Watermelon Seed Oil Benefits for Skin, Hair, and Body
If you have been following skincare trends, you may have noticed an influx of watermelon-based products such as peels and masks wrapped in striking pink packaging. Until quite recently, watermelon rind and seed extracts were treated as waste, often discarded and left to decompose.
Scientific studies conducted on the phytochemical properties of watermelons have discovered that the seeds are rich in bioactive compounds. This paved the way for cosmeceutical applications of watermelon seed extracts that are now formulated into personal care products for their brightening, hydrating, and incredibly nourishing effects.
This article delves into the benefits of the wondrous watermelon seed oil and the many ways you can incorporate it into your personal care routine.
Where Did Watermelon Seed Oil Originate From?
Despite only catching the limelight a few years ago, watermelon seeds have a long history. The earliest use of watermelons dates back 5 millennia, right around the time the first Egyptian pyramids were constructed. Originally, watermelons of the Citrullus mucosospermus variety grew in the Kalahari region in Africa. By 3000 BC, the fruit was domesticated in Ancient Egypt and became closer to the sweet, fleshy fruit we know today.
Watermelon seed oil was known among locals as Ootanga or Kalahari oil. Archaeobotanical efforts have uncovered evidence of watermelon seed oil being used for culinary and beautification purposes by ancient civilizations.
How Is Watermelon Seed Oil Extracted?
Watermelon seed oil is derived from Citrullus vulgaris, a flowering plant of the Cucurbitaceae family related to cucumbers and gourds. It is also known by another botanical name, ‘Citrus Lannatus,’ which has recently gained recognition within the scientific community. Watermelon plants exhibit the characteristic traits of the Cucurbitaceae family, such as bright flowers and long vines.
Watermelon crops are commercially grown in the United States, China, India, Morocco, and Spain. The seeds of the edible fruit yield between 20-40 percent oil, and are extracted using solvents or through cold pressing. The seeds are usually by-products and are treated and dried before they are processed.
Cold pressing involves crushing the seeds in a hydraulic press at temperatures lower than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This method retains the natural flavors, scents, and pharmacological qualities of the seeds, yielding higher-quality oil. Wholesale Botanics also sources cold-pressed watermelon seed oil to ensure superior quality and benefits.
The oil from watermelon seed appears mild yellow and has a mildly sweet scent with fruity notes. Its aromatic profile blends well with the complex, citrusy notes of neroli and grapefruit essential oils.
Watermelon Seed Oil: Chemical Components and Their Bioactive Potential
Watermelon seed oil has a rich chemical profile that makes it suitable for culinary, therapeutic, and beautification applications. The unsaturated fatty acid content of watermelon seed oil is comparable to other widely known oils, such as corn, linseed, canola, and olive oil, ranging between 75 to 85 percent. Linoleic acid is present in the highest proportion, followed by oleic, palmitic, and stearic acid.
The seed oil is also abundant in bioactive compounds such as phytosterols, carotenoids, and tocopherols. The combination of these antioxidant compounds enhances the delivery of the therapeutic effect in skin protection and anti-aging applications.
Essential Fatty Acids
Watermelon seed oil has a high fatty acid content, with linoleic acid making up to 60 percent of the total fatty acid composition. Oleic acid and palmitic acid respectively constitute around 18 and 15 percent of the seed oil. The fatty acid composition provides the oil its hydrating, emollient, and nourishing properties.
Linoleic acid, also known as omega-9, is incredibly beneficial for skin barrier function as it reduces transepidermal water loss when applied topically. It contributes to the formation of ceramides, enhancing the structural integrity of the skin. The second prevalent compound, oleic acid, enhances these effects by acting as an emollient. It softens and moisturizes the skin and also improves penetration of the seed oil into skin layers.
In addition, palmitic acid contributes to the nourishing effects by helping the skin retain moisture. It absorbs and integrates seamlessly into the skin as it is naturally present in the stratum corneum.
These fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory effects, calming the skin and aiding conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. The combination of anti-inflammatory potential with lipid repair properties makes fatty acids ideal for protecting the skin from irritants and environmental damage.
Phytosterols are plant-derived compounds that are similar in structure to cholesterol. The phytosterol composition of watermelon seed oil is characterized by two main compounds, beta-sitosterol (around 55 percent) and delta-5-avenasterol (around 35 percent). Studies highlight the extensive therapeutic potential of these sterol compounds, noting antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects.
A 2019 study on anti-aging skincare found that beta-sitosterol promotes the biosynthesis of hyaluronic acid, a compound well-known for its moisture retention abilities. It was also found to enhance the expression of skin barrier functional proteins such as loricrin, filaggrin, and involucrin. This reinforces the corneum stratum, enhancing hydration and skin protection.
Another research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine investigates the therapeutic potential of beta-sitosterol in treating atopic dermatitis. It was found to moderate symptoms through multiple mechanisms, including regulating mast cells and immune system response. Topical application of beta-sitosterol reduced histamine levels and inflammatory cytokines, demonstrating its potential for alleviating itching and discomfort.
The phytosterol composition is fortified by the presence of delta-5-avenasterol, a compound that is a precursor in the biosynthesis of beta-sitosterol. It has been attributed to antioxidant effects, adding to the oxidative stability of watermelon seed oil and its anti-aging capabilities.
Tocopherols, also referred to as vitamin E, are compounds with significant antioxidant potential. They are further divided into sub-forms that each have their unique effects and mechanisms of action. Watermelon seed oil mainly consists of gamma-tocopherol, at a concentration of 90 percent.
Gamma tocopherol is found in the skin cells and is hence beneficial in topical applications. A review of vitamin E roles in dermatology found that the vitamin can be used for an array of benefits including UV protection, wound healing, and anti-aging. It has inflammatory and antioxidant properties which aid in reducing symptoms such as erythema and swelling.
Vitamin E also has moisturizing properties, enhancing the ability of the skin to bind with water. Not only does this boost hydration levels, but it also contributes to its healing effect.
Carotenoids are compounds that have earned carrots their reputation as a skin-loving superfood. Watermelon seed oil contains lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and phytofluene. These compounds encourage antioxidant activity in the skin and are highly effective in fighting free radicals and reducing oxidative skin damage.
Beta-carotene and lycopene enhance collagen production in the skin cells, improving skin firmness and elasticity. Their antioxidant capacity also makes them useful for alleviating UV damage to the skin.
Ways to Use Watermelon Seed Oil for Skincare
Watermelon seed oil is a remarkably versatile ally in skincare routines for all skin types. It has a non-greasy texture that readily absorbs into the skin’s epidermis, providing quick hydration and moisture.
The following recipes provide ideas for combining watermelon seed oil with other potent oils and ingredients for enhanced benefits.
Hydrating Skin Serum With Watermelon Seed Oil
Keeping the skin well-moisturized is crucial to protect it from irritants in the external environment and maintain its structure and elasticity. Watermelon seed oil is an excellent oil to use for hydration as it has a high linoleic acid content, helping it lock in moisture and improve skin barrier function.
You can blend watermelon seed oil with hyaluronic acid, aloe vera gel, and helichrysum essential oil to make a skin serum that soothes and hydrates while protecting the skin barrier. Hyaluronic acid enhances the biosynthesis of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, keeping it supple. Additionally, hyaluronic acid molecules can hold and bind several thousand times its weight in water.
Aloe vera is also an essential component of this serum as it is made of nearly 90 percent water. It provides water content to the skin, helping watermelon seed oil and hyaluronic acid work more effectively. Helichrysum essential oil adds biologically significant effects to the serum, such as boosting collagen production and reducing inflammation.
To prepare this serum, mix 1 tablespoon of watermelon seed oil and 1 tablespoon of hyaluronic acid. Then, add 1 teaspoon of fresh aloe vera gel and 5 drops of helichrysum essential oil. This recipe yields about 30 mls of serum, which can be used generously for about a week. You can store it in the refrigerator and use it within 10 days.
Gentle Cleansing Balm With Watermelon Seed Oil
Watermelon seed oil is non-comedogenic and can serve as a light-textured cleanser that rids the skin of impurities without overwhelming pores. With its high lipid content, it can easily dissolve sebum, makeup, and build-up while also providing hydration. Since it is gentle, it can be used by sensitive and oily skin types for its cleansing action.
To make a watermelon seed-based cleansing balm, combine 10 tablespoons watermelon seed oil with 5 tablespoons each of beeswax, emulsifying wax, and coconut oil. Emulsifying wax gives the cleansing balm a foamy texture when mixed with water, which is important for cleaning the pores properly.
Beeswax is used to thicken the balm and make it easier to scoop and spread across the skin. It also adds stability to the blend. Coconut oil is used for its strong anti-microbial properties that allow for thorough cleansing.
This balm should ideally be stored in a clean glass or tin jar and kept in a cool and dry environment. When stored correctly, this watermelon-based cleansing balm can last up to 2 months.
Anti-Aging Elixir With Watermelon Seed Oil
In the last few decades, dermatology has advanced significantly in the sphere of anti-aging skin care. In light of this research, watermelon seed oil is a biologically efficient solution to reducing signs of environmental aging, such as sun spots or wrinkles. It is packed with fatty acids, tocopherols, and carotenoids, compounds that are proven to rejuvenate the skin.
For youthful skin, combine one tablespoon each of watermelon seed oil and rosehip seed oil. When mixed thoroughly, add 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil and 5 drops of frankincense essential oil.
These ingredients work by several mechanisms to prevent skin aging and reduce the signs of environmental damage. Rosehip seed oil contains high concentrations of vitamins A and C, compounds that are known to renew skin cells and increase skin cell turnover. Vitamin E adds additional antioxidant properties that prevent and mitigate the effects of oxidative stress. Frankincense essential oil is proven to be effective in restoring the skin’s elasticity and diminishing the appearance of fine lines in the skin.
This serum can be stored in a glass jar in a dark place. Make sure to keep away from heat and moisture to preserve its integrity.
Ways to Use Watermelon Seed Oil for Hair Care
Due to its rich chemical composition, watermelon seed oil deserves special recognition for its potential in hair care. Not only does it provide substantial hydration, but it also repairs the hair and revitalizes it, adding shine and body to the tresses. It is also suitable for use for fine hair types as it does not weigh hair down.
Use these recipes for a quick and effective hair treatment that can be prepared in a pinch.
Anti-Breakage Mask With Watermelon Seed Oil
Hair fall is caused by brittle hair follicles that are weakened due to several factors such as heat damage, dryness, and nutrient deficiency. Packed with essential fatty acids and highly nourishing compounds, watermelon seed oil can be used to strengthen hair follicles and reduce breakage.
To enhance the nourishing properties of watermelon seed oil, blend 2 tablespoons of it with an equal amount of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 egg yolk. When combined, this mask will have a silky, paste-like consistency that effortlessly glides over the hair strands. Apply to the ends of your hair for 30 minutes and cover your head with a shower cap. Use cold water to rinse the mask out of your hair, and then shampoo and condition as usual.
The ingredients in this hair mask are abundant in proteins, lactic acid, and nutrients that nourish and repair damaged hair. You may use this once every two to three weeks, depending on how your hair tolerates it.
Revitalizing Hair Mask With Watermelon Seed Oil
Essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, should be a staple in any routine that seeks to achieve glossy, shiny hair. Watermelon seed oil is an excellent vessel for delivering fatty acids to your tresses as it suits most hair types and has exceptional biological properties. It can be combined with other ingredients such as avocado, honey, and rosemary essential oil to make a potent revitalizing hair treatment.
To make this hair mask, start with 2 tablespoons of watermelon seed oil and add to it one mashed avocado, a tablespoon of honey, and 10 drops of rosemary essential oil. Mix the ingredients well together and apply the mask to the ends of your hair. After 30 minutes, rinse it off with lukewarm water and then follow up with shampoo and conditioner.
The components of this hair mask are rich in healthy fats and proteins that soften the hair cuticle, contributing to a smooth appearance. Rosemary essential oil provides antioxidant effects and improves blood flow to the hair shaft, contributing to a youthful appearance.
Ways to Use Watermelon Seed Oil for Self-Care
With its mild, pleasant aroma and smooth texture, watermelon seed oil provides the perfect combination of indulgence and therapy when added to body care formulations. There are countless ways that you can incorporate this oil into your self-care routine, from lip balms to massage oils.
These recipes craft a synergistic blend of watermelon seed oil with superstar ingredients, such as shea butter and jojoba oil, for a spa-at-home experience.
Hydrating Lip Balm With Watermelon Seed Oil
Watermelon seed oil serves as the perfect base for lip care formulations as it has a high fatty acid content and does not leave any residue. It provides heavy-duty hydration while being comfortable to apply to the lips.
You can customize your watermelon seed oil lip balm using four easily available ingredients. Start with 2 tablespoons each of watermelon seed oil and beeswax. To this, add 1 tablespoon of shea butter and combine thoroughly. You can pour this mixture into an empty lip balm tube or a small jar. Make sure that the container is airtight to prevent spoilage or degeneration.
In this formula, beeswax and shea butter act as emollients and conditioners, making the skin smooth and soft while adding hydration.
Calming Body Oil With Watermelon Seed Oil
A consistent body care regimen is essential to maintain healthy skin that remains youthful and radiant. Watermelon seed oil is an excellent ingredient that can be used for body care due to its versatility and wide-ranging therapeutic effects. It hydrates, conditions, softens, and rejuvenates the skin without being overbearing.
For enhanced effectiveness, you can blend watermelon seed oil with jojoba oil and lavender essential oil to make a multi-purpose body oil. This recipe can be used as a moisturizer, massage oil, and even aftershave.
To make, mix watermelon seed oil and jojoba oil in equal proportions and carefully add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to the blend. You may adjust the quantity of lavender essential oil depending on the amount of carrier oils you use.
Tips for Safe Use
Watermelon seed oil is generally regarded as safe for most people when used for skincare and hair care. There are however a few precautions to heed when incorporating it into your routine.
Certain individuals might experience adverse reactions such as itching, hives, or a tingly feeling on the skin after using watermelon seed oil. If you experience any discomfort, discontinue the use of watermelon seed oil, both on its own and diluted as part of a blend.
Also, make sure to patch-test the ingredients and essential oils used in watermelon seed oil recipes. When using essential oils, it is important to remember that a small amount goes a long way. As a rule of thumb, use no more than 5 drops of essential oils in half a cup of prepared recipe.
A Final Look at Watermelon Seed Benefits
For anyone looking to boost their beauty regimen, watermelon seed oil is the perfect pick-me-up that provides moisture and repairs skin cells while soothing and calming the skin. It also has a mild, sweet aroma that enhances the overall sensory experience. You can use watermelon seed oil on its own or blend it with essential oils and carrier oils for a customized therapy experience.