Grapeseed extract is a great way to get the goodness of grapeseed oil (and more!) into our products without worrying about the potentially short shelf life. It is considered one of the highest sources of polyphenols (along with green tea extract), and it contains all kinds of wonderful things for our skin. It is considered an astringent ingredient - thanks to all those tannins - so it is more suitable for normal to oily skin, but that doesn't mean our dry skinned sisters can't benefit from it!
It contains both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, both of which are fantastic anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers. It also contains proanthocyanidins and procyanidins (which we remember from green tea!). Proanthocyanidins play a role in the stabilization and maintenance of elastin in our skin, and procyanidins play a role in the stabilization and maintenance of collagen in our skin, so you've got a great combination of ingredients to help with flexibility and appearance of your skin! Proanthocyanidins are great anti-oxidants - better than Vitamin C and Vitamin E - and great anti-inflammatories. Procyanidins are anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-oxidizing ingredients.
It also contains quercetin - a good anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral - and apigenin - a very powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory that offers exfoliating properties. And again we find epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg, found in green tea), an anti-inflammatory that provides protection from photo-damage, an anti-bacterial, and a phenomenol anti-oxidant.
The big deal about grapeseed extract has to be the resveratrol, a polyphenolic phytoalexin found in grapes as a defence against predators. Resveratrol is a very good anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger. It is a great anti-inflammatory, and it can inhibit cell growth. It is advertised as reducing the signs of aging, and it does this by ameliorating the effects of UVB caused skin damage! In fact, the studies are so promising, it's being included in tons of sun and post-sun products! It is also showing promise as a wound healer, and works as an anti-fungal and anti-viral.
Grapeseed extract has been reported to help with hair growth by entering the hair follicle cells and inspiring dormant ones to start a'growin'! This has been studied, but it seems there's still more work to be done before it can be said adding grapeseed extract will give you a full head of luxurious hair! There are, however, good studies showing this extract is better at inhibiting lipid peroxidation (a type of oxidation) than green tea polyphenols, so we could consider it a better anti-oxidant than green tea!
Because grapeseed extract can reduce cell proliferation, this might be a good inclusion in a lotion for someone with psoriasis or dandruff, both of which suffer from too many cells!
As with other extracts, you can use this at 0.5% by dissolving it full in warm water and adding it during the cool down phase. It's not suitable for anhydrous creations, but great in anything with water. Because this is an exfoliating and astringent extract, do not go over 0.5% and do not combine it with other exfoliating ingredients or extracts.
Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with grapeseed extract!