Red wine sure does give the heart-health benefits of grapes their time in the spotlight, but the skin benefits of grape seeds are worth a toast all their own. Grape seeds are an excellent source of vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants known as flavonoids, all of which may improve skin’s texture and reduce the signs of aging. Cleansers, scrubs, moisturizers and other products, as well as many professional treatments, include crushed grape seeds, grape seed extract and even other parts of the grape to help you reap these and other rewards.
Protect Yourself Against Sunburn and Sun Damage
Grape seed extract (along with the fleshy parts of grapes themselves) contains proanthocyanidins and resveratrol, as well as other powerful antioxidants. Research shows that when grape seed extract is applied to skin prior to UV light exposure, the compounds may have a sunscreen effect, helping to reduce redness and damage to cells. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer suggests that, when applied topically, grape-derived antioxidants may even have cancer-fighting abilities.
Try it: Don’t toss your sunscreen, which is still the best defense against the sun’s harmful rays. But you can consider using grape seed- and resveratrol-containing serums and lotions as supplements to your sun protection routine; apply them before slathering on your regular SPF cream.
Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles and Other Signs of Aging
Aside from causing sunburns, UV light also ages skin. Antioxidants in grape seeds, vitamin C in particular, may help reverse or reduce some of the wrinkling effects. A small trial at the St. Helena Institute for Plastic Surgery showed an 88 percent improvement in skin texture after subjects used a product containing grape seed extract for six weeks.
Try it: Look for anti-aging creams and serums that list grape seed extract among their crease-fighting ingredients. Note that some anti-aging products leave skin extra sensitive to the sun, so wearing sunscreen is especially important if you apply them before heading out for the day—whether that’s to the beauty salon or the beach.
Soften and Smooth Your Skin
Grape seed oil is rich, moisturizing and gentle; massage therapists sometimes reach for it to give their treatments an extra skin-hydrating benefit. Grape seed extract, meanwhile, delivers vitamin E, a nutrient that concentrates in the membranes of skin cells and helps hold on to moisture. In addition, crushed grape seeds make for an effective exfoliant; by gently scrubbing your skin with them, you remove the top layer of dead cells, uncovering the smoother, healthier skin underneath.
Try it: You can buy grape seed oil at health food stores. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make your own scented body oil, or apply it solo. Also try scrubs and moisturizers containing grape seeds or the extract. The seeds themselves provide significant grit so be extra careful; scrub skin gently, especially if it’s sensitive.