebum and fight bacteria on the skin, potentially reducing the formation of acne lesions.
A study conducted in 2017 found that pomegranate extract stopped the growth of P. acnes bacteria on the skin while simultaneously reducing any swelling caused by bacterial infection. The extract also inhibited the production of lipase, a substance that causes an inflammatory response in the skin.
The compound punicalagin was identified to be responsible for this three-way action that treats acne with remarkable efficacy. In addition, pomegranate seed oil is rich in polyphenols, compounds that reduce oil production and prevent pores from being clogged.
As such, pomegranate seed oil can effectively be used in personal skincare routines and in product formulations to treat acne.
Can Guard the Skin Against Aging
Aging in the skin presents as fine lines, wrinkles, and dry, lax skin. While aging is a natural process and nothing to be ashamed of, certain environmental factors such as sun damage can cause these symptoms to appear prematurely. Pomegranate seed oil contains a rich blend of antioxidants and metabolites such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, and vitamin E that not only prevent skin aging but also restore damage.
A clinical study conducted in 2020 found that when pomegranate extract was applied topically to facial skin, subjects reported a reduction in symptoms of signs of aging. The extract was found to stimulate dermal fibroblasts to stimulate collagen production, reducing sagging and fine lines. It also supported the function of epidermal keratinocytes, primary cells that play a vital role in skin regeneration.
Moreover, antioxidants in pomegranate seeds have the effect of diminishing sunspots and dullness. Vitamin E and C act as partners in skin brightening, as evidenced by a 2020 clinical trial, helping restore skin color and making it appear radiant.
Potentially Protects Skin from Sun Damage
The protective properties of pomegranate seed oil greatly complement and enhance the safeguarding offered by UVB blockers and sunscreens. While using sunscreen is essential to protect the skin from UV radiation, using pomegranate seed oil supplements the skin with compounds that reduce the risk of sun damage.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin tested extracts and oils derived from pomegranate on a lab-made human skin model. The extract was found to provide protection to the skin by reducing levels of reactive oxygen species, chemicals that cause inflammation and cell damage.
UV exposure may also cause changes to the skin’s DNA and break down connective tissue. Pomegranate extract was also found to inhibit these changes and prevent cell proteins from being damaged, preserving elasticity and resilience.
Brightens and Clarifies the Complexion
Pomegranate seed oil is an excellent source of compounds that may reduce spots and hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the biosynthesis of melanin. It can be used to even out the skin tone and achieve a healthy, clear complexion.
A research article published in the Journal of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine investigates the potential of pomegranate seed oil as a natural skin-brightening agent. It was found that the seed oil contains compounds that regulate pathways affecting melanin synthesis. These compounds provide signals to cells that regulate skin color, reducing the production of pigment.
The study confirmed the role and efficacy of pomegranate seed oil in helping achieve a bright, glowy skin complexion.
Potentially Strengthens the Skin Barrier
Developments in skincare have recognized the role of protecting skin barrier function in maintaining healthy, hydrated skin. The skin barrier guards the epidermis from external bacteria and environmental damage while also retaining moisture. The application of pomegranate seed oil can do wonders to protect and enhance skin barrier function as it contains vitamin E and fatty acids in abundance.
Vitamin E has been demonstrated to facilitate the synthesis of ceramides, lipid molecules that are vital for the structural integrity of the epidermis. They also help prevent excessive water loss from the skin’s surface, sealing in moisture and preventing dryness.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid and palmitic acid enhance the effects of vitamin E by fortifying the natural lipid barrier. Clinical studies have demonstrated that a decrease in the levels of linoleic acid in the skin can result in accelerated water loss from the skin barrier. This may contribute to skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
Fortunately, topical application of formulations rich in fatty acids, such as those containing pomegranate seed oil can improve and repair skin barrier function.
Pomegranate Seed Oil Recipes for Radiant Skin
Pomegranate is a popular skincare ingredient that has many potent effects on skin health. The oil is suitable for all skin types and can be used by people of all ages. The skin care recipes discussed harness the multiple benefits of pomegranate seed oil for skin, from skin rejuvenation to barrier repair.
Anti-Aging Facial Serum
This facial serum combines oils with highly potent antioxidant and collagen-synthesizing properties. To make this serum, combine pomegranate seed oil, argan oil, and rosehip seed oil in the same ratio. You can either use one tablespoon of each oil or, alternatively, measure out 15 ml each using a syringe. Then, add 5 drops of frankincense essential oil to the mixture.
The argan oil and rosehip seed oil absorb well into the skin without leaving a greasy layer. When absorbed, they help hydrate the skin while protecting it from free radicals that damage skin cells. In addition, the frankincense essential oil restores the skin by reducing fine lines and improving pigmentation.
You can store the oil blend in a dark glass bottle to avoid degradation or oxidation. Make sure to keep your serum away from direct sunlight.
Barrier-Repairing Facial Oil
This formulation brings together oils that reduce dryness and improve moisture retention in the skin, ultimately strengthening the skin’s barrier function. Start by measuring 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seed oil, oat oil, and jojoba oil. To the blend, add 5 drops of helichrysum essential oil and mix well.
Oat oil and jojoba oil are widely studied for their ability to repair skin barrier function. They contain linoleic acid, ceramides, and skin-identical fatty acids that supplement the skin structure and protect it from environmental damage. Intensifying this effect, helichrysum essential oil boosts ceramide synthesis in the skin and significantly reduces dryness.
You can store the facial oil in a glass-dropper bottle for ease of use.
Hydrating Lip Conditioner
With an awareness of the distinct requirements of lip care, such as the difference in skin texture and thickness, this recipe provides the perfect blend of ingredients to keep lips moisturized and soft.
To make, melt half a teaspoon of beeswax pellets in a double boiler and add 1 tablespoon each of pomegranate seed oil and coconut oil. Once fully combined, remove the blend from heat and add 5 drops of an essential oil of your choosing for fragrance. Lavender essential oil is a good option as it has a pleasant smell while having hydrating properties.
You can pour the mixture into a small pot or a lip balm container. Once solidified, use as desired. Be careful to not ingest the lip conditioner and only use it externally.
Benefits of Pomegranate Seed Oil for Hair
Often overlooked in hair care, pomegranate seed oil quite effectively tackles several haircare concerns, ranging from dryness to hair loss. Recent scientific studies have uncovered the potential of pomegranate seed oil as a hair care wonder. The following sections discuss the specific applications of pomegranate seed oil to promote healthy hair.
Hydrates and Moisturizes Dry Hair
With hair styling products becoming popular, scalp and hair dryness has become a common cause of concern for many. Heat and chemicals strip the scalp and hair of natural moisture, leading to weak hair that is prone to breakage.
Pomegranate seed oil is useful for treating dry hair as it is abundant in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nearly 20 percent of the seed oil content is fatty acids, among which oleic and linoleic acids are present in high proportions. According to a study conducted in 2022, the application of oils containing these fatty acids reduces the loss of protein when washing and improves the tensile property of hair. This means that fatty acids make the hair stronger and minimize brittleness and breaking.
Potentially Controls Dandruff and Nourishes Scalp
There are many active products and shampoos that are formulated to treat dandruff. Despite this, it can be a persistent condition that is tough to deal with. Pomegranate essential oil can be used as a natural supplement to dandruff remedies, enhancing the effect of medication and treatments.
Culprits that cause dandruff include dry, dehydrated scalp and a reaction to certain fungi on the scalp. Researchers have found that pomegranate extract containing punicic acid is effective against strains of dandruff-causing fungi. It inhibits the growth of fungi and reduces flaking and itching caused by inflammation.
Moreover, pomegranate seed oil contains fatty acids which moisturize the scalp and prevent dryness. This triple-action mechanism makes the seed oil an effective booster alongside medicinal dandruff treatments.
May Stimulate Hair Growth
In traditional medicine, pomegranates have been used to stimulate hair growth for centuries. This traditional use has garnered adequate scientific support as researchers investigate natural ways to boost hair growth. This comes as no surprise as pomegranate seed oil has palmitic acid, linoleic acid, phytosterols, and other such plant metabolites that prevent hair loss.
A study published in 2021 by researchers in India found that pomegranate extract was comparable to minoxidil when used for hair loss. The study measured hair growth using two parameters, hair growth initiation and hair growth completion time. After a month of continuous application, both of the parameters confirmed that the hair grew faster after the use of pomegranate extract.
In addition, pomegranate seed oil stimulates hair regeneration by nourishing the scalp and creating a healthy environment for hair to grow. It reduces inflammation, dryness, and dandruff, allowing the hair follicles to thrive in an optimal scalp environment.
Pomegranate Seed Oil Formulas for Healthy Hair
Pomegranate seed oil is excellent to incorporate into hair care as it easily blends with other oils and ingredients and serves multiple purposes. It can be used for hair growth, to reduce itchy and dry scalp and to soften hair. In this section, you will find carefully crafted hair recipes that maximize the therapeutic potential of pomegranate seed oil in hair care.
Hair Growth Oil Blend
The ingredients in this recipe have been recognized in both traditional medicine and scientific research for their hair-strengthening properties. To concoct this blend, start by mixing 2 tablespoons each of pomegranate seed oil, argan oil, and coconut oil. Make sure to warm coconut oil before use so that it combines fully in the mixture. Once done, add 6 drops of rosemary essential oil to the blend.
Argan oil, coconut oil, and rosemary essential oil all work to stimulate the hair follicles through different mechanisms. In addition, all ingredients in the oil blend have demonstrated results that are comparable with minoxidil.
To use, massage an adequate amount of the hair growth oil blend into your scalp, and leave for an hour. Afterward, wash out the oil from your hair with a gentle shampoo and conditioner. For best results, apply the blend every other day for at least 4 weeks.
Hydrating Hair Conditioner
This conditioner is a natural remedy for dry and brittle hair, packed with highly moisturizing and soothing ingredients. The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of pomegranate seed oil, 4 tablespoons of aloe vera gel, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Stir the mixture until it is fully combined and apply within a day.
Honey and aloe vera are natural ingredients that deeply condition the hair and scalp. They soften the hair while providing it with restoring plant compounds that improve hair texture. Both ingredients also have emollient properties that enhance the smoothing effect by sealing moisture and hydration in the hair.
To use, apply to wet hair for 10 minutes and then wash off. You may use the conditioner as part of your everyday shower routine, or use it whenever your hair needs a pick-me-up.
How to Safely Use Pomegranate Seed Oil
The topical application of pomegranate seed oil is generally without any side effects. However, for a seamless experience, it is important to be mindful of a few safety considerations.
Pomegranate seed oil should not be ingested in any dosage. While pomegranate juice and extracts are safe for consumption, the seed oil is not processed to be suitable for ingestion.
In topical application, ensure that you patch-test the seed oil, especially before applying it to a larger area for an extended period. If you experience signs of an allergic reaction such as itching, redness, swelling, or rash, remove the oil and seek medical help.
Closing Notes on Pomegranate Seed Oil Benefits
Pomegranate seed oil is an antioxidant powerhouse that can easily be incorporated into hair and skin care routines for its multiple benefits. For optimal results, ensure that the pomegranate seed oil is 100 percent pure, like Wholesale Botanics’ pomegranate seed oil, and contains no additives or synthetic compounds.
Note that pomegranate seed oil can not be used as a standalone treatment for any medical condition. If you plan on using pomegranate seed oil to improve symptoms of any health issue, consult your health practitioner for recommendations and advice.